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Paul O'Shea Mercedes 300SLS


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#1 philsmith

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 09:46

Does anyoe know which race this Paul O'Shea 300SLS was run in, it has a USAC badge on the side but I can find no info after a lot of searching!

Posted Image

also any pictures of the actual car, I only have pics of the CMC 1/24 model.

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#2 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 14:09

Mexico Americana...the endurance race?

#3 philsmith

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 14:22

I thought that it was a Carrera Pan-Americana car, but can find no evidence that it was,
Is the 'Mexico Americana...the endurance race' the same thing?

and what are all the numbers (#26 and the 074) decals all about?


#4 David M. Kane

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 14:29

Yes, it's the same thing. Didn't mean to butcher the correctness so badly.

#5 D-Type

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 15:26

That is most definitely not a Carrera Panamericana entry. Nothing fits.

The 300SL made its debut in the 1952 Carrera Panamericana with coupes and a single roadster driven by John Fitch. It was silver, not white and did not carry Mobilgas sponsorship. No Mercedes ran in the 1953 or 1954 (last) Carreras. The car pictured is not a team car, it's a production model: look at the eyebrows over the wheel openings and the headlamp shape. The production 300SL Gullwing was launched in 1955 and replaced by the Roadster in 1957. Advertising on that scale was not allowed in international races (other than the Carreara). The false headlamps didn't comply with Appendix C.

All this suggests to me that it was raced in US national racing. The USAC badge suggests one of their races rather than a SCCA one.

As I know very little about US racing I'm sorry I can't add anything positive.


edited for typos

Edited by D-Type, 29 November 2010 - 21:26.


#6 Frank S

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 16:43

Mobil... Mobil... Ring a a bell?

Mobilgas Economy Run,participant or course car? Just doesn't look like a racer to me.

#7 David McKinney

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 16:54

Paul O'Shea was, IIRC, twice SCCA national champion in the 1950s with a 300SL roadster running in the production classes
He also campaigned a racing version
The only USAC races I can think of him contesting OTTOMH were in that club's 1959 road racing championship, in which he drove a Sadler-Corvette, a Bocar, a D-type Jaguar and a Maserati 250F - but not a Mercedes

#8 David Birchall

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 17:07

O'Shea won several SCCA championships with this car as far as I know. The last time I saw it was at the Monterey Histyrics in about 1979 (?). It was entered by it's then owner and driven-slowly-by him in practice. my friend Peter Price was in the same race driving LT1, the super lightweight XK120 originally built for LeMans and later raced by Bob Berry. Peter had every expectation of winning the race and certainly did not expect any competition from this 300SL.
When the flag dropped things had obviously changed! The 300SL was being driven very competitively and Peter had his hands full with it and a Corvette fitted with an illegal engine. I was standing next to Henry N. Manney throughout the race and we were both impressed with the competitiveness of the driving of these front three. It became clearer during the race when the announcer blurted out that the 300SL was actually being driven by none other than Paul O'Shea who had been put in as a "ringer" at the last moment!
This was the year of the "Tribute to Mercedes Benz" and they had a crazy helicopter pilot-apparently ex-Vietnam gunship- who was at times a greater spectacle than the racing as he followed the lead cars in the camera- chopper flying backwards at 100 feet even through the Corkscrew.
The movie made from this filming is very special, for more reasons than the flying: Mercedes Benz could tolerate being beaten by a 5.7 litre Corvette but not by their arch rival Jaguar, consequently the movie shows the finish order as Corvette, 300SL, XK120. This is Bu** Sh**! I have the official results in front of me as I write this and also my own very strong recollections of the race; the 300SL came third after the 'Vette and the Jag....Shame on you Mercedes Benz!
David B

#9 humphries

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 17:17

Phil,

The 300SLS made its debut at Cumberland, 19 May, 1957 when Paul O'Shea finished 4th in the one hour main race, behind Carrol Shelby (Maserati 300S), Walt Hansgen (Jaguar D) and Chuck Wallace (Porsche 550RS).

