Mercedes-Benz 1961 300SL roadster and 1964 Model 318 transporter owned by Peter Nettesheim
WHAT MAKES THEM INTERESTING
The iconic Mercedes 300 SL coupes and roadsters of 1954-63 were race-ready machines with exotic technology far ahead of the times. Today, they generate excitement whenever they appear at an auction or on a car show field. Nettesheim kicks things up a few notches by displaying his ’61 atop an ultra-rare vintage Mercedes transporter. It’s a natural step for someone whose father launched the country’s first Mercedes truck dealership and who is now the brand’s Long Island truck distributor. “It’s part of my heritage,” he says. “This is something that enabled me to grow and to be able to afford the collection that I enjoy.” His private Huntington, New York museum also houses BMW cars and the world’s largest collection of vintage BMW motorcycles. He says he’s always looking to acquire more.
HOW LONG HE’S OWNED THEM
The 300SL was bought by his late father about 50 years ago and he’s owned the transporter since 2016.
WHERE HE FOUND THEM
The roadster was acquired from a Huntington doctor and the transporter was found in the northern German town of Flensburg after it ended service at a French garage.
Nettesheim says that, except for new paint several decades ago, the 300SL is all-original with less than 40,000 miles. The transporter had been restored. “Everything was thoroughly done on the truck,” he says, “but there were some details that I thought needed to be done, particularly the skirts, the tool boxes, the carrier for the ramps, the polishing of the deck and the repainting.”
TIPS FOR OWNERS
“If you’re looking for something rare and unusual that’s European,” he advises, “you need to go where the vehicles were originally sold . . . and that’s in Europe. In my BMW collection, where I have every model of motorcycle from 1923 up until 1970 and then another 35 or so more from 1970 and up, every one of those early BMWs I bought in Europe.”
Nettesheim estimates the roadster-transporter combination is worth $1.8 million to $2 million.
THE BOTTOM LINE
“Every time I’m in it,” he says of the 300SL, “it reminds me of my dad. Inside, you’re a wreck, because you’ve got something that’s so valuable that you have to be careful. I’m not talking about being careful in terms of not driving too fast or bad road conditions, but careful mechanically. You don’t want to rev it out and miss a shift and break a gear.”