Mercedes-Benz has made some legendary models over the course of its history – but few quite as iconic as the 300 SL. Known (in coupe) form as the Gullwing, the original SL remains highly sought-after among collectors, driving prices up with each passing year. And the example you see here has just set a new record for the model.
Artcurial sold this 1963 roadster for $3.7 million at its Le Mans Classic sale, setting a new high-water mark for the 300 SL and leading the $14.7 million in vintage metal it moved at the Circuit de la Sarthe in western France this weekend.
So what made this example so exceptional? Well, beyond coming from one of the most iconic lines ever made by one of the world’s greatest automakers, this roadster is as factory-fresh as you’re ever likely to find. For starters, it hasn’t been driven since 1972. And even by then, it had only covered a total of 1,372 kilometers (852 miles).
It’s been stored in a climate-controlled environment its entire life. So while the paint has been redone, and despite it’s residence in Sweden, it’s entirely devoid of any corrosion, and the interior is practically free of any signs of wear. Not even any scuffs on the pedals. Fitted with the factory hard top, it even has the original soft top – never installed – still in the crate in which it came from the factory.
On top of its highly original condition, it was one of the last examples made: the eleventh to last, to be specific. And it features all the upgrades that were applied to those final models, like the aluminum engine block and disc brakes at all four corners.
Given its exceptional specification and condition, Artcurial expected it would sell for €1.5-2 million. But in the end, it brought in about twice that: €3,143,000 (or $3,695,000). It seems highly unlikely that any will be found in more original condition than this one, but demand among collectors could yet see values rise even higher.