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1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Chassis No. 143 Engine No. 235 Production of the street version of the 300SL Gullwing race car began in 1954, and these very early cars are understandably extremely desirable. Completed on December 27th of 1954, 4500143 is one of only 146 built in 1954. It was delivered new with the factory optional, and rarely seen Rudge knock-off wheels. A well-known car in the 300SL community, the story of 4500143 begins before its arrival in the United States. It has been reported that Dr. Werner Vogler of Bad Homburg, Germany raced this car prior to its arrival in the United States. Dr. Vogler was one of the most prominent German Mercedes dealers in the 1950's. Having first opened his doors in 1927, his company still thrives with eight Mercedes dealerships today. As the 300SL was a potent race car that had been tamed for the streets, it was known for early cars, such as this one, to be pulled from the assembly line and put through their paces in competition. Quite a few details reinforce this report. Dr. Vogler's long-standing relationship with Mercedes, and his loyalty to the brand after the war put him in perfect position to request a special 300SL for his racing endeavors. The first engine associated with the 4500143 chassis was 4500141, believed to be a NSL engine. The NSL powerplant was a factory special order competition engine that was standard on the alloy bodied Gullwings, and a very rare option on the steel bodied cars. The 'Sonderteile' (special parts) engine consisted of a racing camshaft adding about 15 HP, paired with a different governor for the injection pump, and an appropriately calibrated distributor. Only 4% of total Gullwing production was supplied with these special motors. Currently 4500143 has a second NSL engine fitted, 5500235, an early 1955 factory replacement engine. The car also sits slightly lower than other 300SLs due to its racing shocks and springs, as noted by the Gullwing Registry. After investigation by the mechanics at Canepa the car was confirmed to have the factory-racing cam, and other identified improvements have been made to the oiling and fuel systems. The 4500143 racing story concludes with the car being reconditioned by Mercedes and sent to the US to be sold as a new automobile in 1955. Mercedes-Benz is not willing to substantiate the report for obvious reasons. The Gullwing found its first owner in New York in 1955. After a short east coast stint the Gullwing quickly moved to the west coast where it was enjoyed by three California owners before coming to Canepa. With wheel time in dozens of these rare cars Bruce Canepa observes that this may be the most potent street version he has ever driven. While the car has not been completely stripped down for inspection, drivability and engine response point directly to a lightened flywheel and other lightened components. This is a car to be reckoned with. When the 300SL was released as a street going car in 1954 it had already conquered Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the Nurburgring. No street car came close in performance, and at the time it was recognized as the fastest production automobile on Earth. With its factory NSL engine 4500143 is a step closer in performance to those storied race cars of the 50's. Presenting well and in excellent condition, here is a historic Gullwing that is ready and willing to be driven. SCROLL DOWN FOR MORE PHOTOS ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We thank you for your interest in Canepa Design. To request further information or submit offers, please call or email: Bruce Canepa

bruce@canepa.com Please visit to view our complete inventory of automobiles. -


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