John

#10 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 16 April 2006 - 23:04

Thought I recognized it...Rudy Koniczek, who lives just north of Victoria, B.C., Canada, restores 300SL's and had the 300SL convention in Victoria a few years ago...that car was at the event...built, owned, and driven by Mark Brown of Chicago, who runs it in retro rallies, etc.

http://img374.images...tconv2888hu.jpg

The model of the Paul O'Shea roadster is seen here:

http://www.cmc-model...&products_id=41

A couple of years ago, Rudy restored the '56 Paul O'Shea 300SL coupe, which has now gone to Calfornia. I had the pleasure of talking to Phil Hill about the car, and original owner George Tilp.

Vince Howlett, Victoria, B.C., Canada

#11 klemcoll

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 02:13

I admit, readily, that I do not know a lot about the O'Shea 300SLS cars (there were, I believe, two supplied for this program in the USA actually). I saw O'Shea run one or the other a couple of times back in 1957. The car(s) had to run as "modifieds" (ie: sports-racers) in SCCA because they did not meet the production specs. I have been told that the two cars were somewhat different, one being rather more special than the other.

Now, here comes the twist. At that time Studebaker was the MB importer for the USA. The special 300SLS cars were, I believe, entered by George Tilp who had run Ferraris, for the likes of Phil Hill, and various other cars in SCCA. At the end of the season, I have been told, the two cars were returned to South Bend, Indiana (the then home of Studebaker) from which they vanished. MB today says that they have no knowledge of what happened to these cars and that the only person who would have known was Rudi Uhlenhaut. It is my belief that any cars running today as 300SLS are not the O'Shea cars, but rather modern creations.

Perhaps this post will be provocative enough to bring forth more precise and acccurate information...

#12 James Lustman

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 02:59

Originally posted by raceannouncer2003
[B]Thought I recognized it...Rudy Koniczek, who lives just north of Victoria, B.C., Canada, restores 300SL's and had the 300SL convention in Victoria a few years ago...that car was at the event...built, owned, and driven by Mark Brown of Chicago, who runs it in retro rallies, etc.

The 074 Sticker over the rear tire is a Colorado Grand Sticker (the Grand is a 1000 mile rally we have here in Colorado). I knew I recognized the car but couldn't place the owner. Thank you for saving me the trouble of searching through my old route books for hours looking for the car.

#13 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 05:38

Found another picture of the Mark Brown 300SL here:

http://www.silversta..._b__racers_.htm

Vince Howlett, Victoria, B.C., Canada

#14 philsmith

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 08:27

Thanks for all the help, I'll go and do some searches for the Colarado Grand rally ;)

That also explains why the car has this huge rear light!

http://www.philsmith.../untitled16.bmp

#15 Tmeranda

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Posted 17 April 2006 - 16:54

When Paul started racing this car in the US in 1957 (I think) the convertable SL was not a legal production car as production has just started. He had to race it in the modified class against full out race cars. He did well aginst some world class drivers at the time (Hill, and Shelby).I can remember see photos of this car in Sports Car Graphic (late Car and Driver) when I was a teen ager and it hooked me on sports cars ever since.

#16 humphries

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Posted 18 April 2006 - 14:06

For those who are interested.

Following the race at Cumberland, O'Shea and the SLS appeared next at Lime Rock (9 June) and although they qualified on the front row they fell off the pace and finished 7th in the main race.

At Road America (23 June) the SLS was not in the running and presumably had a problem as it was classified 25th in the 38 lap main event.

The Roadster redeemed itself to some extent by winning at Watlkins Glen (6th July). In an 11 lap race O'Shea was 2nd behind Bob Holbert in a Porsche 1500RS but beat the Porsche in the main event, The Glen Classic (not a SCCA National race), to win by just 0.6 seconds.

At Marlboro (14 July) the SLS took 3rd place behind Walt Hansgen (McFee's D-type) and behind another, rather more potent, street-cum-racer, the XKSS of Bruce Kessler.

With the VIR, Danville, hosting its first National race (4 August), O'Shea was there and came home sixth in both a preliminary race and the main sports car event. Shelby in a mighty 450S Maserati was not surprisingly the winner of the main, in front of Walt in his Jag.

