Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe Was a Production Race Car

Max Hoffman is credited with urging Mercedes Benz to create the 300 SL Gullwing Coupe. The Gullwing was unveiled at the New York International Motor Sports Show in February 1954, with production following that fall. The production model was based on the racing coupes, with changes to its appearance, as well as an addition of the Bosch direct fuel injection. The 300 SL also featured unique roof-hinged doors, giving rise to the nickname “Gullwing.” The 300 SL had a 2,996 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine that put out 215 horsepower. The engine was connected to a four-speed manual transmission. A coil-spring independent front suspension, with a coul-spring swing axle rear suspension and four-wheel drum brakes made for a sporty ride.

mercedes benz 300 sl front view

During the years of production, 1954 to 1957, only 1,400 300 SLs were produced. Nearly 80 percent of that number was sold in the US—proving that Mercedes Benz did well to listen to Hoffman. The 300 SLs were deemed the fastest production cars of its day. The car was designed by Daimler-Benz’s chief developing engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, who cut the weight of the car by adding a metal skeleton. Weight was further shaved by adding an aluminum hood, doors, and trunk lid, even with a main body of steel.

Bonham’s is currently offering a remarkably preserved 300 SL with only 58,700 miles on it. For a price, you can have the car that helped shape Mercedes Benz.

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