The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is one of our favourite cars. It is one of those rare cars that we have a strong opinion about even though we haven’t driven one… yet. Its unique aesthetic is one of the reasons we desire it. Though the Gullwing’s heritage makes it even more attractive. As much as we fawn over beautiful, Concours-condition versions, we find this unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing extremely beautiful.

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California Dreaming

This unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing has lived its entire life in sunny California on the west coast of the US. It is one of the few unrestored examples of its kind anywhere in the world. Incredibly, it remained within the ownership of one family for 60 years. Although, it has had a number of caretakers during this time.

Click here to check our extremely rare, lightweight Gullwing that recently sold in an auction.

The 1956 model retains a matching numbers drivetrain. In addition, it contains an original Karl Baisch luggage set, books, jack, tools and a comprehensive history file. The unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing’s rough appearance belies a sound and unaltered 300SL Gullwing that is both rust and accident-free.

Check out a collection of classic Ferraris restored by the factory at this link.

The car was white in colour when it left the factory in Germany, but at some point, during its past, it was painted red. In 2018, the current, and only third owner, carefully stripped the red paint to reveal the original white factory finish underneath. The time-consuming process, which involved chemicals and blades, has left the car with a unique patina. Check out a full gallery at the bottom of this post.

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Made to drive

Some may look at the unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and think it needs to spend a few years in restoration to be returned to its former glory. We, however, think that it is perfect just the way it is. Its current appearance tells a story of its past. We’re willing to bet that the car is likely to get used far more frequently in this condition. We believe cars were meant to be driven, not hidden away in climate-controlled collections rather be enjoyed the way their makers intended. 

Check out the final drive of the Mille Miglia-winning Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR in this video.

The Gullwing’s reputation, aside from being one of the most beautiful cars ever penned, was built on successes achieved on racetracks and gruelling road races of the era such as Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and Carrera Panamericana. Cars were damaged by the tracks they raced along leaving them battered and bruised at the end of every event. The romantics in us imagine this particular car is closer to the spirit of how a 300SL was intended to be used. As a result, we hope the new owner leaves it as is.

Check out the full listing at Gullwing Motor Cars who were kind enough to provide the images for this article.

  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (10)
  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (9)
  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (8)
  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (3)
  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (5)
  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (4)
  • Unrestored Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (2)