The modern “father” of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is Hans Kleissl. The best-known restorer of the Mercedes 300 SL founded HK Engineering in 1984 and is based in a renovated monastery.
For many Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is a dream. But what would it be like to have over 50 Mercedes SLs to restore at a time in a renovated monastery and not in a workshop?
Hans Kleissl’s story is fascinating. When he bought his first Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster in 1979 he didn’t know much about cars and was fooled. The chassis had been bent in an accident and he couldn’t find anyone to fix it. So the only solution was to repair it himself with the help of a local service.
So he got the idea to set up a company that would deal exclusively with restoring the 300 SL and started in the early 1980s with two mechanics.
Later, Kleissl became famous and is regarded as the number one specialist in restoring the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that won the title of sports car of the 20th century. He has earned this reputation not only for dealing almost exclusively with this model but also for having the best mechanics and maintaining a high standard of quality.
Kleissl not only loves classic cars but also historic buildings so after he started collecting more and more classic cars he looked for a historic building to set up his headquarters. After seeing several buildings in the Munich area he decided to choose a ruined former monastery in Polling which he has been restoring for ten years. So Kleissl followed the idea of historic vehicles in the right atmosphere.
Later, Kleissl expanded the building by constructing an entire complex that opened in 2019 after a 5-year restoration, which is today the headquarters of HK-Engineering Classics where events are held and showrooms are located.
There are times when there are more than 50 300 SL examples in HK-Engineering’s headquarters. Kleissl says that between 2013-2015 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL prices went through the roof and then those who bought the car just as an investment disappeared and only enthusiasts remained. That’s why it’s harder to sell a 300 SL today than in the past because customers place a high value on the originality and history of the model.
Kleissl says the strategy in restoring a 300 SL is to keep as many original components as possible. He also had an original marketing strategy. Instead of spending money on advertising, Kliessl decided to enter his Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster in historic race meetings. This was the perfect place where he could demonstrate the quality of his restorations.
Kleissl received numerous awards such as the award for the world’s best restoration company in 2014 and a few years later the Federal Medal for Monument Protection for his services in the restoration of Arendsee Castle in Brandenburg. And recently the State Office for the Preservation of Monuments in Bavaria awarded him the monument protection medal for the renovation of the old monastery brickworks in Polling.
At the moment, 13 Coupes and Roadsters are listed for sale on HK-Engineering.com, five of which are already sold.