Luxury Cars – Looking Back At The Mercedes SL 300 Gullwing
Between 1954 and 1957, german automakers, Mercedes-Benz built a car that was well ahead of its time. Dubbed the greatest car of the 50s, the Mercedes SL 300 Gullwing was a thing of beauty, style, and class.
This stylish Mercedes car was super fast, technologically ahead, and its exterior is a thing of beauty and solidity. An iconic upward swinging door and its roadster and Gullwing coupe gave this car popularity in the 50s.
It had the unmissable shape of seagulls’ wings when the upward swinging doors were opened hence the nickname Gullwing. A car that cemented Mercedes’ future as a giant in the industry and inspired the making of future cars like the SLS AMG Supercar.
More than 50 years later, we look back at the Mercedes SL 300 Gullwing.
From Sports Car To Commercial Coupe
Mercedes-Benz’s SL 300 better features were hugely inspired by those of racing cars after the war. The 300 SL W194 series finished first and second in the 24 Hours of Le Mans of 1952.
Importer Maximilian Hoffman who helped bring the Porsche 356 speedster to life, is to be thanked for suggesting the commercial creation of “the greatest sports car made.” It was indeed huge for the automakers better known for producing mainly commercial vehicles at that time.
In 1999, it was voted the best sports car of the century. The Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing is one of the rarest cars ever made, with only around 3,258 existing around the world.
The Gullwing’s Interior Features
Surely the car dubbed one of the most beautiful cars in the world is as beautiful outside as it is inside. And truly it is.
Sliding upward the iconic and sleek doors of the 300 SL reveal the definition of well sculptured interior details.
The commercially sold, road version of the Gullwing interior features very fine upholstery, typical of Mercedes luxury cars. Initially, the standard for the seats was checkered pattern seat fabrics.
But the popular choice of leather upholstery meant Mercedes-Benz stuck with it as a standard for Roadster. The steering wheel had the flexibility of being released and tilted downwards to make entering the car easier.
A dashboard with aluminum trim houses the tachometer, speedometer, and other gauges with the steering in the center. However, storage space was very limited for the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The tube-like frame of this coupe made the storage capacity small.
The only storage space for things like luggage was behind the seats. Only the fuel tank and spare wheel could fit in the trunk.
With an overall length of 178 inches and a breadth of 70 inches, the Mercedes 300 SL has a long hood. It comes with round headlights and a front grill, with the Mercedes Benz star in the middle. In the rear, you get rectangular tail lights along with turn signals and brake lights.
The silver-grey look of the Gullwing was its standard color when it was released. Although other colors could be requested, they came at an additional expense.
The body is mostly steel made while parts like the dashboard, boot and bonnet lid, door, and sill skins were made of aluminum.
Just How Fast Can The Mercedes SL 300 Go?
Aside from its beautiful aesthetics, the Gullwing’s power came from its engine, the same used in limousines and sedans of the 300 series. And by slanting some 50 degrees to the left, its 3 liters inline 6 cylinders, the car’s center of gravity was pushed closer to the ground.
In a time when 100 mph was considered an exaggeration, Mercedes SL 300 could clock 130 mph. 8.8 seconds was all it needed then to accelerate 0-60 mph showing that this beast of a car was well ahead of its time.
For those who have driven the Gullwing, its speed limit is not a matter of traffic or road conditions but mechanical factors.
Engine And Performance Of The Gullwing
The engine type of the Mercedes SL 300 is a 3.0-Liter In-Line 6-Cylinder that comes with Bosch Fuel Injection. It carries an engine horsepower (hp) of 215 Hp at 5,800 revolutions per minute (rpm).
All these were pretty impressive for a car in the 1950s working with 6 cylinders. The gullwing came with a rear-wheel-drive style and four-speed manual transmission type.
How Much Does A Gullwing Cost Today?
If you’re looking to buy one, only around 1,400 Mercedes-Benz SL 300 gullwing were made between 1954 and 1957. Nowadays you can find some of the Gullwings at auctions selling for $1.4 million or higher, making it one of the rare cars around.
This is a fair price for those who appreciate the rich history of class and solidity the car embodies. Although production stopped as far back as 1957, Mercedes-Benz SL 300 will keep getting higher auction prices because of its value and esteem.
The Mercedes Benz SL 300 is no doubt one of the finest and most expensive sedans ever made. It oozes class, speed, and innovation from a time when all of these hardly went hand-in-hand in the automotive industry. So, if you’re looking to get behind the wheel of a cool car with Gullwing doors, the Mercedes SL 300 would be a great start.
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