If you always wanted to have one of the world's most recognizable cars but couldn't stand that ancient 1950s engine and transmission, then you should feel very lucky: RM Auctions is offering a 1954 Mercedes 300 SL that was equipped in house by AMG special vehicles with the firepower of a R129 Mercedes SL 60 AMG.
It is incredible how far money will get you in life. It sometimes will even make the most famous car makers reconsider their model offerings and build you exactly what you ask for. The probably best example for that is the whole royal family of Brunei. If you can get Ferrari to build you a 4 door Sedan, you are likely to get every other dream car built, no matter how insane it might seem.
That's exactly what happened here. Mind you, the AMG engineers never were known to be some of the calm, relaxed and sane minded people. 1200NM engines that break gearboxes? Hell yeah. 6.2L V8 in a C-Class when the competition runs a 4.2 liter? Sure thing.So one day the Sultan of Brunei showed up in Affalterbach and pitched them an idea: why don't we take the iconic 300 SL but throw out the six cylinder and replace it with the modern SL powertrain – a six liter V8 that makes a healthy 380 horsepower and 480NM of torque, mated to an 4 speed automatic transmission (No manual bonus points)? And while we are at it – a new rear axle (a R129 piece too) with Bilstein components and modern brakes all around would be of help to make the old Merc somewhat driveable when it tops out at electronically limited 250 kp/h.
After all the mechanical modifications were thought of, AMG went on to work on the rest of the car. You know, just to match the modern firepower. New Recaro seats were custom made and installed, along with a new upholstery for the cabin. The mighty SL now also features a modern A/C unit and a powerful audio system that has a 6 CD selector or, if that is too 2004 for you, iPod connectivity.While all of the above has been more or less tastefully integrated into the car's cabin, there is the elephant in the room that everyone will notice first: the bloody 90s SL steering wheel. What the heck. It is neither old enough to look like the factory option, nor is it a modern piece that doesn't look completely out of place if reupholstered with the right leather. I am thinking of an SLK wheel.
Also completely out of place: the wheels. Understandably, the AMG engineers didn't want to compromise the car's new suspension setup with old tires/rims, and therefore threw a modern sized combination on the car. But still, my brain itches when I see the modern five spoke alloys against the classic body.
The question of the questions I ask you is this: Nice Price or Crack Pipe? RM Auctions estimates a sum between 740 and 940 thousand euros if you want to add it to your stable. With stock 300SL prices close to the 1.5 million mark, it seems reasonably priced, considering that it is in excellent condition (500km driven since the AMG conversion) and that it's super rare. Eleven cars were transformed, of which 5 went to Brunei and consequently are not to be seen again, ever. That leaves this particular vehicle as one of 6 non-Brunei cars.
What is the Oppo Opinion on this one? Super cool or a terrible case of blasphemy? I myself would totally rock it with a different steering wheel.