This stunning 1958 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was the personal car of Rudolf ‘Rudi’ Caracciola, who had been the dominant European racing driver in the pre-war period. Having won the Mille Miglia driving a SSKL in 1931, as well as several European championships, ‘the Rainmaster’ had since become a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz.
He received the factory demonstrator 300SL on October 28, 1958, and used the already iconic model extensively for demonstration to potential customers, mainly NATO troops stationed throughout Europe, until his passing in September 1959.
The 300SL incorporated a space frame and the first four-stroke directly injected engine in a car. Caracciola’s example was the second model to be delivered from the factory equipped with a soft-top and factory hardtop, known as a Roadster/Coupé. It’s the only one in this colour combination – ivory (code DB608) with a red hardtop (code DB 534) and dark red leather interior (code 1079). Per the build/delivery sheet, it was ordered as ‘Vorführwagen für Herrn Caracciola’: Demonstrator for Mr. Caracciola.
The car remains gloriously unrestored, having received just one repaint over the years. The interior, engine, axles and gearbox remain widely original.