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Yes the 300SL is a truly significant Merc., and a superb automobile (relative to its manufacture date) and yes, the overall production numbers are low and there's great racing history to boot! Prices of course too, are high... And, they were all hand made!

Yet, though it is a wonderful example of post WWII era Merc., earlier Merc's still rule the roost...

To me (and yes I could not afford any of these vehicles by any stretch of imagination) SSK and SSKL variant Mercs are the true classics! And the prices of these vehicles could afford one a number of 300SL's; a fleet of them to be exact.

Take the mid-to-late 30's 540's... When one becomes available, the price's tend to be in the millions and these vehicle's are in a "class" far apart from the later 300SL's...

So, the answer to this question, I suppose, would be: the 300SL is a great vehicle but there are "classics" and then there are "CLASSICS!"

There're a handful of vehicles (RE: History Channel special on Classics) that actually qualify under this category and they are rare birds indeed... (All vehicles in this category were made prior to World War II)

The 300SL again is a fine automobile but, can it compare to a Bugatti Royale? A Merc. 540SSK? Etc., etc....? The answer would be NO...

Are the 300SL's collectable? Heck YES! Are they pricey? Heck YES! And in the SLR form, they are "untouchable..." (I don't think there're any SLR's in "private" hands???)

All though the 300SL's can be described in many wonderful ways, they are NOT "classics" in the same sense as the "true" classics of all time...

Mustapha
 

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As you said,in class of their own,All of the prewar SS cars and 540KS etc were owned by seriously rich and powerful people.But Daimler Benz was also building taxis and family cars like the 170.
The Gull wing was and is different in that you had to have money to buy one,but not the huge pots of cash that the prewar cars demanded.
In my neibourhood is a guy Called Wolfgang Grod who is one the handful of people in the world who restores cars for Daimler Chrysler.The Gullwing is his specialty,Having had tyhe opputunity to look real close at a few i would say that they are a far better car than the the prewar classics,given that the prewar cars were beutifully built ,they weren't in the game as far as innovation is concerned.The Mercedes race cars were,but then trhey only built a few of those..and the intelegence gained from the racing of the silver arrows was put to use in most of the post war mercs.
Also,at present Mr Grod is rebuilding a 380K and owns a 29 SSK.So I have had a chance to look at those too.
Regarding the Buggatti Royale,that was a Big Car, with a buggatti locomotive engine,beam axle and cable brakes,in my veiw it was a far lesser car than the Buggatti type 35 etc.Real Classics.
 
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