Lightweight aluminum Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing heads to auction
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Evocatively named the African Alloy, an exceedingly rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Alloy Gullwing will be offered as “the undisputed star” of RM Sotheby’s Arizona Auction Week sale at the Arizona Biltmore Resort on January 27.
Just 24 aluminum-bodied Gullwing coupes were produced for 1955, and the lightweight models are considered to be the ultimate production versions of the iconic sports cars, as well as the most valuable by far.
This example, the 13th built, is named for its original new-car delivery to Mercedes-Benz agent Joseph Weckerlé of Casablanca, Morocco. The Leichtmetallausführung, or Light Metal Version, retains its factory alloy body in Silver Gray Metallic and matching-numbers 3.0-liter OHC inline-6 engine in high-performance NSL configuration.
“The Alloy Gullwing boasts a special, competition-bred configuration, which differs in many ways from the standard steel-bodied production car,” RM Sotheby’s says in a news release announcing the consignment. “These incredibly rare and historically significant alloy coupes were purpose-built for competition and the changes resulted in an overall weight reduction of 209 pounds, thus making the Alloy Gullwing especially competitive against the best of the competition.”
Chassis number 5500332 was specially ordered by Weckerlé as a road-going example.