One of the quickest ways to start a heated debate among car enthusiasts is to ask what the most iconic cars in automotive history are. From the genesis of the automobile to now, the space is punctuated by a litany of gorgeous, ground-breaking cars that not only defined the major automakers that populate the space but the entire history of automobiles themselves. Chief among them is the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, a car so recognizable, so classic, and so revolutionary, that even amongst heavily-opinionated gearheads, it’s undeniably one of the most iconic cars ever. Even better, one of the most coveted examples in existence is going up for auction in just a few weeks.
As far as post-war sports cars are concerned, you simply cannot beat the 300 SL Gullwing Coupe. In particular, the light metal version of the Gullwing, commonly referred to as the “Alloy,” is arguably the apex of the German automaker’s glorious lineup. Its lightweight aluminum construction, plexiglass windows, high-performance NSL engine, and unique suspension made it a racing force to be reckoned with. From a competition standpoint, the Gullwing made an immediate impact, having earned Mercedes-Benz victories in prestigious races such as Le Mans, the Carrera Panamericana, Mille Miglia, and Liège-Rome-Liège. After a successful racing campaign in the early 1950s, Mercedes-Benz greenlit the production of 24 Alloy Gullwings in 1955 for production, this car (chassis number 5500332) being one of them. Being an Alloy Gullwing in the first place makes chassis 5500332 incredibly rare, but the fact that it retains its numbers-matching 3.0-liter NSL engine, factory-made livery of Silver Gray Metallic over blue gabardine fabric with blue vinyl, and original suspension make this Alloy Gullwing one of the most desirable cars in the world.
As if the aforementioned qualities weren’t enough to make your mouth water, this particular Alloy Gullwing was named the “Best Gullwing” at the Gullwing Group’s 1980 National Meeting due to its immaculate restoration and condition. If you want to be the owner of this historic piece of automotive art, you better have deep pockets, as RM Sotheby’s is expecting the car to fetch between $7 million to $9 million at its January 27 auction in Phoenix.