The 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP “Roi des Belges”, 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster and 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing will all headline Amelia Island Auctions. The 1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP “Roi des Belges”, is particularly interesting as it comes fresh to market from 121 years of continuous family ownership. The car will also be displayed at the upcoming Salon Rétromobile exhibition.
1903 Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP “Roi des Belges” (Approximately Upwards of USD 10,000,000)
The Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP is a classic vintage car and was the blueprint for all of the automobiles that would follow. Considered to be the very first supercar, its design was so ahead of its time that it redefined performance capabilities, serving as the basis of Mercedes’ cutting-edge technology in their winning Grand Prix cars even as late as 1908. Manufacturers throughout the world would boast in their advertisements that their cars were built “in the style of Mercedes,” as these were the cars everyone wanted to make, drive, and own. Its importance, influence, and indelible legacy cannot be overstated.
Designed by Wilhelm Maybach and produced by Daimler Motoren Gesellschaft (DMG) at the behest of Emil Jellinek, the Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP is widely regarded as the first modern, high-performance automobile. Powered by a 9.25-liter F-head inline four-cylinder engine, which produced an ample 60 HP, the Mercedes was capable of reaching speeds topping 80 mph, making it the fastest production car in the world at the turn of the 20th century. The Mercedes-Simplex featured many of the mechanical and technical advances of its time, including a state-of-the-art chassis with a low center of gravity, a gated H-pattern four-speed gearbox, smooth scroll-type clutch, dual-chain drive, and honeycomb radiator. Between 1903 and 1905, the Mercedes-Simplex 60 HP dominated the world of racing, winning countless speed trials, hill climbs, and circuit races. Its unparalleled performance capabilities were most prominently displayed at the 1903 Gordon Bennett Cup in Ireland, where Belgian racing driver Camille Jenatzy won the race outright, defeating purpose-built racing machines in what was a stock production car delivered to a private customer.
Today, the car remains in highly original condition, with its fabulous Rothschild bodywork still retaining much of its original leather upholstery. This car is one of only four remaining examples in private ownership, with a fifth example, a Long-Wheelbase Omnibus, at the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany. Further, the Harmsworth Mercedes is one of only two such cars with original coachwork still intact. Remarkably, this car has never changed hands, remaining as an heirloom within the Harmsworth family for over 120 years. However, what is most important is that this is the only Mercedes 60 HP that has a known racing pedigree, and a winning one, at that! It is being offered for sale for the very first time in its history, and is among the most significant cars to ever come to public auction. Gooding & Company has never before offered a car from such long-standing single-family ownership and is honored to present one of the most valuable antique-era cars in existence. Presented from the family of one of England’s most influential figures of the modern era, with documented period competition history, this Mercedes-Simplex comes to market as one of the most historic, important, and groundbreaking automobiles from the dawn of motoring – setting the stage for a historic moment ready to unfold in front of the world at the upcoming Amelia Island Auctions this March.
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (Approximately between USD 2,200,000 – USD 2,800,000)
The iconic 300 SL Roadster needs no introduction, as it is one of the most coveted and revered sports cars ever produced. Gooding & Company is proud to offer one of the most original, well-preserved 300 SLs of any type in existence, chassis 198.042.7500348, for its upcoming Amelia Island Auctions. This extremely rare factory Rudge-wheel Roadster is one of less than 30 produced and is believed by the consignor to retain the vast majority of its original paint, along with its original interior, soft top, and countless other rarely seen details. This Roadster has had just three owners from new, and was retained by its second owner for a remarkable 54 years. In current ownership, the 300 SL received a painstakingly careful mechanical restoration undertaken by leading 300 SL specialists HK Engineering, who went to great lengths to preserve its original finishes in the engine compartment and other areas. The Roadster is resplendent in Silbergrau Metallic (Silver-Gray Metallic) with a Rot (Red Leather) interior and Schwarz (Black) soft top. The car is accompanied by an original set of Hepco-fitted luggage, along with manuals, a jack, tool kit, a second set of date-stamped Rudge wheels, a spare injection pump, and rare factory onboard parts kit. It also retains its matching-numbers engine, body, chassis, steering box, rear end, and front axles, per a copy of its Mercedes-Benz data card. The sheer number of this Roadster’s astonishing attributes make it an automobile of true historic import and extreme rarity. This singular Mercedes-Benz will impress anyone fortunate enough to see it, and a close inspection by even the most knowledgeable 300 SL enthusiast will be highly rewarded.
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing (Approximately between USD 1,600,000 – USD 1,800,000)
This fastidiously maintained 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing comes to Amelia Island with an exceptionally documented history from new, consisting of just two California owners from 1955 to 2023 before acquisition by the consignor. Its first owner was Glen Smith Harman, M.D., who regularly drove the car, accumulating over 130,000 miles by the end of 1967. The doctor exercised as much precision with the care of his beloved Gullwing as he did in his profession, keeping exceptional records of services and routine maintenance performed on the car throughout the decades. An engine rebuild was performed in 1973 by local 300 SL expert Rudy Geipel, and in 1986, the Gullwing was repainted in its original DB50 White. After Doctor Harman passed away in 1999, his wife Lillian carefully handpicked the car’s next caretaker, and in 2003, the Gullwing made its way into the hands of Gull Wing Group member and accomplished mechanic, Robert West. West owned the car for the next two decades, enjoying it sparingly on club events. Never before offered for public sale, this Gullwing is a true standout among the many examples that have previously graced the auction stage, retaining the essence of a well-maintained and lovingly cared-for 300 SL with a comprehensive, California-from-new provenance.
Elements of this article were referenced from Gooding & Company
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