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  • Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2019: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing”.
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    Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” twins in Florida.

    Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance 2019.

Nothing short of a perfect dream.

Successive chassis numbers of the “sports car of the century”: this is nothing short of a perfect dream for international automotive collectors. And Mercedes-Benz Classic makes this dream come true for all visitors of the 24th Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance. Two vintage models of the 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198) with successive chassis numbers will be on display in a separate exhibition area of the Concours Field at this exquisite automotive classic event.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.
The separated Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” twins.

Separated twins.

While the blue gullwing door Mercedes-Benz with chassis number 44 has been extensively restored over the past four years by the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, its immediate neighbour, production number 43, is shown beside it in its original “barn find” state. “These two cars have not met for more than half a century since they were produced side by side and then went separately to customers in the United States,” says Nate Landers, chief technician at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine. A few months ago, the barn find reappeared only around 50 kilometres south of Amelia Island near Jacksonville, Florida, by pure chance.

Unusual similarities.

Even the most avid vintage car experts rarely get the chance to see a vehicle like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL gullwing with chassis number 43. Apart from the grey primer, which was probably applied in the mid-60s instead of the original blue paint as a preliminary step before repainting, the sports car is in its original condition. “We were able to see exactly when that happened by taking a look at the back of the seats,” laughs Nate Landers and brings out the driver’s seat backrest, which had been masked off with a daily newspaper from the 1960s. The barn find and the freshly restored W 198 series Mercedes-Benz 300 SL have, despite their very different conditions, such common unusual features as a handmade Mercedes star and a handmade exhaust manifold. In addition, both these twin brothers have the gooseneck gear lever and a magnesium alloy valve cover.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” twins have the gooseneck gear lever.
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.

Chassis number 43.

These twins of the Mercedes-Benz super sports car from the 1950s present themselves rather differently, however:

Chassis number 43: the coupé is in “barn find” condition as found by Mercedes-Benz Classic in a garage at the end of 2018. It was originally shipped to Miami in 1954 and was only registered for ten years. The vehicle is completely original. The body, for example, the glass components, the grey leather interior, the drivetrain, the wheels – even the “Englebert Competition” tyres are all as you would have found them on the car decades ago. The only modification was to the body finish. Originally painted mid blue, the coupé was at some point sanded down and primed. What most likely happened was that the vehicle was taken out of service in the mid-1960s to be repainted and had been prepped, but never actually repainted.

Chassis number 44.

Chassis number 44: Mercedes-Benz Classic in Irvine, California completely restored this 300 SL “Gullwing” model. During this time, the car was restored to the exact condition of a vintage 300 SL Coupé built in 1954. Included among the special features are handcrafted components such as the Mercedes-Benz star, the exhaust manifold, the “gooseneck” gearshift lever and a valve cover with magnesium paint. Chassis number 43 still has the same basic design and layout as its twin, however.

Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 44.
Winner of the Best In show: The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540 K motorway courier.

Further highlights at the Concours d’Elegance in 2019.

On Amelia Island, the international classic season traditionally opens every year in early spring. The East Coast equivalent of the annual Pacific Coast Monterey Autoweek, with its many events in the third week in August, is the Concours d’Elegance in Florida. On this narrow peninsula in the north of Florida, the event is much smaller and more informal, but hardly less exclusive. As in Pebble Beach, thousands of visitors come to celebrate the cars of today, yesterday and the day before yesterday in this paradise known for its golfing tradition. In addition to the spectacular Cars and Coffee event on Saturday morning and the numerous auctions by Goodings, Bonhams and RM Sothebys, where classic cars worth millions change owners, the highlight of the sunny weekend at the final hole of the Amelia Island golf course is the Concours d’Elegance, where the most beautiful of the beautiful are displayed.

Mercedes-Benz models 500 K and 540 K.