On 18 August at Montgomery O'Shea was 4th with Walt winning.

On 1st September, at Thompson, O'Shea was 2nd to Hansgen's D-type but in a later One Hour Race O'Shea collided with Gaston Andrey's Ferrari Mondial and both took five or six minutes to dig themselves out of a sand trap. After a pitstop O'Shea called it a day and retired the slightly crumpled SLS.

The big one, the Road America "500" (7 Sept), was the race Mercedes-Benz really wanted to win. Walter Cronkite and CBS were doing a live radio broadcast of the race; a first for Road America. O'Shea drove well and the SLS, as expected, had no problem with endurance but 4th was the best they could manage, four laps down on Phil Hill in a 3.8 Ferrari.

The classic Watkins Glen Grand Prix (21 Sept) saw O'Shea in third place behind Hansgen and that pesky Bob Holbert, who gave Porsche the satisfaction of beating Mercedes-Benz in this famous race. Mind you at Road America Ed Crawford in his 1500RS beat the SLS fair and square, two laps up.

At the inaugural Bridgehampton meeting (29 Sept) the SLS was a disappointing 7th.

And that was that as far as I know.

The SLS realistically could not have been expected to see off the Italian sports racers or the thoroughbred D-Types, but it was an interesting exercise and I wonder how much the car, or cars, were developed during the season. In photos the SLS had an aero screen and a roll-over bar but no headrest. There was also a small scuttle in front of the windscreen.

For publicity purposes, no doubt, the car appears to have always run with the number 30.

John

#17 David McKinney

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Posted 19 April 2006 - 20:58

Originally posted by humphries
At Marlboro (14 July) the SLS took 3rd place behind Walt Hansgen (McFee's D-type) and behind another, rather more potent, street-cum-racer, the XKSS of Bruce Kessler

The XKSS driver was Dick Kessler

#18 humphries

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 09:45

David

You are right. It was Richard Kessler from New York. An annoying slip! He had previously raced an XK120M.

Was Dick related in anyway to Bruce?

John

#19 David McKinney

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 11:12

Originally posted by humphries
David

You are right. It was Richard Kessler from New York. An annoying slip! He had previously raced an XK120M.

Was Dick related in anyway to Bruce?

John

I always presumed not - wasn't Bruce of the Californian persuasion?

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#20 humphries

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Posted 20 April 2006 - 17:24

David

Bruce Kessler's parents lived in L.A. and Lance Reventlow spent a lot of time at their home.

Nonetheless, in 1957 Bruce was also racing on the East Coast at places like Cumberland, Lime Rock and Bridghampton. Maybe he had family on both East and West Coasts?

John

#21 Rabcooper

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 14:14


Hello I owns 300 SLS O'Shea of CMC. The model is as good as new with certificate in 0064/1500! I come from Germany.

Greeting Rabcooper


#22 RA Historian

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 14:53

OK, let's clear up a couple things about Paul O'Shea and the Mercedes-Benz 300SL. First of all, O'Shea won two SCCA D Production championships, in 1955 and 1956, in a Mercedes-Benz 300-SL coupe. Then for 1957, as stated earlier on this thread, he drove a 300-SL roadster. It was a production roadster, mildly fettled for racing, that ran in the D Modified class because the 300-SL roadster had not as yet been homologated by the SCCA for production racing. Nonetheless, as listed earlier in a race by race rundown, O'Shea did quite well and won the class championship.

Now, this car was never known as the 300-SLS! It never had any designation other than 300-SL. Do not confuse it with a special being run out of California in the late 1950s by Chuck Porter. He had a Mercedes based car with a Chevrolet engine. It was clothed in a California made body that mimicked the 300-SLR body. He designated this special the 300-SLS, the second S standing for Scrap.

I cannot vouch for the authenticity of any car running today as being the O'Shea 300-SL roadster. All it takes is some paint, some decals, and a couple modifications to a 300-SL roadster and one has the one and only, all singing and dancing O'Shea car. Just like the Penske Camaros. Roger said once that he actually had only five or six such cars during the three years he ran Camaros in the late 1960s. When he was at Watkins Glen a few years back for a Mark Donohue tribute he was struck by the number of Sunoco Camaros that were present and made some remarks to the effect that he was amazed that he made so many.........

