The Special History Of The Mercedes 300 SL By Louis Krages

This beautiful Mercedes 300 SL Roadster from 1963 in white gray (DB158) with natural leather interior is one of only 210 vehicles produced with the particularly sought-after disc brakes and lighter aluminum engine block ex works and thus the highest development stage of the iconic 300 SL.

The Special History Of The Mercedes 300 SL By Louis Krages

The car is a very rare German first delivery to Mannheim (only 25 of the 210 vehicles were delivered in Germany) and this rare vehicle also has a very special owner history. The Roadster was last in the same ownership for over 25 years and there have only been 3 owners since 1977. One of these owners was the German racing driver John Winter, a former 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, whose real name was Louis Krages. At this point, we would like to take a brief look at this special gentleman driver’s career.

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The nation knew him by the name of John Winter and he appeared in the results lists of national motorsport since the 1970s and internationally since the 1980s. Louis Krages, whom the people of Bremen knew in his main profession as a timber merchant, which he really was, had inherited one of the most successful businesses in the Hanseatic city of Bremen in the post-war period from his father. The timber business “Louis Krages GmbH & Co.“ had a market value of more than 100 million marks at the time, and the parquet flooring from the Bremen-based company is still considered the first choice in the wood sector today. The company has since been sold and originally Louis Krages’ mother was not supposed to find out about his dangerous hobby, which is why he embarked on an international racing career under the synonym John Winter, culminating in victory with the Joest Porsche 956 over the favored Rothmans works Porsche in 1985 and the Lancia and Group 44 Jaguar. Whoever wins LeMans is shown in so many pictures all over the world that the double life could no longer be concealed. Louis Krages fulfilled his dream of being a successful racing driver on many international race tracks and even in the mid-90s he was still competing successfully in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM).

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However, his career as a racing driver came to an end when the company in Bremen slipped into the red and he was liable for this development with his personal assets and ultimately fought a battle against banks and creditors that he could no longer win. He finally emigrated penniless to Atlanta/USA and tried to build a new life for himself. On November 17, 2001, however, the sad news reached Germany that the Bremen businessman and successful racing driver had taken his own life.

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In 1997-98, the 300 SL Roadster was completely restored by the company Klatt – Oldtimer from Schneverdingen and then decommissioned and stored. It should be emphasized that the original leather interior of the car from 1963 still exists today. On behalf of the current owner, the vehicle was restored to its original color combination and extensively reworked at HK-Engineering from April 2022-August 2023.To this day, this 300 SL remains one of the most special vehicles in the history of the Mercedes 300 SL. The unique Roadster will be displayed at the Concours of Elegance at the Tegernsee in Germany from July 22-27, 2024.

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Absolute perfection combined with traditional craftmanship: HK-Engineering is the only company worldwide that is dedicated to the restoration and maintenance of Mercedes-Benz 300 SL cars. That is why the company is now regarded, not only, as a forerunner and pioneer in the industry worldwide but also as the embodiment of exceptional expertise in the 300 SL. During the last years HK-ENGINEERING has extended its sales offering to include classic cars of other makes.