It’s not something that happens very often, but occasionally a car is more than just a car. There is a point where rubber, aluminum, steel, and leather become a piece of history, a record of the existence of a human and their significance, their relationship together. This 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster is one of those cars that is more than a car. This SL was presented to legendary racer Juan Manuel Fangio as a retirement gift from Mercedes-Benz, the company for which he won his second and third of five World Championships.
In the late 1950s there was no better racing driver than Fangio, and there was no better sports car than the 300 SL, so it makes sense that the two managed to find each other. Following his retirement, Fangio used the 300 SL extensively, driving it throughout South America and Europe amassing over 70,000 kilometers on the odometer between 1958 and 1986. By the mid-1980s the Museo Fangio was completed in his home town of Balcarce, Argentina and the car was sent there to live out the next handful of decades on a pedestal.
Because of its time in a museum, this is among the most original 300 SL Roadsters out there, and remains completely unchanged from its time as El Maestro’s weekend driver. It was his hands on the steering wheel and gear change. It was his feet dancing on the pedals. It was his hind end indenting the seat leather. The two, car and man, were inextricably linked for years, and here is your chance to be the car’s second proper owner and driver. Just know deep down in your soul that you’ll never be able to drive this car like he did.
While the car is listed with RM Sotheby’s for sale, it won’t be sold at a typical auction. This will be an entirely private sale, where bidders are encouraged to offer an all-in price for the car, and the highest bidder will get the car. The final sale price will not be made public, and there will be no buyer premium. There is no listed valuation of the car, but you can bet that it’ll be a big one. 300 SL Roadsters don’t typically sell for as much as their gullwing brethren, but have been selling between one and two million dollars in recent months. I’d expect this one to carry at least a few million dollar premium, as it’s tied to one of the most famous racing drivers of all time.
To whichever billionaire cretin who ends up purchasing the car, if you choose to put this car in a bubble and never drive it again, I will be highly disappointed. Apropos of nothing, I know how to build a guillotine.
Anyway, honor Fangio’s memory by driving this delightful car across the Andes to murder a Chilean dictator.