An extraordinary Gullwing is restored to glory

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Thornley Kelham

A 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing has undergone a complete rebuild to unique specification by British restorer Thornley Kelham.

The car’s owner wanted it to be “perfect, period-correct and finished in anything but silver.” What was thought to be a simple paint and trim job became a ground-up build after Thornley Kelham spotted a problem with the Gullwing’s lights. The headlamps and tail lamps were from a Roadster and an inspection revealed that the car had been in an accident.

Thankfully, no major chassis damage was evident and the tubular steel was in good condition. The same could not be said for the running gear. The 3.0-liter straight-six engine needed a complete rebuild and every component of the car’s powertrain was either restored or replaced.

At the same time, the body was stripped back to bare metal and then painted in Horizon Blue. The interior was re-trimmed in matching blue plaid, making for a truly individual SL.

“Restoring a Gullwing is a huge responsibility, and restoring a Gullwing for a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance judge like our client also comes with a fair bit of pressure,” said co-founder Simon Thornley. “When you’re working with a car as rare and iconic as this, originality and accuracy is absolutely crucial. We spent hundreds of hours getting the details of this car exactly right, while making sure it adheres to the same standard that every car we work on does—it has to look good, drive well and is made to last. This car has been enjoyed for over 60 years now, and we’re delighted to have extended its lifetime for many more years of pleasure for its owners.”

Expect the car to appear at Concours events next year, but in the meantime enjoy the glorious gallery below.

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