The 300 SL Gullwing is a ‘50s-era supercar, conceived during a period in time when the racing car came rarely came before the road car. Built from 1954 to 1963, the 300 SL traces its roots to the 300 SLR, which won Carrera Panamericana and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1952. The 300 SL’s 3.0-liter inline-six, with its single-overhead camshaft, pumped out 215 horsepower from new. That might not seem like much in a world of 840-hp Dodge Demons, but it was enough to propel the highly aerodynamic Gullwing to a 160-mph top speed, making the SL the fastest car in the world at the time.
The auction’s estimate of $1-1.4 million line up with the 300 SL’s current average value of $965,000 to $1.4 million depending on condition. Levine’s car was repainted in the 1990s from the original Ivory to a more common silver, and the interior was recently redone to the correct blue leather. With a numbers-matching engine and fitted luggage included, tool roll, jack, and spare wheel, it checks all the right boxes for an SL without a racing pedigree. Levine is not necessarily a known quantity in the automotive space, but his ownership won’t detract from a blue-chip car like a 300 SL, either.
“Celebrity owners can help, but usually only if it is a group of cars or the celebrity is a known car enthusiast,” says John Wiley, Hagerty senior data analyst. “300 SL models that have traded hands in the past couple years haven’t done as well when returning to market, but long-term ownership cars have been realizing good prices.”
Million-dollar cars have been on a bit of a downturn as of late, with only 55 percent of million-dollar lots selling through at this year’s Amelia Island auctions. That is a steady fall from 90 percent in 2014. Still, the 300 SL is a staple of the market, and even if Levine’s doesn’t go big, these cars are always in demand for serious collectors.