#23 Erik330

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 18:02

Originally posted by RA Historian
Now, this car was never known as the 300-SLS! It never had any designation other than 300-SL. Do not confuse it with a special being run out of California in the late 1950s by Chuck Porter. He had a Mercedes based car with a Chevrolet engine. It was clothed in a California made body that mimicked the 300-SLR body. He designated this special the 300-SLS, the second S standing for Scrap.

Correct.

#24 Frank S

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 18:12

Originally posted by RA Historian
Now, this car was never known as the 300-SLS! It never had any designation other than 300-SL. Do not confuse it with a special being run out of California in the late 1950s by Chuck Porter. He had a Mercedes based car with a Chevrolet engine. It was clothed in a California made body that mimicked the 300-SLR body. He designated this special the 300-SLS, the second S standing for Scrap.

As distinct from the Chuck Stevenson vehicle seen at Nos. 4 and 20 of 21 on this page ?

#25 Erik330

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 18:35

That photo is mislabeled, it is the Chuck Porter car. www.chuckportersbodyshop.com

#26 Frank S

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 18:56

Originally posted by Erik330
That photo is mislabeled, it is the Chuck Porter car. www.chuckportersbodyshop.com

I must have been confused by an entry list in the event program.

#27 Erik330

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 19:31

On the Porter website it says that he sold the car in 1959, is it possible that the entrant was the new owner and Stevenson the new driver? It's surely the same car.

Yep, see here: http://www.mercedes3....de/erfolge.htm

Stevenson at Riverside in 1960.

#28 RA Historian

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 01:15

While we are at it, I question whether that car shown in the first item on this thread has anything to do with Paul O'Shea. I am sure that there are some of you out there that can tell us the answer to this question. I never saw the O'Shea car run, but in all the b/w photos of the day it appears to me to have been a) silver and b) did not have a head rest. What are your recollections?

#29 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 04:31

Tom

The car shown in the first item on this thread has nothing to do with Paul O'Shea. Please see post 10, etc.

Vince H.

#30 tam999

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 06:56

Yes, the Stevenson car was the ex-Porter car under new ownership with Corvette power. It was later driven by Bill Krause (the only driver to win main events with it), Bob Edmison, and even Ken Miles. Peter Culkin was the last driver to race the car in California.

Here's a look at Miles in the car: (Scroll down to third photo)

http://www.tamsoldra...r...a Barbara 1

And Bob Edmison: (With lots of links)

http://www.tamsoldra.....l#Bob Edmison

And Peter Culkin:

http://www.tamsoldra...kin.html#Photo2

Tam McPartland

#31 RA Historian

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Posted 13 November 2006 - 12:47

Originally posted by raceannouncer2003
Tom

The car shown in the first item on this thread has nothing to do with Paul O'Shea. Please see post 10, etc.

Vince H.


Oh, yeah...... :

Thanks Vince, that answers that! A little scrolling would have answered the question, wouldn't it?!?

#32 Ralf Pickel

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 07:13

An interesting thread, because Mercedes Benz is often running a car in historic events, which is described as the Paul O´Shea 300 SLS. They have it entered in events like Ennstal-Classic, sometimes also accompanied by a 190 SLS ( also official D-B nomenclature ).
Mind you, there are quite a number of 300 SLS clones now run in Europe, if I do remember it rightly, they are all built in Italy, where there is somebody specialized in converting 300 SL roadsters in SLS. Of course, all clones are also entered in events as SLS, no mentioning of being clones / replicas.

#33 cabianca

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Posted 16 November 2006 - 23:36

There were two 300SL(S) Roadsters prepared by Mercedes for US racing. The team was run by George Tilp. The two serial numbers are known. Neither has ever surfaced, leading to two theories. One was that the cars were on loan, returned to Mercedes and perhaps returned to street spec, renumbered and sold. An offshoot to this is that Mercedes scrapped the cars. If the former is true, political correctness would cause Mercedes to claim the latter.

