(Not The Actual Vin Number)
1955 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing: One of One Produced with Original Color Scheme Green over Green-Gray Leather. Matching Numbers and Restored
As one of 1400 Gullwing coupes built by Mercedes-Benz between 1954 and 1957, this unique example was shipped from the factory on April 30, 1955 as a US market example specified for delivery to Mercedes-Benz Distributors of New York. With special livery adorning it from new, 300SL chassis 5500263 was delivered in what is believed to be a the one-of-one original color scheme for 300SL Gullwings of Mittelgrn (DB-229G Green over green-gray leather (1170). The car came with bolt-on steel wheels with hubcaps along with a green painted dash, instruments in English and sealed-beam headlights.
300SL Gullwing chassis 5500263 spent early portions of its life in both Ohio and Indiana before being purchased by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Foundation in January of 1973. The car subsequently entered the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum collection where it was later restored by IMS Museum staff in the late 2000s. The car was displayed periodically in the Museum from 2015 to 2020 and was shown as part of The Basement Collection tour when not displayed on the main floor.
Today, the car is finished in its original shade of Mittelgrn (DB-229G) with power provided by its original, matching numbers fuel-injected 3.0L inline-six engine. The car has been fully restored in the mid-2000s in body-off fashion with every part having been refinished to a high standard of quality including the chassis and engine bay. New body and window seals were added at the time of restoration, and brightwork was polished along with all chrome having been redone. The frame of the car was powder-coated at the time of restoration by Indy Powder Coating of Speedway, Indiana. The seats, dash pad, transmission tunnel, and sills were retrimmed in beige leather sourced from Landwerlen Leather Company of Indianapolis, Indiana while matching square-weave carpets are fitted along with correct black rubber footwell mats. Body-color 15 wheels with body color hubcaps hold the Michelin radial tires currently fitted to the car, and a matching spare wheel with a period correct Michelin X tire is mounted in the trunk space. The engine was fully rebuilt during the restoration, and the engine block itself was thermal cleaned, bored, and honed by Schmidt Automotive Machine Shop of Indianapolis, Indiana, in September 2007, while the cylinder head was fully cleaned at the same time. The fuel injection pump was rebuilt by Pacific Fuel Injection of San Francisco, California in 2008, also as part of the comprehensive restoration. New rubber suspension components were sourced during the restoration, and invoices for various portions of the sublet work accompany the car.
In February of 2022, the car was sent to Scott Grundfor Company in Arroyo Grande, California for full inspection. The restoration of the car completed by the IMS Museum was exhaustively examined and found to be very thorough, but like many other comprehensive restorations, the final steps of sorting and fine tuning the vehicle for regular use and cosmetic fine tuning had not been completed. Hundreds of hours have been spent since arriving at Scott Grundfor Company in order to finalize the restoration and draw out the quality of the car from a cosmetic standpoint, with many hours spent hand-trimming rubber and making other adjustments to refine the door, hood and trunk fits. And as with any restoration where a car is fully taken apart for refurbishment and later reassembled, final sorting is required in the form of test driving for regular road use and touring capability. In addition to final sorting procedures, a full service has been performed while several hundred miles of use has been recorded since arrival at Scott Grundfor Company in order to make the car just as at home on the road as it is in the showroom. Receipts from Scott Grundfor Company accompany the car. This matching numbers 300SL Gullwing, with a body-off restoration performed by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway museum in the cars ultra-rare original color of Mittelgrn green and final sorting provided by Scott Grundfor Company, is offered with original belly pans, spare parts, tools, keys, a copy of the factory build sheet, correspondence between previous owners, along with restoration photos and other documentation.