Though it looks like a 300SL Gullwing at first glance, this car actually started life as a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 230CE. It later received custom-fabricated steel gullwing bodywork in Colombia, and it’s now being offered for sale out of Jupiter, Florida.

We’ve seen a huge array of Gullwing replicas over the years, almost all are fairly rough and feature poorly aligned fiberglass bodies over a variety of chassis – everything from a custom tube frame to a VW Beetle platform. This car is by far the best, and dare I say it, would likely even fool some experienced classic Mercedes enthusiasts. From 30 paces. Perhaps.

Fast Facts – Mercedes 230CE With A Gullwing Conversion

  • The car you see here started life as a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 230CE and was later converted into a replica of the 300SL Gullwing by a custom workshop in Colombia. It features custom-fabricated steel gullwing bodywork and is now offered for sale in Jupiter, Florida.
  • Unlike many rough Gullwing replicas with poorly aligned fiberglass bodies on various chassis, this car stands out thanks to its excellent apparent build quality. It’s likely to fool even experienced classic Mercedes enthusiasts from a few paces.
  • The original 300SL Gullwing, launched in 1954, is a significant post-WWII car for Mercedes-Benz, known for being the fastest production car of its time. Its design originated from the W194 sports racing car and was suggested by Max Hoffman, an highly-influential car importer.
  • The base car, the Mercedes-Benz 230CE, debuted in 1977 as part of the C123 coupe line. It featured advanced features for its time, such as independent front and rear suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a steel unibody, and a fuel-injected 2.3-liter inline-four. The engine in the 230CE was known for its toughness and durability, typically capable of running for hundreds of thousands of miles with regular maintenance.

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

There can be little argument that the Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” is among the most important cars ever made by the German marque, certainly in the post-WWII period. It was the car that launched the company into the forefront of the high-performance car world in 1954, and it was heralded as the fastest production car on earth.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Vintage Ad

Image DescriptionWhen it was released in 1954 the Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was the fastest production car in the world, and it helped put Mercedes back on the map in the post-WWII landscape as a manufacturer of high-end automobiles. Image courtesy of Daimler-Benz.

The 300SL was named for its 3.0 liter displacement and its lightweight construction, “SL” standing for “Super Leicht” or “Super Light” in English. The car was perhaps not as light as you might expect however, tipping the scales at 1,500 kgs or 3,300 lbs thanks in part to its luxury fit out and a body made largely of steel, with some aluminum panels for good measure.

The origins of the 300SL design can be traced directly back to the Mercedes-Benz W194, a sports racing car developed by Daimler-Benz in 1951 under the management of the company’s chief development engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut.

The idea of creating a road-going version of the W194 was suggested by Max Hoffman, an Austrian immigrant to the United States who became arguably the most important high-end car importer in the country, or even in the world, in the 1950s and into the 1960s.

It would be Hoffman who talked Porsche into developing the 356 Speedster, he talked Mercedes into making the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, he convinced BMW to build both the BMW 507 Roadster and the later BMW 2002, and there are countless other examples.

Ultimately, as was usually the case, Hoffman had been right. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL sold like hotcakes to the wealthy Americans who could afford it, and perhaps more importantly it established post-war Mercedes as a manufacturer of desirable, luxurious, and high-performance automobiles.

The Mercedes-Benz 230CE

The Mercedes-Benz 230CE of was a version of the Mercedes C123 coupe that debuted in 1977. This platform was based on the four-door W123 Mercedes sedan, though it was shortened and developed for a slightly more sporting, but still decidedly luxurious grand tourer-style, driving experience.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 13

Image DescriptionOn this 300SL Gullwing replica, the doors, hood, and trunk all work as they should, though under that hood you’ll find a far more modern (and sadly less powerful) engine than in the original.

This car was relatively advanced for the time, featuring independent front and rear suspension, four wheel disc brakes, a steel unibody, and a fuel-injected Mercedes-Benz M115 inline-four engine with a displacement of 2.3 liters.

Power output was relatively modest, at 110 bhp, but this engine was famously robust, happily running for hundreds of thousands of miles with only scheduled maintenance required. The CE230 is an oft-forgotten classic now, with more attention typically focussed on the closely related but more powerful 280CE.

The Mercedes 230CE “Gullwing” Shown Here

The car you see here is an impressive replica, and we very rarely feature replicas of any sort on Silodrome, but the work that’s gone into this build does deserve some attention. It started life as a 1982 Mercedes-Benz 230CE and seems to have spent most of its life like this, before somehow finding its way to Colombia.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 15

Image DescriptionThe interior of the car is very well done, and it’s more than enough to fool those who aren’t well-versed in the various nuances of the 300SL. The rear parcels shelf in the rear has a matching suitcase, and you’ll find a vintage-looking Sony AM/FM/cassette stereo just under the dashboard.

It was in Colombia, at a workshop that isn’t named in the listing, that the car was transformed with a new steel body into a close approximation of a 300SL, with fully functioning Gullwing doors, a surprisingly convincing looking interior, and even the matching luggage in the rear.

The car is now being offered for sale out of Jupiter, Florida on dealer consignment with a clean Carfax report, a Florida title, and 300 miles shown on the odometer, just 20 of which have been added by the current owner. If you’d like to read more about it or place a bid you can visit the listing on Bring a Trailer here.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 18 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 17 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 16 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 14 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 12 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 11 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 10 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 9 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 8 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 7 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 6 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 5 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 4 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 3 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 2 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Replica 1

Images courtesy of Bring a Trailer

Published by Ben Branch -