1961 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
VIN: 198 042 10002637
In 1961, only two years after becoming the 49th state, Alaska took delivery of its first and only 300 SL. The roadster must have been an exotic sight sitting on the show room floor of Anchorage Studebaker, Packard, Mercedes-Benz. The lucky man who drove away with the rare treasure was Dr. William Sedwick. For the next 42 years the car would make a welcome fair weather traveling companion through the beautiful Alaska countryside for Dr. Sedwick and his wife, driving the 65 miles from Anchorage to their summer vacation home on Nancy Lake.
It is believed that early during Sedwick's ownership that the original cast-iron engine failed and a factory replacement was installed. The replacement engine would be the more advanced, aluminum block version of the W198 engine that came out in 1962. This engine change would give the Roadster the same lighter front end, improved handling, and higher performance that is shared with the final 210 roadsters from late 1962-1963.
In 2003, after only 45,000 miles, the car moved on to a new owner, Gordon Apker of Seattle, Washington. Mr. Apker enjoyed the 300 SL for one year before deciding to press forward with a complete concourse restoration. That daunting task fell on the renowned 300 SL restorer Rudi Koniczek of Victoria, British Columbia.
Over the next 3 years Rudy & Company completed a meticulous, nut-and-bolt, 100-point restoration. The body was removed from the chassis so that every part of the car could be properly addressed. It was discovered during this step that the car was remarkably rust and corrosion free.
The decision was made that the bare metal refurbishment would be finished in Weissgau (white-grey) with a complementing darker shade on the rare factory hardtop. Completing the look are the European headlights, dark green leather interior, factory soft-top, and matching luggage. Undoubtedly one of the most elegant color combinations, the result is absolutely spectacular.
During the restoration it was noted that this Roadster was equipped with the sought-after, high performance drum brakes. The full floating, twin cylinder, steel shoe design was a significant improvement to the earlier single cylinder design, and was the ultimate development of the Mercedes drum brake, which set new standards of effectiveness and reliability. Many a seasoned 300 SL owner will say they prefer the tried-and-true drum brakes to the relatively untested technology of the early discs, especially for extended events such as the Colorado Grand or the Copperstate 1000.
In 2010 the 300 SL changed hands once again to Terry Rafiah, owner of Mercedes-Benz Baltimore and Wilmington, Delaware. A collector of numerous 300 SLs over the past decade, Mr. Rafiah knew exactly what he was looking for and found it in this exceptional Roadster.
Once the car arrived at Canepa it was fully sorted, and mechanically and cosmetically inspected. During this process it was decided to upgrade the car to Rudge style wheels, which includes the front hubs, rear axles, drums, knock off caps, spare wheel carrier, and the center lock wheels painted to match the beautiful Weissgau color of the body. Total cost of the upgrade was around $50k. To finalize the car's sorting Bruce Canepa took this exceptional 300SL on a three-day driving tour of Northern California's wine country where the car performed flawlessly.
With the 300 SL a must-have on many collectors' lists, finding a roadster that has been restored and finished to such a high standard truly represents an opportunity not to be missed. The car comes complete with its original set of manuals and tools.