A rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL ‘Sportabteilung’ Gullwing is set to be sold next month by RM Sotheby’s. The car is one of four factory race-prepped 300 SL Gullwings produced and when driven by Sir Stirling Moss at the 1956 Tour de France, it finished 2nd.
The name ‘Sportabteilung’ comes from the fact that this 300 SL was finished by Mercedes-Benz’s competition department. Rather than basing the car around the lightweight alloy 300 SL, it uses a more conventional steel construction and body to better withstand the stresses of competitive driving.
This car is chassis number 5500640 and when used by the factory Mercedes-Benz racing team for training and competition, it is believed to have been driven by Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Hans Hermann, John Fitch and Karl Kling. During the 1956 Tour de France, the car was plagued with problems but thanks to a small corner garage on the race route and some impressive driving from Moss, it finished 2nd overall.
Since 1966, the car has been owned by one family and recently underwent a complete restoration to return it to its former glory. While no pre-auction estimate is available, it could become one of the most expensive 300 SL’s ever sold.