Spotted in SoCal – Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
This vintage Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, one of 1,858 ever produced between 1958 and 1963, sits in front of a row of shops located at Padaro Beach, on the north end of Carpinteria, a sleepy beach town located between Ventura and Santa Barbara. To find this street, exit Highway 101 at Santa Claus Lane (I kid you not) and head for the water.
A true supercar of the Kennedy era and the fastest production convertible of the time, the 300SL Roadster replaced the short-lived 300SL Coupe, that gull-winged masterpiece that today trolls museum floors and auction blocks more frequently than it does public roads. The first of the now legendary series of SL (Sport Light) performance Benzes, the 300SL had a fuel-injected 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder engine, a 4-speed manual gearbox, and aluminum doors, hood, and trunk lid.
When I saw this incredible 300SL, sitting in a parking slot in a dusty lot next to a Honda Element, its gorgeous red leather interior openly exposed both to salty ocean air and passersby, it just didn’t seem real. But then, this is Southern California, where money oozes from the pores of a disproportionate amount of the populace, and where Bentleys, Ferraris, and Lamborghinis are more frequently spotted than privately owned Chrysler 200s and Dodge Avengers.
We give this 300SL’s owner a standing ovation for using the car in the manner in which Stuttgart intended.
– Christian Wardlaw
Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster Photo Copyright 2012 Speedy Daddy Media, Inc.