The second theory is that they were returned to street spec in the US and sold. I doubt this conjecture. Several years ago, I undertook an extensive and expensive search for the cars for a client. Using some police connections, I was able to search Mercedes registrations in several Eastern states, which would have been the logical place for them to end up if sold by MBNA or Studebaker (at one time the distributor). Neither number showed up as having ever been registered (licensed) in the Eastern US.

No Mercedes today claiming to be one of the roadsters bears either of the original serial numbers. The numbers were published in Silver Star magazine, by Scott Grundfors (spelling?), a noted US 300 SL restoration expert who retired a few years ago.

There is the odd chance that they are two barn finds waiting to happen.

#34 klemcoll

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Posted 17 November 2006 - 03:07

Correct. My understanding is that the two cars were returned to Studebaker (the then MB US importer) in South Bend, Indiana at the end of the 1957 season and were never seen again. One story was that they were stolen out of a transporter or a warehouse at Studebaker, but were that the case it is almost certain that they would have turned up by now. Just like Cabianca I investigated this story locally in Indiana with zero results. I also asked Günther Molter, for many years the head MB PR guy, to ask about them. He said that no one at MB Germany had any information and that they said that the only person who would have known the outcome was the late Rudi Uhlenhaut. My conclusion from this is that they were crushed at Studebaker some 50 years ago on MB's instructions.

#35 john abruzzo

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 18:39

As I recall, the cars were sent back to M-B and destroyed. My understanding was they were destroyed because they could not be used for anything other than racing. The bodies and chassis sections were made of magnesium which degrades over time. I was 15 at the time--my uncle was George Tilp.
john abruzzo@verizon.net

#36 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 21:52

John

Glad to see you on the forum. In 2004, Rudy Koniczek here in the Victoria area restored the ex-Paul O'Shea 300SL coupe that I believe belonged to your uncle, George Tilp. That year at Seattle, I was able to talk to Phil Hill about it, as I believe he co-drove the car with O'Shea on at least one occasion. I also have the recording "Pit Stop", from Nassau 1956, which has your uncle's voice on it. Maybe we should start a George Tilp thread?

Vince H.

#37 john abruzzo

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 16:44

Phil Hill and Paul O'Shea drove at Elkhart Lake. What color was the 300SL that was restored?
My uncles street car was Blue with Rudge knock-offs. Purchased in 1959[?] by Jim Hall--for the street.
At one time there were 5 racing 300SL coupes in George's company garage being maintained for privateers by factory racing mechanics.
And I never heard the 300SL Roadsters referred to as SLS's

#38 fbarrett

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Posted 04 April 2008 - 22:15

Originally posted by raceannouncer2003
Thought I recognized it...Rudy Koniczek, who lives just north of Victoria, B.C., Canada, restores 300SL's and had the 300SL convention in Victoria a few years ago...that car was at the event...built, owned, and driven by Mark Brown of Chicago, who runs it in retro rallies, etc.

Vince Howlett, Victoria, B.C., Canada


Vince:

If you have contact info for George Tilp, please send it to me. I'm working on an article on Paul O'Shea. Thanks.

#39 RA Historian

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 03:40

Originally posted by john abruzzo
And I never heard the 300SL Roadsters referred to as SLS's

They were not. That was just some confusion/myth/nonsense that has grown up over the years. As was stated by several earlier in this thread, there was a Mercedes based special raced by Chuck Porter on the west coast which he dubbed the Mercedes "SLS" with the 'S' standing for scrap. Over time, somehow or other, some have gotten it into their mind that the O'Shea cars were "SLS Mercedes". Pure nonsense. Never were.
Tom

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#40 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 05 April 2008 - 07:04

Originally posted by fbarrett


Vince:

If you have contact info for George Tilp, please send it to me. I'm working on an article on Paul O'Shea. Thanks.


Sorry, in post 10, it may sound like I talked to George Tilp. I did not. I talked to Phil Hill about him. Have you contacted George's nephew John Abruzzo? He put up posts 35 and 37 and kindly provided his email address.

I do have the book "Great Racing Drivers of the World" by Hans Tanner, which has an article on Paul O'Shea. There is also an article on him in the January 1958 West Coast Sports Car Journal.

