February 03 2022
03 Feb 2022
It’s official: There’s a new King of the Gullwings.
An incredibly rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing sold for $6.8 million at the RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale auction last week to set a new record for the iconic model.
Although bids actually failed to reach the pre-auction estimates of between $7 million and $9 million, the final hammer price was enough to push the prized coupe into the top spot ahead of a fellow ‘55 Alloy Gullwing that sold for $4.2 million at Gooding & Company’s Scottsdale auction back in 2012.
Of course, a figure like this is to be expected given this four-wheeler’s pedigree and provenance. Chassis number 5500332, nicknamed the “Weckerlé Alloy,” represents one of only 24 aluminum Gullwings built in ‘55 and is considered one of the rarest production cars of all time.
What’s more, this particular rarity is one of only a handful to retain its original, numbers-matching 3.0-liter NSL inline-6 engine, high-speed 3.42 rear axle, front spindles and Rudge wheels, as well as the authentic alloy body and factory-correct livery.
The Weckerlé Alloy was also treated to a meticulous restoration by Paul Russell & Company that was completed in late ‘79. In addition to refreshing the body and mechanical components, the team added new gaberdine upholstery and a matching set of luggage. The quality of the work was to such a high standard that the revamped ride was later named “Best Gullwing” at the Gullwing Group’s 1980 National Meeting, and went on to appear at shows, events and rallies all across the country. And the vintage Merc remains a stunner today.
While all 24 Alloy Gullwings still exist, very few come to market. This makes the lightweight variant nearly five times more valuable than their standard steel brethren. Case in point: a steel-bodied 1955 300 SL sporting its original engine sold a comparatively modest $1.7 million at the same RM Sotheby’s auction.
To put the $6.8 million auction price into perspective, the 300 SL coupe originally cost just $6,820 back in the ‘50s (around $71,000 adjusted for inflation). That means the car’s value has increased nearly 10,000 percent, outperforming the S&P 500 by a factor of 10 over that time.
All hail the King of the Gullwings.
©️ By RACHEL CORMACK / Robb Report