1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing makes $3.8m in UK auction

The highly-anticipated London auction of some of the world's finest cars saw the ultra-rare 1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing sell as top lot.

The auction, which was held on October 31, also saw Paul McCartney's Aston Martin DB5 sell for £307,500 ($496,727).

Mercedes 300SL Gullwing 1955
Despite less power, the racing 300SL was able to win due to its low weight and drag

The world-renowned 300SL (Mercedes W194) first appeared at the 1952 Mille Miglia, where it secured second and fourth places. In the same year, it also brought overall wins at the Le Mans 24 hours, the Eifelrennen at the Nurburgring and Mexico's Carrera Panamericana. All of the wins were remarkable given the car produced just 175hp, significantly less than its competitors.

The huge success of the car's racing career along with its stunning design led to Mercedes producing a road car designed for the booming post-war US market. The roadster was the first such example to come off the line in 1954, with the Gullwing version made available from 1955-1957.

The example at auction is number 21 in a run of only 29 alloy-bodied Gullwing models ever built. After being meticulously restored by Paul Russell, a renowned 300SL restoration specialist, as well as receiving a complete nut and bolt restoration and re-spray in silver in 1991, it sold for £2.4m ($3.8m).

Bidders will have the chance to own another 300SL Gullwing Coupe in a January auction. The magnificent example is expecting strong results having once been owned by actor Clark Gable.

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