DESCRIPTION1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing VIN: 4500079 45,687 original miles One Owner Highly Optioned Numbers Matching This Gullwing is one of a pair of one-owner, low mileage, original 300SL's recently acquired by Canepa. To tell the story of one is to tell the story of both cars. In 1954 Leopold Poldi Bentley was the visionary importer of Mercedes-Benz cars into Western Canada. Akin to Max Hoffman in New York he saw the value of bringing these extraordinary cars to North America. An Austrian by birth, he fled Vienna with his family in 1938 and settled in British Columbia. He changed his name from Leopold Bloch-Bauer and founded a furniture and paneling veneer company called Pacific Veneer, that later became Canfor Corporation, the world's largest exporter of softwood lumber. Having grown up with the Silver Arrows and legendary prewar Mercedes cars, he saw a market for these extraordinary cars in the growing metropolis of Vancouver. Using his escalating lumber fortune he put his money where his mouth was and ordered a fully loaded silver on red 1954 300SL. Optioned with everything but Rudge wheels (he had never seen them on a car so he opted for the stock wheels) he set about using the car to convert the people of Western Canada into Mercedes enthusiasts. Used solely as a factory demonstrator the Gullwing did just that, and Poldi's new company, Mercedes-Benz Distributor West Ltd., opened on West Georgia Street in Vancouver. The year was now 1956 and 0079 had done its duty, and was due for its first owner. That first owner took the car to his summer home in Western Canada, and there it stayed for over 50 years. He drove it sparingly, but he must have enjoyed it immensely since in 1959 he purchased a second 300SL for his wife. This time it was a 1957 Roadster. Here the story returns to Poldi once again. He ordered the Roadster in 1957 (this time with the Rudge wheels) as his next demonstrator. Once the car had accomplish the task of showing his clients the stunning Roadster body Poldi put the car up for sale in 1959. Seeing a great opportunity to own a pair of 300SL's the Gullwing's owner returned to Poldi's dealership and purchased the car. The silver on red Roadster was fully loaded just like the Gullwing, coming with factory luggage, hardtop, and a Nardi steering wheel. This time Poldi didn't miss the chance to add the Rudge wheels. This addition makes it one of only 28 Roadsters ever fitting with them from the factory. The service manual for the Roadster shows limited use through the 60's with mileage only reaching 23108 by 1969. In the next 20 years the car would only cover another 7000 miles. Service records show 30165 miles as of August of 1989. In the early 90's the care of both cars was entrusted to noted 300 SL restorer Rudi Koniczek and his team at Rudi and Company in Vancouver BC. From that day to this they have maintained both cars in exce ...
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