From the Chief Financial Officer’s view the 1951-63 Mercedes-Benz 300 Series was an utter disaster. Counting sedans, coupes, convertibles and roadsters only 15,448 were built in 12 years, all with separate shop manuals, parts books, sales brochures, and technician training.
They have some machine-stamped and shared parts but were hand-assembled, each with unique service requirements. For comparison, the 190 SL was a cash cow: 25,881 built with one engine, one unibody, one parts inventory, one service training program. 300 Series engineers were rarely constrained even while launching a highly sophisticated return to Grand Prix racing. When interviewed upon retirement Rudolf Uhlenhaut commented that the modest, 220 Series was his most important achievement because it provided the black ink to pursue their most famous vehicles.
While not the time-frame its creators had in mind, the “return on investment ” that 300s have brought to Mercedes-Benz and long term owners has few rivals. Even people with no interest in cars whatsoever can identify these half century old icons a block away. Styling and build-quality generate fresh accolades every time they appear. Small wonder continuing appreciation is so impressive. See pages 4 & 5 for a 60 Year 300 SL Price Report, the first ever put on paper. The interplay between Coupé and Roadster values is fascinating. While exceptionally good or bad cars step outside these ranges, the average of confirmed sales and asking prices, has not flip-flopped since 1970. Note also how the 300S/Sc and Convertible D (4 dr. convertible) values have ignited during the last five years. While sports cars get attention, the world loves all rare convertibles, especially with the three pointed star. With low original quantities, surviving 1950s & 1960s MB convertibles are appreciating in any condition. (click HERE or the chart below to enlarge, then click upper right corner to view full size)