The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing is widely regarded as a benchmark of collectible vehicles. No assemblage of significant cars is complete without one of these breathtaking machines, and original 300SL values reflect their status as “blue-chip” collectibles. Upwards of seven-figure values are the norm, and restorations can easily top a half-million dollars or more, plus the cost of a donor. As the 300SL slipped out of reach for the average enthusiast, the market for replicas and recreations grew accordingly. In the 1980s, a 300SL owner and former Mercedes-Benz employee named Anton “Tony” Ostermeier founded Gullwing International Cars to take the concept of a “replica” 300SL to a new level, designing a ground-up, exacting recreation worthy of sharing the spotlight with the iconic original.
Ostermeier cut no corners developing his 300SL tribute using the finest components and materials available. At the core is a welded square-tube steel chassis built in a similar fashion to the original tubular spaceframe. Keeping it in the family, Ostermeier fitted contemporary Mercedes-Benz W124 steering, suspension, and running gear. The body is an inch-perfect copy, built using Tony’s original 300SL and factory bucks as patterns. To ensure accuracy and achieve the desired finish quality, Gullwing Cars made the bodies using an aircraft industry material called GLARE that bonds fiberglass to a thin outer layer of aluminum. The material ensures precise fit and a nearly flawless outer surface with superior quality and finishes than traditional fiberglass. Many of the trim parts, instruments, and other details are so accurately produced that owners of original cars began using them on restoration projects, and even experts are hard-pressed to tell the difference between an Ostermeier SL and the real thing at first glance. Each Gullwing Cars 300SL took over 400 hours each to complete and were highly prized by the lucky few who got one of the approximately 150 sold. Much like a Lynx D-Type Jaguar or Glenn Pray Auburn, Tony Ostermeier’s SLs are highly desirable and considered genuine collectibles in their own right.
This Gullwing Cars 300SL coupe hails from 1991 and is an outstanding example that has covered just over 5,300 miles from new. Finished in red over tan leather trim, it is offered in superb condition thanks to long-term ownership with an enthusiastic collector. Exterior trim and brightwork are in very good order, and the car features excellent, period-correct Mercedes-Benz SL chrome wheels, wearing color-keyed hub caps and fitted with fresh, vintage-style Avon Turbosteel radials. Each Ostermeier SL was built to order, and this car came well-equipped with the Mercedes-Benz M103 inline-six, four-speed automatic gearbox, air conditioning, tan leather upholstery, and matching fitted luggage.
Climbing aboard the Ostermeier Gullwing requires the same finesse as an original, thanks to the high, broad sill, and low bucket seats. Also, like the original, this car features a tilt-away wheel to make ingress much easier. The dash is a carbon copy of the 1955 car, with beautifully finished chrome switchgear, controls, and accurately reproduced VDO instruments. The tan leather seats are faithful to the original patterns, as are the square-weave carpets, leather-covered sills, and broadcloth headlining. All interior materials are of the utmost quality, and in this car, they are in superb condition thanks to the exceptionally low mileage. The only details that give this away as a Gullwing Cars SL are the automatic transmission floor shifter, the center console housing HVAC controls, and a contemporary AM/FM/CD head unit.
Under the bonnet sits a Mercedes-sourced 3.0-liter inline-six. These are famously robust and provide ample power and torque in the lightweight SL. As expected of a low mileage car, the engine presentation is superb, with factory-fresh finishes in a tidy and impeccably clean engine bay.
With its robust underpinnings and exceptional build quality, this Ostermeier Gullwing makes a superb long-distance tourer and is perfect for savoring your favorite sweeping roads in the spirit of the original 300SL. With only 150 or so examples built, these cars are extremely rare and are seldom available on the open market. This marvelous, low-mileage example is ready to be driven and cherished by its next keeper.
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