Original ’56 Gullwing vs Restored at Auction

We take a brief look at two almost identical Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing coupes that sold during January’s Gooding & Company auction in Phoenix. Both cars were both black on red, and both the same model year, so why “almost” identical? One was an original survivor that needed, let’s just say a bit of freshening to make all of it’s patina workable and the other was a fully restored show example. So, which one sold for more? Hemmings.com featured both of them with that very same question before they went up on the block, although we have not found a follow up so we thought that we would take it on ourselves. So stay with us onto the next page and we will answer that after the break…
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While we normally favor survivor examples, this unrestored Gullwing definitely needed a little bit of work to make it livable. It wears almost all of it’s original paint from the factory, although it’s interior definitely needed some attention as well as a mechanical sorting.2

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We wouldn’t go as far as to make the leather perfect, but hopefully a few days soaking in hide food would soften up the leather to make it supple enough to be repaired. We aren’t the experts here, so we are open to suggestions. What’s exceptional about this one is that it is one of the last unrestored 300SL’s left in existence, so let’s hope it stays that way.
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The other example was fully restored to black on red in 2007, although it was originally silver with a green tartan interior. It’s been in the same family from new until 2006 and has only 57,000 original miles. It has only received 1,150 of those since it’s restoration because it was used primarily as a show car. Shame. Shame.
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So, final numbers? Drum roll please.
Unrestored final selling price: $1,897,500
Fully restored final selling price: $1,402,500
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Is there a lesson to be learned here today? You can draw your own conclusions and attribute the lower selling price to the color change of the restored car, but we say that it is proof positive that the tides have turned and the few remaining survivor cars that exist today are going to separate that difference further and further apart as they become more and more rare.
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