Bonhams Bringing 1957 300 SLS Competition Roadster to Auction
This lovely open-top competition roadster could be yours, if you’re the incredibly high bidder.
Nobody would ever accuse this Benz of being anything but unique. First and foremost, this is a real-deal 300 SL Roadster that has been upgraded to full SLS competition specification, replicating the car that American Paul O’Shea drove in competition throughout the mid-to-late 1950s. In period, O’Shea built a pair of similar SLS roadsters, including one with an aluminum body. By using an aluminum shell, the car lost a whopping 742 pounds of weight, making it a true supercar of its era, taking the fight directly to the best available racers of the day.
This detail-oriented replica of that lightweight racer is the brainchild of Georg Distler and Albrecht Lorenz. This was a project that began when Distler purchased the roadster originally in 1986. The new aluminum body was painstakingly crafted by the master coach-building folks at Zagato in Italy, and then it all came together on the floor of famed HK Engineering. It was an ambitious and challenging project, but the results made it all worthwhile. In 1997, over a decade of work later, the car was finally ready for the Carrera Panamericana revival race. This was the one race for which the car was built, the one bucket-list race that Distler wanted to tick off. Not only did the car compete in that event, but it won its class.
CHECK OUT: What Forum Members Are Saying About 1957 300 SLS Replica
Outside of the gorgeous aluminum body, the car also features lightened seat frames, U.S.-specification headlights, a loud-barking dual-side-exit exhaust, Getrag five-speed gearbox, disc brakes, electric cooling fan, oil cooler, and updated alternator. Everything inside the engine has been optimized, polished, and balanced. As is likely a good idea with any vintage racer, a modern safety fuel tank was installed.
All told, it’s a heck of a car, and would be at home in any Mercedes fan’s garage. Whether used for vintage rallies or vintage races, or just for exceedingly cool weekend drives. In any case, Bonhams predicts the winning bid for this car at their Chateau de Chantilly sale this fall will be somewhere between 1.7 and 2.8 million dollars. Is it time to get out your bidder paddle?
For more photos and information, check out the auction listing here.