1956 Mercedes 300SL Competition Coupe History Assistance - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2012, 12:20 PM Thread Starter
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1956 Mercedes 300SL Competition Coupe History Assistance

Hi Guys,

New member here hoping someone might be able to assist me with a 300SL I spent more than a decade trying to buy. It was purposely built as a race car with many very special features but retained the standard steel body with only the doors, deck lid, bonnet, boot and rockers being finished in aluminum.

The chassis number is 6500028 and full sets of photos, and some notes and documents can be accessed using this private link:

1956 Mercedes Benz 300SL - Symbolic International Photo Gallery

I have not been able to learn what races and drivers the car may have had from 1956 until approximately 1959.

It was assembled in in November of 1955 and tested extensively by the Factory prior to be shipped to Switzerland for either her first race or possibly to practice for her first race on February 13th, 1956. I corresponded with Mercedes Benz but do to German Privacy Laws, they would only release the assembly records and no details about races, drivers or subsequent owners.

The car was last raced in Italy and was stored in the back of a race shop in Rome from 1960 until 1964 or so when an up and coming Italian Actor chanced upon her and purchased her thinking it would help his image and career. His name is Tony Russel and he is still alive and now living in Beverly Hills where he retired. He provided a photo but no registration records. He was aware the car was a race car when he bought her but new nothing of what events or the drivers that may have raced her.

I will attach a publicity photo taken of him in the car from 1964/65 as well as copies of the assembly records. I would very much appreciate hearing from anyone who might be able to assist me in sorting through the ownership prior to Mr. Russel as well as what races and what drivers may have used the car in competition.

Many thanks and warm regards,

Bill Noon bnoon@symbolicmotors.com
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-01-2012, 12:23 PM Thread Starter
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Data Card and Photo from 1964/65
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 02:56 PM
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Perhaps the MBCA club magazine or Roy Spencer at MercedesHeritage.com would be interested in doing an article about this car and your search from their readers. Let me know if you require an introduction but both Roy and Gary, the Editor of The Star, are imminently approachable individuals with a true passion for these cars.
Have you reached out to Classic Center in Irvine, CA? They may not have the same limitations as Germany in all instances. I was unclear if the car made it back to Beverly Hills or if it perhaps remained in Italy.

-Marrs

The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
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"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-02-2012, 09:55 PM Thread Starter
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Many thanks,

the guys at Star are well aware of the car, what I really need is a true sleuth at figuring out which of the few Euro Client racing 300SLs that were released at the same time frame might be a match for my car.

I have contacted MB directly as well as the classic center. They are well aware the car was a specially prepared racer but have their corporate hands tied with regards to providing anything more than the assembly records.

There are at least three separate test/race preparation documents in the car's file from December of 1955, but apparently they contain the names of either the drivers or the car's first owner and therefore cannot be publicly released.

Not having the original registration number is the kiss of death tying to tie the car to any period races or specific drivers. The oldest known owner, Anthony Russel, cut the scutineering race entry tags and seals that hung under the steering column when he bought the car as they rubbed against his pants. He did not realize what they were when he did so or their importance.

The publicity stills he had taken with the car are all side shots that do not show the license plate which is crushing as this would easily lead us to who had the car prior to going into storage after her last competitive races.

All input and assistance remains most graciously appreciated.

Cheers,

Bill Noon bnoon@symbolicmotors.com
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 05:31 PM
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Thanks for the extra info, you may wish to ask Mr. Russel if he was a "contract player" or even research what studios he worked under by utilizing the info on his IMDb page here: Tony Russel - IMDb
Most all of the larger studios, if still in existence, hold a photo archive and you can easily reach out to them to ask for the full list of publicity photos on a given actor or film. You may have some research and printing fees but if you specify that you are looking for any photos of him with an automobile (I wouldn't specify the car type as the researcher may not recognize it in every photo) you could get lucky and nab one with a shot of the license plate. I've done this through Paramount for an actor friend in the past with much success.

I also see that he has a son, Del Russel, perhaps you can also reach out to him for any long lost family photos, it would seem natural he would have at least some photos of such a wonderful car.

-Marrs

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"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-03-2012, 06:36 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks Direct LA,

We have been in touch with Mr. Russel and he was kind enough to provide the one still shot show above taken in Rome. We are now trying to get a hold of additional stills and publicity shots per your recommendation. Hopefully these will show the front or rear of the car and the registration number. Once we have that, we should really be able to nail down the car's individual ownership and race history.

Many thanks and warm regards,

Bill Noon bnoon@symbolicmotors.com
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-04-2012, 01:21 PM
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Try the AMPAS (commonly, The Oscars) archive as well: Research & Preservation | Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences

Good luck on an exciting project!

-Marrs

The Coupe Group (W111/112 coupes and cabs)official website
The Coupe Group on Facebook


"Too many people are working at jobs they hate, to buy things they don't particularly want, to impress people they don't even care about." --Dr. Deepak Chopra
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 12-05-2012, 04:33 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks again... I got an email back from the Mr. Russel's biographer but he could not assist further. The website is really geared towards major stars and films and unfortunately Mr. Russel seems to have missed out. He passed on Clint Eastwood's part in the first of his Spaghetti Western's and things did not get better for him after that. This is partially why he had to sell the 300SL in 1969 when he was living back in Beverly Hills.

I will attach a few additional semi-period photos taken in LA in 1969... perhaps one of them will jar someone's memory.

Ciao,

Bill Noon bnoon@symbolicmotors.com
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