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Mercedes 300 SL engine restoration

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing & Roadster Service and Restoration
Of all the classic Mercedes-Benz cars we service and restore here at Oldtimer Restoration Center the 300 SL coupes and roadsters are one of our favorites. From the unique tubular racecar inspired frame to the custom luggage sets, the engineering and build quality of these cars is second to none of that era.

Our 300SL restorations have won numerous awards at Concours events and other car shows throughout the country. The yellow roadster pictured here was the New York City Auto Show Mercedes-Benz 300 SL servicedisplay car for 1960, and was owned by the president of Mexico. This low mileage 300 SL has some unusual features including; a polished aluminum intake manifold and heat shield, yellow piping on the black leather seats, and was one of only 29 cars delivered with factory Rudge knock-off wheels. It won Best Mercedes-Benz at the 2010 Newport Concours d”Elegance, in 2009 it won Best in Show and People Choice awards at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum, as well as awards at numerous other shows.

The engine displayed to the left belongs to the red 1961 300 SL roadster pictured here undergoing various stages of a frame off restoration in our Harvard, Massachusetts shop. This car Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster Service and Restorationhas 4-wheel disk brakes, a radio, twin Talbot streamlined mirrors, and has brand new, period correct Dunlop tires, which were only produced for the 300SL.

The Blue 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupe below underwent a complete frame off restoration here at Oldtimer Restoration Center, sans engine and transmission, and leather work, as were the customers wishes. It has been shown once, winning Best in Class at the 2006 Greenwich Concours d”Elegance.

A Brief History of the 300 SL Coupes and Roadsters
Mercedes-Benz introduced the 300SL, a two-seat sport coupe with the now famed “Gullwing” doors to the American market at the New York City auto show in 1954. Designated the W198 series, the “gullwing” hinged at the roof door design was created to accommodate the car's rigid, Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing service and restorationlightweight tubular chassis used in the company's highly successful W194, race cars of the early 1950’s.

The 3.0-liter, single overhead cam, inline-6 was the same engine used in the large 300 series four-doors, with the carburetors replaced by Bosch direct mechanical fuel injection, producing 220hp at 6200 rpm, almost doubling the power produced by the sedan engine. A racing cam was available boosting the horsepower to 240hp. The light weight combination of all aluminum hood, doors and trunk lid, tubular frame and powerful fuel injected engine gave the 300SL’s a top speed of 161 mph, making it the highest performing production car of it’s day.

Aerodynamic drag was an important factor in achieving such a high speed, so Mercedes-Benz engineers installed the engine on a slant to keep the hood line low, which reduced the frontal area of the car. This necessitated the use of a dry-sump lubrication system, another Mercedes-Benz racing technology. A flat under-body tray was used to smooth airflow underneath the car, and designers added eyebrows over the wheel openings to reduce drag around the wheels, making the 300SL one of the most aerodynamically advanced road cars of it’s day.

Of the 1,400 300SL “Gullwing” coupes produced from September 1954 to May of 1957, approximately 1000 units were sold to the US market, making the “Gullwing” the most popular Mercedes-Benz imported into the US during that period. The 300 SL was produced as a roadster from 1957 to 1963 with a total of 1858 units. 29 coupes were built with an all aluminum body, and the last 200 roadsters were equipped with an alloy block instead of cast-iron, each saving Mercedes-Benz 300 SL service and restorationroughly 200lbs off their standard counterparts, and adding even more performance.

The 300 SL Coupes and Roadsters have become some of the most sought after collector cars of all time.

Unique aspects of the 300 SL Coupe include:

  • A tilt-away steering wheel to allow easier entry and exit
  • Luggage designed for the interiors rear deck
  • The first gasoline-powered car equipped with fuel injection
  • 29 were produced with all-aluminum body, shaving approximately 200 pounds off the total weight.

Unique aspects of the 300 SL Roadster

  • The introduction of four wheel disk brakes to the 300SL
  • A cast aluminum differential housing for improved handling
  • A lower door sill for conventional hinged doors
  • Much more trunk space than its coupe counterpart
Mercedes 300 SL service
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL undergoing total restoration
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL undergoing total restoration
Mercedes Benz 300 SL roadster service and restoration
 Mercedes-Benz 300SL interior restoration