- Original 2,996 CC M198 SOHC I-6
- Original 4-Speed Manual Transmission
- 45,887 Actual/Original Miles
- Restored by Noted 300SL Restorer, Rudi and Company, Vancouver, BC
- All Original Sheet Metal
- Highly optioned 300SL Gullwing
If it wasn't for Leopold Poldi Bentley, Western Canada might not have ever seen the likes of this '54 300SL. Bentley, saw the value of bringing these extraordinary cars to North America. After fleeing Vienna with his family in '38, the family landed in British Columbia. He soon founded a furniture and paneling company that would eventually become the largest exporter of softwood lumber. Having been raised with the legendary Silver Arrows and prewar Mercedes cars, he saw a market for these extraordinary cars in the growing metropolis of Vancouver.
Using his escalating lumber fortune he took a big risk and ordered a fully loaded silver on red 1954 300SL. Optioned with everything but Rudge wheels he set about using the car to convert the people of Western Canada into Mercedes enthusiasts. Used solely as a factory demonstrator this Gullwing did just that, and Poldi's new company, Mercedes-Benz Distributor West Ltd., opened on West Georgia Street in Vancouver.
The year was 1956 and this beautiful silver 300SL had done its job, and was delivered to its first owner. That first owner drove the car to his summer home in Western Canada, and there it stayed for over 50 years, and with only 45,887 actual/original miles on the odometer, obviously drove it sparingly. In the early 90's the care of the Gullwing was entrusted to noted 300SL restorer Rudi Koniczek and his team at Rudi and Company in Vancouver BC. Because the original single stage Mercedes Paint was known to go flat after only a few years, they made the call to repaint it in the early 90's. Today it sits as a premier example of an investment grade post war European luxury vehicle.
Originally built as a racing specific vehicle, its motorsports pedigree is evident when staring at the body of this '54 300SL. Still housing all its original sheetmetal, the incredible look starts at the front where a wraparound chrome bumper rests below a trio of headlights and the chrome trimmed grille that houses the famous Mercdes-Benz Logo. Make your way down the long hood and front fenders equipped with fender flares, and you'll find a racing inspired driver's side mirror and heat extractors on both sides. Above the rockers a chrome Mercedes-Benz sits below the chrome door handle of the famous gull-wing doors. At the rear of the vehicle you'll find more tire flares and another wrap around chrome rear bumper that rests below rear taillights and the only 300SL emblems that are branded on the trunk.
The 300SL received its namesake for the engine that rests under the hood, the 3.0 Liter M198 SOHC inline six-cylinder engine. The familiar straight-six was used in the 300 tourer to create a modest 115hp from a carbureted version, however thanks to the gasoline direct injection system it had almost double the power at just over 200hp. Pop the hood and you'll see how the engineer's angled the engine to a 45' angle to allow for a lower hoodline. A modest 200 horsepower might not sound like a lot in today's world of 1000 horsepower vehicles, but thanks to a streamlined body and lightweight components, the 300SL was capable of breaking the 160mph barrier to make it the fastest sports car of its time.
Bolted to the engine is the original 4-speed manual transmission. However, you would never be able to see it from putting the 300SL on a lift thanks to the original belly pan that is still in place. The belly pan's ultimate goal was to reduce drag from underneath the vehicle, however it also provides a very clean look from under the vehicle.
Lift the legendary gullwing doors and you'll reveal the immaculate red leather interior. During the extensive restoration the team at Rudi and Company used original Mercedes hides which are no longer available today. In front of the driver, a wood trimmed three-spoke steering wheel houses the famous Mercedes logo. The restored dash features all of the original gauges and the silver dash plate accents the red leather quite nicely. Two bright bucket seats are separated by the controls for the 4-speed manual and below that is the wear-free red carpet.
It doesn't get much better than a one owner 1954 300SL with an unbroken history, matching numbers drivetrain, low original mileage, and highly optioned. It's not too often that a car of this caliber is seen. This is truly a unique opportunity for the discriminating collector who wants the very best of its kind.