This 1954 gull-wing Mercedes-Benz is pure black magic

We did a double take, double clicked and double checked our bank balance, because this 300 SL Gull-wing has left us breathless

We can’t remember the last time we did a double-take on a car. In London, where Gentleman’s Journal have our offices, there are so many fantastic four-wheeled machines that they hardly raise an eyebrow, let alone turn a head.

Supercars are spilling out of Knightsbridge, luxury cruisers clog up Park Lane and the backstreets of Kensington are a haven for vintage racers. But, when we were checking out what cars RM Sotheby’s have coming up for auction — admittedly in their Monterey sale — we were taken aback.

We did a double take, double clicked and double checked our bank balance, because the long swooping bonnet, low grill and gull-wing doors on this 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gull-wing have left us breathless.

It’s an incredibly impressive piece of kit when zooming along, and even more beguiling when it pulls to a stop. Because, of course, the marquee feature on this Merc is those doors, that lift like the wings of a bird to accommodate driver and passenger alike. It looks like it’s about to take off and, even though one thing it can’t do is take you high into the sky, we’re pretty sure you’d be on cloud nine behind the wheel.

Once you do slip inside, there’s even more to get excited about. A striking check pattern on the seats is unexpected, but quirkily welcome, and brings a splash of both colour and eccentricity to an otherwise straight-laced and straight-faced car.

That cream steering wheel is also a lovely light touch, tempering the deep black leather of the dashboard.

Surely, if there were ever a car to make you feel like an evil mastermind or moneyed megalomaniac — tearing from the pages of a Fleming novel — this would be it. 

But be prepared to dig deep if that turned head has turned to a set heart, for we can see the price on this motor driving higher than even the most optimistic estimate.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gull-wing

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