No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' sells for £1.3m

| 3 Dec 2018
Classic & Sports Car – No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for £1.3m

Yes, you read that right. A Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' crossed the block at an auction over the weekend, without a reserve price.

While some might describe this as 'brave', the unmistakable classic didn't disappoint and when the gavel fell at €1,492,600 (£1.3m) it became the sale's top-priced lot.

Indeed all of the auction's 13 lots were offered without reserve and every one of them beat the lower of their pre-sale estimates, all bar two surpassing their upper estimates, many far exceeding them.

The single-marque sale on 1 December in Vienna featured cars from the Wiesenthal family collection.

Back in the 1920s, Günther Wiesenthal bought stakes in Mercedes' dealers in Vienna and Prague, and although he died in 1960, his daughter, Susanne Sulke-Wiesenthal, and Patrick Count Douglas acquired models to add to those already in the family, forming this enviable collection.

Classic & Sports Car – No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for £1.3m
The 11th 300SL Roadster went to a new home for £1m

The Gullwing, which had an estimate of €900,000-1.2m, was the 200th produced in 1955 and when new was delivered to an owner in America before joining the Wiesenthal Collection in February 1979 – it still wears the number plate it was issued on 28 February 1979.

It was well looked after and enjoyed, including runs on events such as the Mille Miglia and Ennstal Classic, and was sold to a telephone bidder.

And it wasn't the only 300SL in Saturday's sale, as a 1957 roadster variant that had been in the collection 42 years was also sold.

This 300SL Roadster was the 11th produced and offered for sale in good but unrestored condition. It beat its estimate of €750-950,000 to, like its sibling, sprint past the €1m mark, fetching €1,123,000 (£1m).

Classic & Sports Car – No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for £1.3m
The 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 sailed past its estimate

One three-pointed star that annihilated its pre-sale estimate was this 450SEL 6.9. The ’70s supersaloon, the auction's opening lot, was slated to sell for €25-35,000 but bidding reached €89,700 (£80k) when the gavel fell, which certainly got the event off to an encouraging start.

From new, it was used as a business car by the Wiesenthals and has covered just 15,000km – under 10,000 miles – in its life.

The second lot was a 1989 560SEL that beat its €15-25,000 estimate when it went for €59,800 (£53,300), this followed by a 1977 450SL which fetched €48,300 (£43k) despite its €15-25,000 estimate.

Classic & Sports Car – No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for £1.3m
This 220SE Coupé is in a special-order colour

The fourth lot, this ’58 220SE Coupé, sold for €171,000 (£152,400) – or more than €100,000 above its upper pre-sale estimate.

It's a matching numbers car finished in a striking, beige metallic special-order paint that might be unique, with a cream-leather upholstered cabin, and other than being repainted, it is unrestored.

Indeed, it sold for more than its droptop sibling, the collection's 1957 220S Cabriolet achieving €148,600 (£132,000) against an estimate of €75-100,000.

A restored 220 Cabriolet A from 1954 made €159,800 (£142,400), plus a white 230SL 'Pagoda' found a new home for €105,800 (£94,200).

Classic & Sports Car – No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for £1.3m
The 300S Roadster joined the collection in 1978 from America

A black Mercedes-Benz 300b Cabriolet D that left the factory on 20 July 1954 as the 37th of 125 produced sold for €187,800 (£167,300), bang in the middle of its €140-200,000 estimate.

And it was a similar story for the fifth-ever 300S Roadster, the 1952 car reaching €607,800 (£54,200), against its €550-750,000 estimate.

But a stylish 1970 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet didn't follow suit when bidding cruised by its €320k upper estimate, stopping at €372,600 (£332,000).

Classic & Sports Car – No reserve Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing sells for £1.3m
This W100 600 once ferried the Austrian heads of state around

Likewise, the Wiesenthal collection's 1964 600 Pullman, a former Austrian state vehicle that served three presidents, beat its estimate (€180-260,000).

This was the ninth four-door Pullman built and left the factory on 4 December 1964.

It was bought by the family in 1976, has done 73,000km (45,300 miles) and was sold with the rear-seat covers it has worn since it was in official service when the hammer fell and it went to a bidder at the venue for €383,800 (£342,000).

Every lot was sold, the 13 cars together making €5m.


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