Subsequent to Mr. Andrews passing in 1958, the Gullwing was acquired by Hollywood real estate developer L. Milton Wolf. Mr. Wolf is noted for having built one of Southern Californias most whimsical houses, perched high in the hills of the development known at the time as Hollywoodland. Constructed in the mid-1920s in the shadow of the famous Hollywood(land) sign, his three-acre domain, which Mr. Wolf dubbed the Wolf Lair, is still a Southern California landmark to this day. Designed to be castle-like, featuring peaked windows and soaring gables, it featured a fully furnished gatehouse that included a speakeasy, a turret-shaped room for Mr. Wolfs pet gibbon, Missie and a garage for his 300SL Gullwing. A photo of the Gullwing at the Wolf Lair, at the time painted red, is retained in the Gullwings history file. During Mr. Wolfs ownership, the 300 SL was refinished in red paint and fitted with twin Talbot fender mirrors which remain with the car today.
Following Mr. Wolfs death in 1972, Gullwing chassis 6500143 passed to a member of his family, with notable listings of the car during the 1970s and 1980s in the Gull Wing Groups 300 SL club newsletter, copies of these newsletters accompany the car. The cars history file includes, among other items, invoices for routine mechanical maintenance and re-chroming of the bumpers in the mid-1980s. This late-production 300SL Coupe was driven sparingly over the ensuing decades until it was retired from the road circa 2006. The Gullwing remained in the Wolf family for a total of 60 years, showing just over 92,000 miles when purchased by its third owner in 2018.
In preparation for sale of the car in 2018, the Gullwing was entrusted to a factory-trained Mercedes-Benz specialist who set about returning it to running order. After carefully turning the engine over by hand, and servicing the oil, fuel, and cooling systems, the Gullwing roared to life for the first time in over a decade. Within minutes, the 300 SLs engine settled to a smooth and steady idle, starting and running well then just as it does today. Chassis 6500143 is in remarkably good condition with an outermost, rough appearance that belies an unusually sound and unaltered 300SL Gullwing soul. It's both rust and accident free while retaining superb original factory fits on the doors, hood and trunk. It is also unusually complete with a body that has never been separated from the chassis, retaining its matching numbers engine along with all original tags present.
Further inspection reveals an excellent overall condition indicative of a respectfully used car that has benefited from an entire life kept in the temperate climate of Southern California. The body is straight throughout with the hood, trunk, and door fit remaining as they did when they left the factory, a sought after feature of 300SLs that is becoming more and more desirable as the temptation to over-restore cars wanes with the passage of time. The engine bay and underside of the car remain remarkably undisturbed outside of normal maintenance, with original paint finishes notable almost everywhere. The interior of the car was redone many years ago in red vinyl with a red headliner, though it retains its original white dash-panel and some original leather throughout, per the original data card specifications. A beautiful original two-piece-set of Karl Baisch Gullwing suitcases sit behind the seats, with its original special ordered Becker Mexico radio present under the dash. All gauges, along with the exterior lights, function properly while the Gullwing proudly displays its original California black license plate that it has worn since the mid-1960s, complete with a license frame from Hollywood Mercedes-Benz, which operated for many years in the heart of Hollywoods business district. Further to the retention of originality, chassis 6500143 comes with the factory supplied service booklet, a log featuring an original date stamping by Mercedes-Benz from when the car left the factory and record keeping noted through service stamps from early-life servicing at Hollywood Mercedes-Benz that date from as far back as December of 1956.
In 2018, the cars Los Angeles based 3rd owner, a Gullwing Group Member, went about carefully stripping the long-ago-applied red paint to reveal the original white factory finish underneath, a painstaking process involving delicate, time-consuming work using chemicals and blades to remove the outer coats of paint. The car today is complete and unrestored, but in usable running condition which highlights its only-original-once condition. Chassis 6500143 300SL Gullwing is a true survivor and one of the best remaining Gullwings yet to be restored, one suited for full or partial restoration that still wears much of its original paint and partial original interior. The cars next caretaker could continue to run the car in this preservation state, or opt for a complete factory correct restoration which would be as straight-forward as it gets for a 300SL, with an undeniably special outcome at restorations end.
- Lifetime California Gullwing
- Matching numbers engine, body and chassis
- 60 years in single family ownership
- Chassis no. 198.040.6500143
- Engine no. 198.980.6500154
- Body no. 198.040.6500139
- Original 050 white paint
- Becker Mexico radio
- Original Karl Baisch suitcases
- Rare original service booklet
- Books, tools and jack
- Original California black plate
- Service receipts file
- Copy of factory data card
- 94,164 miles