A Gullwing for the gullible


   THE STORY OF Cuba's decaying old Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe lives on. For the latest chapter, we can thank a New Hampshire prankster who last week listed the Gullwing for sale on Craiglist.
   Under the heading "Attention scrappers," the purported vendor wrote: "I have a rusty old Mercedes to get rid of. No engine, Has doors that open to the top. Glass is good."
   And just to make sure his ad got noticed, the prankster tossed in a photo of the Cuban Gullwing taken several years ago by British writer Michael E. Ware.
   Though taken down almost immediately, the listing still caught the attention of BarnFinds.com, which looked at the offer with equal parts suspicion and wistfulness. "If this is the real deal, it would be the find of the century!" said the website.
   Sorry, BarnFinds, but you were right to be sceptical.
 
University of Miami Libraries. Cuban Heritage Collection,
Ramiro A. Fernández Collection
 A couple of other Gullwing notes:
What might be the Cuban 300SL in its early years can be seen in a photo of a 1950s-era Havana road race that is part of the University of Miami's Cuban Heritage Collection. In the shot, the two-tone No. 24 Mercedes coupe is drifting around a corner ahead of an Austin Healey. At least two Gullwings are known to have raced in Cuba: one, driven by Modesto Bolanos, bore the name of its sponsor, tobacco maker Trinidad Y Hermano; the other – this one? – was driven by Santiago “Chaquito” González.
According to a post I read on a forum (sorry, but I've lost the link), someone inspected the Cuban Gullwing and reported that it has been stripped of all its manufacturer's identification numbers. If that's true, it means there could be a bogus 300SL out there somewhere, assembled from spare parts and fabricated bits and registered under the Cuban car's VIN. I bet it's in New Hampshire.



Comments

tonyhavana said…
The Gullible Wing.....great word play!
I have read a few stories about this including one by a renowned auto photographer, the consensus seems to be that it does exist although in a horrible state.
What is your opinion does the car exist in Havana, I would imagine that with this much attention the owner should by now have moved it indoors to somewhere safe to begin a restoration.
Caristas said…
@ Tony: thanks!
@ Havana Discovery Tours: I haven't seen it myself, but I've spoken to two people who have, so I'm confident it does exist (at least until it completely rusts away). Not sure where you would start with a restoration, though ...

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