Vince H.

#41 ZOOOM

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Posted 09 April 2008 - 19:13

Hi,
I was at the inagural race at Meadowdale Racecourse, just outside Chicago, in 1958. This was the race that
Chuck Daigh won over Reventlow in the Scarabs. Paul O'Shea ran the race in a 300 SL Coupe. I have several pictures of him on the course. I was 13 at the time and was using my best Brownie Starflash camera.
I'll see if I can find the pictures and post them....
ZOOOM

#42 Thomas300SL

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Posted 13 April 2008 - 19:22

From the information I have the cars were likely to have been given back to Mercedes. As the bodywork was made out of aluminium it would have been necessary to scrap the race body which would have been very prone to dents and rebody the car with a roadster steel body. Unfortunately the story of Mercedes junking the cars fits with the thinking in those days. My father worked for Mercedes at the time and it was very much how Mercedes thought. They would have not wanted such a fragile product to get into the market.

I know that the first 300 SL Gullwing coupe George Tilp raced was "on loan" from Mercedes of North America and it was delivered with 2 spare rear axels so that they could fit a new axel for each race depending on the type of circuit. The car won the 1955 SCCA championship with Paul O'Shea.

On 10-22-1955 Phil Hill and O'Shea shared the car at the 6 hour Torrey Pines race and came first in class D and 2nd overall.

This car was converted at the end of the 56 season to an opentop racer with a SCCA spec rollbar and the front resembling a SLR. They were certainly not shy in those days and cut the roof off. The quality of the workmanship however was excellant. Whoever did the work knoew what they were doing The car to my knowledge (I have not found any race entries for it for 1957) was not raced in 57 by the Tilp team, but instead they entered the 2 SLS. (We are trying to find out if Mercedes stiplated that the sls based on the new roadster was a better proposition)

The car was sold to Cameron Argetsinger (Watkins Glen founder) who later sold it to Mark Derish a New York collector and also owner of numerous vintage ferrari.

Does anyone have any further info on the Tilp O'Shea effort. I have pretty complete data for the 55 season with references to the chassis number, but for 56 the data is less available.

What I do have is:

The car was entered into the Sebring 12 hours 3-24-1956 with the number 21 chassis number confirmed. Paul O'Shea and Richard Thompson were to share the car but did not start due to technical problems.

On 9-9-1956 the car was raced in road Atlanta with Paul O'Shea and Phill Hill Ist in class and 8th Overall.

Any help or info would be fantastic.


best regards

Thomas

#43 RA Historian

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 01:24

Originally posted by Thomas300SL
On 9-9-1956 the car was raced in road Atlanta with Paul O'Shea and Phill Hill Ist in class and 8th Overall.

Errrrr....wouldn't that be Road America?

#44 cabianca

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Posted 14 April 2008 - 15:11

Thomas,
You have asked for information regarding what you are calling the Argetsinger car. The Argetsinger car was a coupe, not a roadster. It definitely was one of the two 1956 Tilp/O'Shea SCCA racers, but it was not converted to a roadster before or during Argetsinger's ownership. IF a roadster has a serial number that can be traced to Argetsinger ownership (which I doubt), it was most likely converted to a roadster out of period.

#45 RA Historian

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 00:49

Cabianca is correct. Cameron Argetsinger bought one of the two 1956 300-SL coupes from Mercedes-Benz after the season. He drove it for some years before selling it on. It was never a roadster and not the car referred to above as having been converted to a roadster with a new nose at the time of Cameron;s ownership. Interestingly enough, the chap who bought the car from Cameron comprehensively wrecked it just a few miles down the road after taking ownership! The car lay dormant an unrepaired in a shop in New York for many years following this, as confirmed by Michael. Perhaps after that, in a rebuild......

This is from an e mail exchange I had today with Michael Argetsinger. Further, Michael recalls seeing the other 300-SL in a garage on Vancouver Island a few years ago and it too is a coupe. so, is the car in question here the wrecked one rebuilt several years later, or an entirely different car?

