October 16, 2014 @ 06:22 PM

Legends and Legacies: Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

Let's take a look back to the 1950s, the most beautiful car Mercedes-Benz ever created. By Jerrica Leong


(image source: basf.com)
Mercedes-Benz took over the world with the spectacular launch of the Mercedes AMG GTS. It was the most talked about car launch of the month with live-streaming all over the world and F1 driver Nico Rosberg driving the car into the destination. Only the entrance of the Mercedes coup at the Paris Motor Show could rival that launch.

 
But that got me thinking, what was the last car that could rival the GT’s looks that rolled out of the Mercedes factory? The answer came easily, even a non-petrolhead like myself has seen and heard of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL.
 
This car is a race car for the streets. This car was first introduced in New York City at the 1954 Auto Show. The two-seater closed door version of the 300 SL is road model of the Daimler-Benz’s hugely successful racing car of the same name. It was nicknamed “Gullwing” thanks to the doors that flip upwards.
 
It started the trend of direct fuel injection engines in road-going cars, a feat that even its racing predecessors did not have. The rear wheel drive car has a body made of most steel with an aluminium bonnet that hides a 3-litre naturally aspirated dry-sumped six cylinder engine. The engine had to be tilted at an angle to fit into the Gullwing’s remarkably flat bonnet!

(image source: carmodelsworld.com)
Buyers can choose the axle ratio settings on their Gullwings. The cars can go up to speeds as fast as 249kph depending on the axle ratio. Although most records state that the Gullwing only has a topspeed of 217kph. That’s not all they can choose, the Gullwing has a kerb weight of 1293kg that can be lighten when owners choose to buy the full aluminium body. It’s a pick and match game when it comes to purchasing the Gullwing.
 
Despite the gull-wing doors, the 300SL has got high sills that make climbing into the car a bother. The reason why the car has got these unique doors is thanks to the unique design that has half the chassis passed through what would be the lower half of a standard door making it impossible to install them.
 
Once inside the ergonomics in the car more than make up for the bothersome doors. There were description that the Gullwing has got an interior that was years ahead of its time. Just like the rest of the car.

(image source: carmodelsworld.com)
Presently, before the arrival of the AMG GT and GTS, we have the SLS AMG. The SLS AMG bares a lot of resemblance with the 300 SL but the SLS is only the spiritual successor of the 300 SL and not a new generation of the car.
 
With the low production numbers of the 300 SL, the car is considered one of the most collectible Mercedes-Benz models with prices ranging from $700,000 and upwards!
 

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