This year, a special classification just for the Mercedes-Benz 500 K and 540 K models of the W 29 series caused a particular stir – both models were spectacular super sports cars in the 1930s – and they have lost nothing of their fascination over the years and are now among the most coveted collector’s cars on the world market. The range of vehicles on display at the Concours d’Elegance on Amelia Island is similar to the spectrum shown by the summer counterpart on the Pacific coast near Monterey. However, the atmosphere is more casual, the visitors are more relaxed and, in contrast to the cool Pacific Ocean, the morning here is much warmer than in Pebble Beach.

The Mercedes-Benz models 500 K and 540 K.
Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ Silver Arrow, 2018. An inspired guide to the future of design.

Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ Silver Arrow.

Another highlight at this year’s Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is the Mercedes-Benz Vision EQ Silver Arrow, which will be parked directly at the entrance to the event grounds. Presented last year, the show car is a tribute to the successful record-breaking W 125 model from 1937. Designed as an electric vehicle, the silent Silver Arrow has 550 kW or 750 PS. The Vision EQ Silver Arrow also quite literally drives into the automotive future boasting its myriad of other features, such as those found on the interior.

Faithful replica of the Mercedes-Benz 280 GE.

The visitors of the 24th Concours d’Elegance on Amelia Island had not only come to gaze appreciatively at the dissimilar Mercedes-Benz siblings. Throughout the Amelia Island weekend, the sporting successes of Belgian racing driver Jacky Ickx, who drove some of his most famous racing cars in this region, were honoured. One of the most unusual vehicles of that time was on show: this was the faithful replica of the Mercedes-Benz 280 GE that this motorsport legend drove to win the 1983 Paris-Dakar long-distance rally together with his co-driver Claude Brasseur. The original vehicle itself was lost in the 1980s.

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is one of the most glamorous events for classic automobiles and has a lot to offer.

The faithful replica of the Mercedes-Benz 280 GE.

Image gallery.

  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.
  • Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” (W 198), chassis number 43, in “barn find” condition.
Kraftstoffverbrauch kombiniert CO₂-Emissionen kombiniert Stromverbrauch im kombinierten Testzyklus

1 Die angegebenen Werte wurden nach dem vorgeschriebenen Messverfahren ermittelt. Es handelt sich um die „NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 1 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch, die CO₂-Emissionen und den Stromverbrauch aller neuen Personenkraftwagenmodelle“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

2 Die angegebenen Werte sind die „gemessenen NEFZ-CO₂-Werte“ i. S. v. Art. 2 Nr. 2 Durchführungsverordnung (EU) 2017/1153, die im Einklang mit Anhang XII der Verordnung (EG) Nr. 692/2008 ermittelt wurden. Die Kraftstoffverbrauchswerte wurden auf Basis dieser Werte errechnet. Der Stromverbrauch wurde auf der Grundlage der VO 692/2008/EG ermittelt. Aufgrund gesetzlicher Änderungen der maßgeblichen Prüfverfahren können in der für die Fahrzeugzulassung und ggf. Kfz-Steuer maßgeblichen Übereinstimmungsbescheinigung des Fahrzeugs höhere Werte eingetragen sein. Weitere Informationen zum offiziellen Kraftstoffverbrauch und den offiziellen spezifischen CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen können dem „Leitfaden über den Kraftstoffverbrauch und die CO₂-Emissionen neuer Personenkraftwagen“ entnommen werden, der an allen Verkaufsstellen und bei der Deutschen Automobil Treuhand GmbH unter www.dat.de unentgeltlich erhältlich ist.

4 Angaben zu Kraftstoffverbrauch, Stromverbrauch und CO₂-Emissionen sind vorläufig und wurden vom Technischen Dienst für das Zertifizierungsverfahren nach Maßgabe des WLTP-Prüfverfahrens ermittelt und in NEFZ-Werte korreliert. Eine EG-Typgenehmigung und Konformitätsbescheinigung mit amtlichen Werten liegen noch nicht vor. Abweichungen zwischen den Angaben und den amtlichen Werten sind möglich.