May 27, 2014 (Milwaukee, Wis.) — A pair of unique Mercedes-Benz 300SL models – a Gullwing and a Roadster – will join the competition at the 2014 Milwaukee Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance, Aug. 24, 2014, at Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront.
Steve Levy of Bannockburn, Ill., is showing his 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing; Phil Brown of Oak Brook, Ill., is showing his 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster.
In the 1950s, Mercedes-Benz built the 300SL — a race car for the street. It was the first production model that had direct fuel injection as standard, making it the fastest production car at the time. Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the fuel-injected production model was based on the company’s highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carbureted 1952 race car, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
The “300” in its name referred to its three litre engine displacement, and “SL” stood for “Sport Leicht” (Sport Light).
The 300SL was best known for its distinctive gull wing doors, exemplified in Levy’s car. The gull wing version was available from March 1955 to 1957, the roadster from 1957 to 1963.
Levy is the third owner of the Gullwing which has about 40,000 miles on the odometer. Featuring a brilliant white exterior and red interior, the Gullwing was originally titled in California. Levy has owned it for 12 years. Levy’s Gullwing came with a $750 option – Rudge wheels. Today those wheels can add $50,000 or more to the value of an SL, according to Levy.
Levy’s 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupe is a returning favorite of The Milwaukee Masterpiece, having appeared here in 2009. At that time it was judged Most Sporting Closed Car, one of the top citations at The Masterpiece.
Levy, who will drive the Gullwing to the 2014 Milwaukee Masterpiece, is looking forward to returning. “The Masterpiece venue along Lake Michigan is great and the proceeds support worthwhile causes,” he said.
“In 1974, when most of my friends were into Camaros and Challengers, I knew that the true sports car to have was the 300SL,” Brown said. “I spent all my savings to purchase the car and then, 30 years later, I again spent all my savings when I finally found someone I trusted to do a proper restoration.” He found Rudi & Company, located in Victoria, British Columbia, a restoration company specializing in Mercedes-Benz and “other spirited automobiles,” according to the Rudi & Company website.
The Roadster paint color is Fantasy Yellow and features a dark green top and interior, which, “although not my original colors are true production colors from 1957,” Brown said.
The 1957 300SL Roadster earned the Judge’s Choice Award at the Oak Brook Polo Club Concours d’Elegance in 2008 and in 2011 it received the Carl Benz Class Award for Post-WWII Sports Cars at the Geneva Concours d’Elegance.
About The Milwaukee Masterpiece
In its 10th year, The Milwaukee Masterpiece will showcase 125 of the most significant vehicles from years past, as well as 125 new participants to Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance at The Milwaukee Masterpiece. “Each one is a work of automotive art,” Flagg said.
The Milwaukee Masterpiece presents two separate collections of collector vehicles over two days, Aug. 23 – 24, at Veterans Park on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Both days, with unique collections, are open to the public. Events include:
- Club Saturday At The M, Aug. 23 – A gathering of individuals and local and regional car club members who display their favored two- and four-wheeled vehicles. Club Saturday will begin with a Parade of Club Saturday vehicles from the Harley-Davidson Museum to the show grounds on Aug. 23.
- The Style & Speed Social presented by Lake Forest Sportscars, Aug. 23 – A social event in which The Milwaukee Masterpiece exhibitors, sponsors and guests enjoy an evening of food, beverage and camaraderie in a unique setting. Special guests will include Jim Wangers, the “Godfather of the GTO,” and artist Curt Crain, creator of the 2014 Masterpiece poster art.
- The Masterpiece Concours d’Elegance, Aug. 24 – More than 250 stunning vehicles selected by the concours committee take over the show grounds to compete for senior awards including Best of Show, Chairman’s Cup and Chief Judge’s Cup as well as first-in-class distinction.
Charitable partners for the 2014 Milwaukee Masterpiece include Autism Society of Southeastern Wisconsin, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee and Meta House.
Sponsors announced to date include Kohler Company, Concours Motors, Badger Bimmers, Prescient Financial Solutions and Lake Forest Sportscars.
The Milwaukee Masterpiece is organized and operated by The Masterpiece Ltd., a non-profit organization. The Masterpiece Ltd. is organized and operated exclusively to support other public charities including but not limited to those operating in southeastern Wisconsin which provide medical and social service care and relief to underprivileged children and families through various motor vehicle-related fundraising events.