The Mercedes 300SL is among the greatest cars ever built and easily my favorite car of all time. With its lightweight construction, space-age design, 150+ mph top speed, and incredible refinement, it was a huge leap forward for the automotive industry. And, painted in the right color, it is among the most beautiful cars ever made.
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In fact, the more I looked at the silver 300SL we had for a test last week, the more I became convinced that it stands among the most beautiful functional objects I've seen. It appears always in motion—its teardrop taper and raked lines conveying drama and excitement that's irresistible. As Road & Track editor John Krewson noted, it's a deeply optimistic design—one that is forward-looking, hopeful, despite the grim resolution of postwar Germany. Now, seeing this one in a stunning blue-gray scheme, I'm even more convinced this car is one of the best designs ever penned by man.
There is some controversy with this specific example. This car is not one of the original seven painted blue from the factory, getting a blue-gray respray during a body-off restoration instead. Many in the Bring a Trailer comments say it should have been resprayed silver, as this car was originally built and most known for. They're partially right—a silver 300SL is undeniably brilliant. But it's also against what I love about the SL, its sense of adventure.
A bright purple or hot pink may betray the time period and a white repaint would be so bland, but a mild, light color like this perfectly fits the character of the 300SL. Its design was brave but not shouty, more beautiful the longer you looked. This blue is the same way, a soft and tasteful hue that perfectly complements the chrome of the SL's details. Its blue plaid interior is similarly sensational.
It is not the most traditional SL, but tradition was never what the SL was about. The Gullwing defied convention, made you stop and stare. That's true in any color, but especially so here. I don't think there's a car in the world I'd rather have.
I'm not alone, though, as bidding is already close to $1 million.
Disclosure: Bring a Trailer is also owned by Road & Track’s parent company, Hearst Autos.
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