This is the only Boschert B300 “Gullwing” that was ever made, it was displayed at the 1989 Frankfurt International Motor Show by Hartmut Boschert, and the early plan was to produce 300 of them as a limited series.
The Boschert B300 was based on a 1988 Mercedes 300 CE (W124), onto which the front end of an R129-generation SL was added. Significant structural changes were made to accommodate the hefty gullwing doors, and the car is powered by a twin turbocharged M103 engine producing 283 bhp.
Fast Facts – The Boschert B300 “Gullwing”
- The Boschert B300 “Gullwing” was developed by German engineer Hartmut Boschert working with storied automotive design and coachbuilding house Zagato in Milan, Italy. Interestingly, Boschert had no official link to Mercedes at all, this was an entirely unofficial custom car that was intended for a full production run capped at 300 units.
- The design of the Boschert B300 was made up almost exclusively of Mercedes parts. The car started out as a 1988 Mercedes 300 CE (W124), the front end of the Mercedes R129-generation SL was grafted onto the front, and the C-pillar was moved forward 25 cm. Once the structure of the car was reinforced, the gullwing doors were added to either side.
- Power was provided by a sequential twin-turbocharged M103 3.0 liter inline-six, one turbo worked in the lower rev range and one in the upper, helping to reduce turbo lag and improve performance. Total power output was rated at 283 bhp, vastly more than the 188 bhp the engine was capable of otherwise.
- The plan to build 300 examples of the Boschert B300 never came to fruition, likely because the car cost 186,000 DM, or more than the cost of a nice house at the time. The initial Gullwing B300 was built as well as 10 other cars – none of these additional vehicles had gullwing doors however.
Reincarnating The Mercedes-Benz 300SL
In the late 1980s Hartmut Boschert, an engineer from Emmendingen in the south of Germany, set out to create an entirely modern version of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing. This would be a challenging task at the best of times, but Boschert had to do it on his own dime, with no help from Mercedes whatsoever.
Truth be told, Boschert’s timing could have been better. Mercedes had just released their new SL, the R129, which was the modern successor to the SL family line, including the 300 SL Gullwing. The R129 had been in development since 1984 and was introduced in 1989 at the Geneva Motor Show.
Boschert had seen it and obviously believed he could do better – certainly with regards to the fact that the car didn’t have gullwing doors.
He set about creating his own version of what he believed a modern SL should be, he worked with famed Italian automotive design and coachbuilding house Zagato on the project, and even went so far as to graft the front end of the new Mercedes R129 onto the front.
The Boschert B300 Gullwing
The Boschert B300 was developed hot on the heels of the official successor to the Mercedes SL line, the R129. As noted above Hartmut Boschert wanted to create his own answer to the iconic 300SL Gullwing, and so he bought a 1988 Mercedes 300 CE (W124) and set to work.
The project was extensive and required that the donor car’s platform be almost entirely reengineered. The doors were removed, the sills moved up, the C-pillar was moved forward 25cm, and a new pair of roof-hinged gullwing doors were fitted.
As if this wasn’t enough, the front end of the then-brand-new Mercedes R129 SL was grafted onto the front.
After reading all of the above you might almost be expecting the car to look like a janky Frankenstein’s monster with a three-pointed star slapped on the grille but amazingly, Boschert kind of pulled it off. The car looks like it was built by Mercedes themselves, possibly because Zagato had a hand in the design and execution.
As the car was coming together it was clear to Boschert that the original M103 3.0 liter inline-six wasn’t going to cut the mustard with its stock output of 188 bhp. He took the engine and had it reworked with sequential twin turbos, and air-to-air intercooler and a slew of other performance modifications, the final engine produces 288 bhp – a far more respectable figure for an SL.
Hartmut Boschert had high hopes for his new creation, he took it along to the 1989 Frankfurt International Motor Show and showed it to the world – the reception was all he could have hoped for. It received television and magazine coverage around the world, with viewers marveling at the wide gullwing doors that provided access to both the front and rear seats at the same time.
The other thing the crowds marveled at was the asking price 186,000 DM (Deutsche Mark), enough to buy a nice house in a nice neighborhood and far beyond the budget of most. The 1980s had been a decade of excess for many and had Boschert unveiled his car five years earlier, even with the eye-watering sticker price, he might just have found the customers he was looking for.
As it was, the interest in the car filtered away after the show and no one ever ordered the gullwing version. As a consolation, he did get 10 orders for the less expensive version of the Boschert B300, the one with standard doors.
The Original Boschert B300 “Gullwing” Shown Here
The car you see here is the original Boschert B300, the one that was displayed at the 1989 Frankfurt International Motor Show and caused a sensation throughout the automotive media in attendance.
The car was discovered on eBay many years ago by Tino Zovko, a man who remembered reading about it a magazine all those years ago. He managed to wrangle the money together to complete the purchase, and then spent a significant amount of time and money bringing the car back to its original condition.
Earlier this year the car was given €16,216 worth of repairs at CarSystems and a further €4,771 on paintwork, upholstery, and interior fettling at Auto Leder Toczek in preparation to be offered for sale.
It’s now due to be auctioned by RM Sotheby’s with a price guide of $265,000 – $320,000 USD, if you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can visit the listing here.
Images courtesy of RM Sotheby’s
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