A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing with an estimated value of between US$1.5 million and US$3 million will be auctioned next month. This Mercedes-Benz is thought to be the precise model that served as the inspiration for Andy Warhol’s last series, Cars.
Brabus, a German firm that provides high-performance supercar tuning services, is selling the “Warhol” Gullwing. According to Sotheby’s, the business purchased the Mercedes-Benz in 2020 from a private individual who had owned it for over 40 years. Sotheby’s will hold an online auction for the vehicle from November 10 to November 17 using its platform, Sotheby’s Sealed.
The automobile has the same chassis number (198.040.5500629) as the one that served as the model for Warhol’s Cars series, Brabus learned after purchasing it, according to Sotheby’s.
Hans Mayer, Warhol’s German gallerist, suggested to Mercedes-Benz officials that they work with the American pop artist on an automobile series in the 1980s. Warhol was already well-known for his series of paintings that included commonplace objects like Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and Brillo boxes. Mayer sent a book of sports cars to New York and requested Warhol to choose a picture of a car to turn it into an irresistible “appetiser” for the German carmaker.
To make a silkscreen print, Walhol chose a 300 SL. Mercedes-Benz ordered the Cars series in 1986 to commemorate its 100th anniversary after examining this work. Warhol would go on to complete 49 pieces, including 13 sketches and 36 canvases. The majority of these pieces are presently on display at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, thanks to a loan from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection.
The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing was assigned an A “with new vehicle character” grade by Classic Data, the top German classic automobile expert group, according to Sotheby’s. It is painted silver-gray and features a blue leather inside.