A deadly cocktail of shockingly poor taste and vast wealth led to the travesty that is the Mercedes-Benz 300SL AMG. A total of 11 of them were built between 1996 and 2009, and now one is up for sale.
The car is listed for sale at Best Heritage Auction and is one of only two built with right-hand drive. It has been with the same owner in Japan since it was completed in 2000.
As the story goes, Brunei's car crazy sultan commissioned AMG to take an original 300SL gullwing coupe and roadster and fit them with them with modern internals.
As drastic as it sounds, there was apparently enough demand that nine other examples were ordered, with four of those additional orders coming from fellow members of the Brunei royal family. The price tag was 1 million euros at the time, or $1.1 million at current exchange rates.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL AMG with right-hand drive - Image via Best Heritage Auction
The body and underlying structure were kept but almost everything else was either replaced or upgraded. Instead of the original 3.0-liter inline-6, the cars were fitted with a 6.0-liter V-8 rated at 380 horsepower and 427 pound-feet of torque. A 4-speed automatic was also swapped in for the original manual transmission, and while the original 300SL gauges and controls were kept, they were adapted to electronic operation. They now sit in a carbon fiber dash that has replaced the original metal design. Other owners chose a Jaguar-esque wooden dash.
The chassis also came in for major upgrades, with the 300SL’s original swing-arm rear suspension making way for a modern five-link setup, and also added to the mix were Bilstein shocks and AMG light alloys. Power steering and modern disc brakes were also added. And in the case of this particular car, the owner requested Recaro seats, a sports steering wheel, and even a Sony CD player.
The auction is scheduled for January 11 at the 2019 Tokyo Auto Salon and the estimated sale price is between $1.2 million and $1.5 million.
Hopefully whoever picks it up also has the funds to put this car out of its misery by returning it to its original condition. Car lovers the world over will be forever grateful.