Hagerty Classic Car Insurance reported today that the Ex-Briggs Cunningham Mercedes 300SL has been added to the National Historic Vehicle Register. What is the Historic Vehicle Association (HVA) you ask? According to the HVA website, “with over 375,000 members, the HVA is the world’s largest historic vehicle owners’ organization. The HVA was founded in 2009 through the philanthropic support of Hagerty and became the designated North American representative of FIVA (Fédération International des Véhicules Anciens), the international federation of historic vehicle organizations. ”
Below the video from ‘This Car Matters’ discussing Briggs Cunningham, Max Hoffman and the 300SL is the article Hagerty put out today discussing the 1954 300SL that Cunningham purchased from Hoffman in 1954. This car is believed to be the first 300SL sold in the United States.
Below is the article in its entirety… and have a look at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance, it’s where I insure both my SLs!
Ex-Cunningham 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL added to National Historic Vehicle Register!
At Hagerty, we love automotive heritage and are dedicated to supporting and sharing the stories of our automotive past.
That’s why we are proud to support the Historic Vehicle Association’s (HVA) efforts with the U.S. Department of the Interior to recognize and document significant automobiles on the National Historic Vehicle Register, permanently archived in the Library of Congress.
We are excited to share the HVA’s recent announcement at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance of the 1954 Mercedes-Benz Type 300 SL (serial number 198 040 4500003) as the next vehicle to be added to the National Historic Vehicle Register!
What makes this particular Type 300 SL historically significant?
According to factory records, 198 040 4500003 was the first 300 SL to be produced and was the first 300 SL sold in the United States. This car was exported to U.S. Mercedes-Benz distributor Max Hoffman and purchased by Briggs Cunningham, an influential American sportsman and businessman who raced automobiles and yachts.
What is its significance to American automotive heritage?
Soon after taking delivery in September 1954, Cunningham displayed the car at the Watkins Glen Grand Prix Concours. The Type 300 SL took top honors in its class at the show. The car was photographed in 1955 at the Daytona Beach NASCAR Speed Week with race number A18 and Phil Hill in the cockpit. The car reportedly did not fully participate in the event due to an engine failure. A replacement engine was subsequently fitted, and the Type 300 SL was sold to William Fleming of Westport, Connecticut. Fleming campaigned the car in the 1956 SCCA season, finishing third in the national points for that year. Fleming took home one first-place prize in the 300 SL at the Mount Equinox Hill Climb on June 17, 1956. Fleming was one of many early adopters of the Type 300 SL in sports car racing in the U.S. Type 300 SLs dominated their class in SCCA racing in both 1955 and 1956. In 198 040 4500003’s 60-year life, the car has only had four owners since Cunningham bought it new in 1954.
Visit the Historic Vehicle Association website for more information about their organization and to see a list of all the cars on the Historic Vehicle Register.