Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster (1957-1963)
Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé, The (W198) Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and fastest production car of its day. The SL offers an early suggestion of the increasing focus Mercedes would place onto the luxury cars sector over the following decades.
The Mercedes 300SL is to many the ultimate dream car, one that was destined to become a legend the moment it left the factory floor. Mercedes introduced the SL at the 1954 New York Auto Show and it was loved by the new affluent americans. Mercedes recognised the need for a roadster in their line-up and the open-top sports car was offered along side the successful gullwinged Coupe from 1957.
Upon its arrival, the incredibly picturesque SL 300 Roadster, sparked a frenzy when it arrived onto the US forecourts, creating a sensation and sold equally well as the faster gullwinged Coupe. Although it lost the iconic and recognisable gullwing doors, the 300SL Roadster managed to keep much of the speed and prestige of its older sibling, while adding in some extra magic itself with on-demand wind in the hair freedom. The 300SL, however, builds on the W194’s ultra-sleek and uncluttered appearance with far more embellishment.
The sound is incredible, there is so much feel from the wheel, keeping you in tune with what the car is doing on the track, allowing you to place it into the corners and exit them with a smile on your face. Combining power, balance, refinement and fun, into arguably an un-rivalled package.
When a European thinks about 30s cars, he/she obviously thinks about the cars used in movies about Al Capone or something about the prohibition era in the United States and actually that is not wrong. This Buick Master Six built in 1928 has all the main characteristics of a typical 30s car, it was powered by a huge six cylinder (in line six actually!) that gave the car 70 hp, not so fast but at the time it was a high level luxury car so speed and performances were not important at all.
Despite the hard times of the late 20s, the Master Six sold quite well in all its generations in several versions such as torpedo, coupe and roadster.
Aston Martin as a brand has been immortalised for the wider audience by the James Bond movie series. However, automobile enthusiasts remember it first and foremost as a classic racing car. This car was raced by Sir Stirling Moss and described as the "most important Aston Martin ever produced". And after its long and glorious run, the car still had enough charisma in it to make a final statement - has become the most valuable British-made car ever, when it sold for $22.5 million (£17.5m). The winning bid was not even done in person, either. For a full seven minutes, there was a fierce bidding contest, with a private collector putting in the winning bid at the very end. Talk about literally phoning it in. The 1956 Aston Martin DBR1, is the firm's equivalent to the Ferrari 250 GTO and Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, and just five were built between 1956 and 1958.
This one sold is chassis number one - a purpose-built model developed by racing design chief, Ted Cutting. DBR1/1 was designed to win at Le Mans, but while it failed to take the chequered flag in the 24-hour race, a later model did at the 1959 Le Mans.
This particular car won the Nurburgring 1000 kilometre race that same year. It was subsequently sold, converted and made legal for street use in 1962. Described as the “most correct example”, it is the first of the DBR1 line, driven by such luminaries as Carroll Shelby, Jack Brabham, Roy Salvadori and of course, Sir Stirling Moss – the car is also quite famous.
The car is fitted with a 301bhp-racing engine, but the original - which increased in power over the years up to around 270bhp -was also thrown into the final price as a part of a bargain. At the moment the experts are pondering which classic British racer should be their pick for next year’s Most Expensive Car accolade