The ‘world’s first supercar’ is heading to auction

Damien O’Carroll
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A remarkably rare 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing, often cited as ‘the world’s first supercar’, is heading to auction as part of a collection of performance icons that span every decade from the 1950s to the 1990s.

One of only around 1400 examples built, and one of the most collectable cars of all time, the 300 SL is set to achieve a sale price in excess of £1 million (NZ$2.07 million).

The legendary Gullwing is part of a 'curated assembly' of iconic classics called 'The Silver Bullets & Red Arrows Collection' up for sale on the Collecting Cars website, with auctions running from Wednesday 12 June to Sunday 23 June.

The owner of the collection says he was inspired by the ‘poster cars’ of his youth, having grown up in a family with a passion for automobiles and motorsport.

The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was one of his first acquisitions, purchased via a leading specialist in the United States. After enjoying the car in unrestored condition for a brief time, it was then sent to Switzerland in 2009 for a total restoration costing more than £250,000 (NZ$517,000).

Widely considered to be the world’s first supercar, the 300 SL is now extremely sought-after by collectors and this impressive example in vibrant Fire Engine Red is expected to see bids of more than £1 million when the auction closes on Sunday 23 June.

But the 300 SL isn't the only highlight of the stunning collection, with another star being a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’. Given its nickname in tribute to ferrari's 1-2-3 finish at the 1967 endurance race in America, the 365 GTB/4 is actually even rarer than the 300 SL, with only 1284 cars built, while this particular car is even more special, being among the last 10 produced at the Maranello factory.

Other cars offered for sale in the Silver Bullets & Red Arrows Collection include:

1964 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 4.2 Roadster
1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB
1980 Ferrari 308 GTB
1985 Porsche 911 Carrera 3.2 Sport Targa
1986 Ferrari Testarossa ‘Monospecchio’
1991 Porsche 964 Carrera 4 Cabriolet
1998 Ferrari F355 Spider

While some cars in the collection are the result of as much as two years spent trying to track down the best examples, others were acquired on the spur of the moment. Having taken around 20 years to bring together the collection, the owner says he no longer has the time to fully enjoy all of them, so is offering them for sale "so that they may continue to be driven as regularly as possible, by enthusiasts who will use them as intended."

The auctions will close for bids in the evening of Sunday 23 June, and anyone interested in bidding needs to register online at www.collectingcars.com ahead of time.

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