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Competition-inspired Mercedes 300SLS heads to auction

Published 24 May 2017

A competition-inspired 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SLS Competition Roadster will be auctioned by Bonhams at its Chantilly sale on 10 September. The car, inspired by legendary American driver Paul O’Shea, is expected to fetch between €1.5m and €2.5m.

O’Shea took the racing world by storm during the 1950s. He drove alongside some of the finest racers of his generation, including Phil Hill, Dick Thompson and Augie Pabst. O’Shea was an ardent admirer of the 300SL and built two SLS versions specifically for racing. Both had aluminium bodies, reducing the weight by 337kg.

At the wheel of his SLS, O’Shea regularly beat Ferraris, Maseratis and Aston Martins on track. His car was recognised as one of the most reliable on the track, consistently performing well even in the harshest of driving conditions. His run ended when Mercedes-Benz faced funding issues and had to withdraw from American racing.

Thirty years later, enthusiast Georg Distler decided to reignite the legend of the SLS. His aim was simple – to create his own version of the SLS and compete in one of the world’s toughest rallies, the Carrera Panamericana, a dangerous 3500km border-to-border race.

1957 Mercedes -Benz 300 SLS (1)

Luck saw Distler and his friend Albrecht Lorenz (an engineer for Mercedes-Benz for more than 50 years) discover O’Shea’s original plans in the Mercedes-Benz archives in Stuttgart. Armed with detailed instructions, they embarked on a two year project that would. Final specifications include an aluminum body, lightened seat frames, a Getrag five-speed gearbox, and a dual side-exit exhaust system.

In 1997, 40 years after the original 300SLS’s hit the racetrack, Distler started the grueling rally in his dream car as a private entrant and without a support vehicle. The car was a triumph, and he came home as a class winner and in 11th place overall in the field of 67 finishers and 92 starters. The box of spare parts remained firmly unopened.

1957 Mercedes -Benz 300 SLS (2)

Comments

tolabur    on 26 May 2017

I would love one just like it.
Who wouldn't?. It has always been one of my favorites !
Along with the Gullwing merc.
Has to be one or two of the most favorite cars ever built.
What is the not to like???

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