1952 Mercedes Benz 300 SL Restoration by the Factory, 2nd Ever Produced

This 1952 Mercedes Benz W 194 300 SL was the subject of an extensive 9 month restoration by none other than the actual factory run Mercedes Benz Classic Center in Fellbach, Germany. What you have meandered upon here happens to be only the second 300 SL ever produced, (Chassis number 194 010 00002/52), which makes it the oldest surviving SL in existence as well as an ultra rare piece of automotive history. The #1 production car that had been built before it fell victim to the scrap yard many years ago, and both were originally hand built at Rudolf Uhlenhaut’s Stuttgart-Untertürkheim racing workshop in Germany. Perhaps the most epic factory rejuvenation story of all time? We think so. If you know of one that is close to or of equal monumental proportion, wouldn’t you please be oh so kind as to share it with us, if you are so inclined. Until then…


Mercedes has retained this special car since new, and recently they wanted to sympathetically renovate the accident-free body to retain as much of it’s original patina as possible, while at the same time make it look as new as it could.



It’s very thin aluminum-magnesium bodywork alone took 5 months to complete. At only 2,336 pounds, the factory’s weight saving tricks are found throughout the car, with drilled front suspension pieces, a drilled handbrake lever, and it’s bell housing, rear axle center section and steering box made out of magnesium.


As the original nitro-lacquer is no longer a legal paint, a modern water based formula was made to replicate the “silver bronze” color.



Originally, the 3 liter, overhead cam inline six engines from the W186 300 sedans were used in the 300 SL’s. Competition versions were boosted to 170 hp with help from three Solex carburetors and a special camshaft, in addition to a dry sump lubrication system that was installed in the tube framed chassis at a 50-degree left tilt so it would fit under the car’s streamlined hood. During this restoration the motor was completely overhauled and bench tested for 10 hours before it went back into the car.
Every component of the chassis and nickel plated front suspension was cleaned, examined and reconditioned where it was found necessary. When the rear axle was disassembled, the gears looked to be in virtually new condition, so they were re installed. Likewise, the original Alfin brake drums were tested, trimmed and re installed, and it’s original riveted rims were wrapped in new Dunlop D8 tires.


The 300 SL’s original wooden steering wheel, gearshift knob, gauges and aluminum seat frames were retained. It’s seat covers were the only items in the interior found necessary to be replaced entirely.


This project’s attention to detail is even evidenced in the fact that the original supplier for this 300 SL’s plexi glass windows and windshield was used to provide new pieces.
This historic Mercedes Benz looks fantastic, right down to it’s original hand made 3 pointed star on the radiator, a truly beautiful machine. Who else better suited to restore such an iconic piece than Mercedes Benz’s own Classic Center in Germany?
If anybody in our viewing audience knows of a restoration story that they would like to share, please e-mail us or include a link to it in the “Comments” section below. We are always looking for an interesting story.

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