#46 fbarrett

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:35

Friends:

For more information on the two factory-built 300SLS race cars, see Jurgen Lewandowski's book, Mercedes-Benz 300SL. There's a detailed description of the cars and their preparation on page 163 and elsewhere. The two cars were finished in late March 1957 and weighed 743-lb less than the production version.

According to correspondence mentioned there, between one Viktor Gross (DBAG's US race manager) and Alfred Neubauer, the two cars were sold in the US at the end of the 1957 season for $5,000 and $6,000 then disappeared. Karl Ludvigsen's book Mercedes-Benz, Quicksilver Century describes the cars in even more detail (pages 310-313) and agrees on their disappearance.

I've heard several rumors of the fates of these two cars, none of which are worth repeating here. Somewhere I recall seeing their chassis numbers, possibly in an article in The Star, the magazine of the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, and when I have a minute I'll see if I can find them. Meanwhile, happy hunting!

Frank

#47 fbarrett

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 01:46

Friends:

One more thing: the two Tilp/O'Shea 300SLS race cars may well have been based in northern New Jersey, near Daimler-Benz North America's then-headquarters, rather than in South Bend with Studebaker. Coincidentally, when Mercedes-Benz of North America built its headquarters office in Montvale in the mid-1960s, they bought part of the Tilp Orchards property. Does anyone know for a fact where the Tilp team was based?

Frank

#48 cabianca

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Posted 15 April 2008 - 03:30

As stated in this thread earlier, the two O'Shea 57 roadsters' serial numbers were published in a Star article by Scott Grundfors, a well-known SL restorer of the 70s and 80s. The fact that every exotic broker in the world has been looking for them since and they have not surfaced, makes me doubt that they were sold as street cars. As a searcher myself, I've long ago learned to never say never, so perhaps they are barn finds waiting to happen. My guess is still the crusher because they were worthless as race cars (their class, D Modified, was the provence of the 250 Testa Rossas in 1958) and converting them back to street configuration didn't leave a lot of margin if done right. A used up race car requires everything to be new. The question is, where were they crushed.

#49 RA Historian

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 02:07

Originally posted by fbarrett
Friends:the two Tilp/O'Shea 300SLS race cars

And once again, as has been pointed out by several posters, they are not and never were designated SLS!

#50 lanciaman

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Posted 16 April 2008 - 11:39

"At that time Studebaker was the MB importer for the USA. The special 300SLS cars were, I believe, entered by George Tilp who had run Ferraris, for the likes of Phil Hill, and various other cars in SCCA. At the end of the season, I have been told, the two cars were returned to South Bend, Indiana (the then home of Studebaker) from which they vanished."

In 1957 I was present at the M-B annual owners meeting at the Studebaker Test Track. (I was a South Bender, son of a newspaper editor and guest of Stude's PR director). I was dumbstruck at the collection of privately-owned Benzes that showed up. Paul O'Shea was giving rides around the high-bank oval in a gullwing, so I took advantage of the opportunity. As I'd just gotten my driver's license, any motoring over 75 miles an hour seemed worth remembering. (A year later the same PR director came by our family home to have a beer or two with my father, and as I was suitably admiring the new red 300SL roadster he'd parked in front of our house, he gave me the keys and told me to enjoy myself. God bless you, Red Lockwood.)

The executive parking lot across the street from Stude's administration building was on our route home from downtown South Bend, and it was always worth a long gander to see what foreign makes might be parked there. (This was the mid to late 1950s, when the sight of a little Alfa Romeo or Arnolt Bristol or Arnolt MG or even a TF fulfilled your day. When the next door neighbor came home with a 190SL, it was a momentous occasion and rides were given)

South Bend was the first (and maybe only) city in America to have a fleet of Benz diesel cabs, 180 or 190Ds as I recall, with their lumpy little turn lights mounted on the front fender just ahead of the winshield pillar. The cab fleet owner proudly imported a Ghia Chrysler Imperial, an immensely long car with mouton carpeting. In those days when a novel piece of automotive machinery showed up, dads and kids went to look.

Many years later I did some promotional work for Avanti and spent time in the crumbling Studebaker works buildings, but that has nothing to do with this bit.