1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Long-Term Ownership - #'s Matching - Supreme Condition W198
1957 Mercedes Benz 300SL “Roadster"
Make Mercedes Benz
Chassis No. 300SL/198.042-7500229
Engine No. 198.980.7500107
Body No. 7500131
Final Drive Ratio 3.89:1
Exterior Paint DB 608 A “Elfenbein / Ivory"
Interior color “Grünes Leder 1073 / Green Leather"
Completed September 27th, 1957
Shipping Method Rail to Port of Hamburg, Germany
Then, Special Wood “Sea Crate” by Ocean Vessel to Port of Newark, New Jersey
Invoiced To Mercedes Benz Distributors Ltd., New York via Studebaker Packard, South Bend, Indiana
Selling Agent Mercedes Benz Distributors Ltd., New York via Studebaker Packard, South Bend, Indiana
Invoiced New To Burklein Motors, Beverly Hills, CA
Mileage 43,382 Miles
“Sonderausstattung” Special equipment / Options:
-Special Paint Interior “Elfenbein / Grünes Leder"
-Optional 3.89:1 Final Drive Ratio
-Gauges Calibrated in English Units
-Sealed Beam USA / North America Market Lighting Equipment
-Becker Mexico Radio, Amplifier, Loudspeaker & Antenna
-1 Kilogram of extra “Elfenbein” Lacquer Paint
-Windshield Washing Equipment
-Special Wood “Sea Crate” for Ocean Shipping
-Burklein Motors / Family Beverly Hills, California 1957-2009
-Cyril “Claude” Mischler Scottsdale, Arizona 2009-2013
-Charles Spielman San Diego, California 2013-2019
This particular 300SL Roadster, is an extremely early production example competed under a special order, special request by Max Hoffmann's Mercedes Benz Distributors Ltd., New York, via his Studebaker Packard, South Bend, Indiana distribution center. This was sequentially the 152nd production 300SL Roadster out of 554 built in 1957 and out of a total production of 1,858 units. (Production ran from 1957-1963.)
The order requested the extremely rare and unique colors of “Elfenbein” with "Grünes Leder" interior. This literally translates simply to “Ivory” with “Green Leather" interior. The soft top was also finished in a matching green color combination. While these colors were available as regular catalog offerings, it appears that very few were completed new in these highly complementary colors. The order further specified the vehicle would be fitted with the taller, optional 3:89:1 final drive ratio. The standard ratio was 3.64:1 which allowed the Roadster to achieve 146mph. The optional 3.89:1 axle assembly reduced top speed from 146 to 137mph but it shaved a full second off of acceleration through the gears allowing much livelier and sportier performance. Additional options included USA / North American Market equipment in form of lighting, bumpers and gauges calibrated in English unites. A Becker Mexico radio, speaker, amplifier and antenna system, extra paint and special “Seakrate” for ocean shipping were also provided.
The original Mercedes Benz records identify a completion date of September 27th, 1957. The completed car, now fitted inside the ocean wood crate were then shipped to the Port of Hamburg Germany by train and upon arrival loaded aboard ship on the Elbe River for follow delivery to the Port of Newark, New Jersey. Upon arrival and customs clearance in the States, this 300SL was shipped to Studebaker Packard, in South Bend, Indiana which was the official distribution center for Max Hoffmann's Mercedes Benz Distributors Ltd.
From there this 300SL was shipped overland to Burklein Motors in Beverly Hills, California to whom it was invoiced new. Burklein Motors was an authorized Ramber dealership but also for a short period of time from 1957 to 1963, they were an authorized Mercedes Benz agency. The car remained on display at Burklein Motors, un-registered until 1963 when the dealership was dissolved and closed down. That same year, it was registered privately for the first time to Mr. Burklein and issued new California “Black & Yellow” license plates. The plates and original California “Pink Slip” remain with the car to this day and interestingly they show that the registration was renewed by the Burklein family on just one occasion in 1964.
The Burklein family moved to Tucson, Arizona in 1967 and their treasured Mercedes followed with them. It was cared for regularly but very sparingly driven until the mid-1980s when it was repainted in a non-original, bright white. The car remained with the Burklein family until Mr. Burklein himself passed away in 2009 at which point after more than 52 years of ownership, the Burklein family sold this 300SL to Scottsdale, Arizona collector, Cyril Mischler. Total mileage at the time of the sale was just under 42,000 original miles. The Burklein family averaged just over 800 miles a year during their long, 50-plus years of ownership.
After taking delivery, Mr. Mischler entrusted the car to noted restorer, Bill Richardson of Richardson Restoration & Machine Werks in Phoenix, Arizona. The restoration was all encompassing talking nearly four-years to compete. Comprehensive records and a photo CD document the $300,000-plus spent on the vehicle during the restoration. The restoration was one of the most comprehensive ever performed under Bill Richardson's direction. Richardson later confirmed that, when he removed the paint, the condition of the car was one the best he had ever seen in the over one hundred 300SLs he has restored in the past four decades.
All the mechanical work was either performed or directly supervised by Bill. At the owner's direction, every nut and bolt was restored at great expense, in order to retain all of the original numbered parts whenever possible, including the axles, A-frames, generator, and a long list of other items. As such, it is believed to be one of the purest restored examples to ever come up for pubic sale.
Upon completion of the restoration in 2012, Mischler showed the car publicly just once at the Mercedes Benz National Starfest Concours d'Elegance where it scored not only a first in class but also the highly coveted “People's Choice" award. Rather than drive his prize, restored Roadster, Mischler opted to put the car up for sale at which point it set a then world record price before joining Charles Spielman's famous San Diego, Museum collection.
During Mr. Spielman's ownership, the highly respected marque experts at Hjeltness Restoration in Escondido, California where entrusted to address some minor interior and exterior trim items, in addition to making some mechanical adjustments. Spielman continued to dutifully maintain the car as needed, and in 2017, it returned to Hjeltness for a compete rebuild of its matching-numbers engine which was completed in February of last year.
This all matching-number, rust and accident free 300SL Roadster is accompanied by continuous records and history going back to new. The first of just three owners retained this extraordinary machine for 52 years! Only two other subsequent owners came thereafter. The original tools, books and manuals as well as original Factory assembly records are included in a massive documentation album. It would be near impossible to find a finer restored or more beautiful example anywhere and I look forward to assisting perspective new owners with any manner of inspections, test-drives and follow-on, worldwide delivery.