The subject of today’s Survivor feature is this 1955 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing, which was found sitting inside a storage container in the California desert since the late 1970’s until Jay Leno more recently came to it’s rescue. As the third owner of the vintage race car that competed at west coast venues such as the now defunct Riverside Raceway, he did exactly what we would have done with it and treated it to a sympathetic restoration. Come check it out with us on the next page, won’t ya?…
As an historic vintage race car that has survived the elements for so many years, Jay set about making sure that all of it’s original patina was saved by just restoring the mechanicals and instruments while leaving the exterior all original.
The engine was pulled and rebuilt, then thankfully broken in properly on a dyno, as it would have probably melted a piston had a faulty original Bosch fuel injection not been detected while on the stand.
The Mercedes Benz Classic Center was used for the purchase of many of the project’s NOS parts, including brake drums that would have been virtually impossible to find otherwise. Their vintage parts support always astounds us, and makes us want to be take a tour of that facility to see in person.
The car originally had a tartan interior, but that was changed to leather back when almost new. We love that it still retains it’s roll bar that it has worn since it was a competition vehicle and aren’t surprised that it’s not wearing Rudge knock off rims, as bolt-ons were also commonly used on 300 SL race cars back in it’s hey day, too.
In any case, we are pleased to see that this car has ended up in the right hands of someone who appreciates all of it’s original patina and is leaving it cosmetically as it was when last raced. This find only makes us wonder how many more cars are out there in storage containers waiting to be discovered…
Find it here at: