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Full Version: Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing
Dieselstation Car Forums > The Cool Wall > Legacy Cool Wall > Frozen
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Power: 190bhp to 240bhp
Torque: 203 lb/ft to 220lb/ft
Curb Weight: 2800lbs to 3050lbs
Drivetrain Layout: Front-engine / RWD
Engine: 3.0L Inline-6



QUOTE
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is a two-seat, closed sports car with characteristic gull-wing doors, and later, offered as an open roadster.

Built by Daimler-Benz AG and internally numbered W198, the road version of 1952 was based (somewhat loosely) on the company's highly successful competition-only sports car of 1950, the Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W194) which had less power, as it still had carburetors.

This model was suggested by Max Hoffman. Because it was intended for customers whose preferences were reported to Hoffman by dealers he supplied in the booming, post-war American market, it was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show—unlike previous models introduced at either the Frankfurt or Geneva shows. The 300SL was best known for both its distinctive gullwing or butterfly wing doors and for being the first-ever gasoline-powered car equipped with fuel injection directly into the combustion chamber. The gullwing version was available from March 1955 to 1957. In Mercedes-Benz fashion, the "300" referred to the engine's cylinder displacement, in this case, three liters. The "SL", as applied to a roadster, stood for "Sport Leicht" or "Sport Light."

More widely produced (25,881 units) and starting a year later was the similar looking 190SL with a 210hp 4cyl engine, available only as roadster (or with an additional hardtop, as Coupe Roadster). Production for both the 190SL and 300SL ended in 1963 when the 230SL was introduced.




QUOTE
The gullwing doors, hinged at the roof and so named because the open doors resembled a bird's outstretched wings, were implemented as such to accommodate for the car's tubular chassis, designed by DBAG's chief developing engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Part of the chassis passed through what would be the lower half of a standard door. This tubular chassis was a necessity, as the original car was designed solely for racing and needed to be as light as possible while still providing a high level of strength. This required the driver and any passengers to do some gymnastics to get in or out of the car, usually by sitting on and sliding across the wide door sill. A steering wheel with a tilt-away column made the process considerably easier.




QUOTE
It was Max Hoffman, Daimler-Benz's official importer in the USA, who convinced DBAG management in Stuttgart that a street version of the 300SL would be a commercial success, especially in the US. Hoffman's prediction was correct since more than 80% of the vehicle's total production of approximately 1400 units were sold in the US, making the Gullwing the first Mercedes-Benz which sold in bulk outside its home market. The 300SL is credited for changing the company's image in America from a manufacturer of solid, but staid, automobiles to that of a producer of sporty cars.

Built completely with steel except for the aluminium bonnet (hood), doors and boot (trunk), the 300SL could have been ordered with an all-aluminium outer skin, saving 80 kg (176 lb), but at tremendous added cost




Author's Take

I was never an honest fan of this car or the Mercedes of old so I don't really have an opinion on it. Obviously, I don't find it cool. Uncool vote.
infinity
On the fence over the looks but the car is such an automotive icon its at least cool.
clarkma5
Never cared for it. I guess that's not fair because this car has had 50 years of Mercedes making it look bad, but that's the viewpoint I come from.
PBB
Great looks for the time, innovative and record setting. Too much hype about being a collector car to be frozen though. The Aston Martin DB5 was hyped up due to it's James Bond connection, the Ferrari 275 on it's stunning looks. The 300SL is hyped as a car collector's plaything. Despite that , the 300SL still has enough merit on it's own to deserve a Cool.
tune
It's not great looking, but I think the Gullwings being a rare feature for cars, even these days, makes it cool.
dukenukem
The uniqueness of the styling makes its Frozen
midnightdorifto
QUOTE
It was Max Hoffman, Daimler-Benz's official importer in the USA, who convinced DBAG management in Stuttgart that a street version of the 300SL would be a commercial success, especially in the US. Hoffman's prediction was correct since more than 80% of the vehicle's total production of approximately 1400 units were sold in the US, making the Gullwing the first Mercedes-Benz which sold in bulk outside its home market.

Made me LOL a bit there...

And frozen. Makes a delightful sound.
Dr. Strangelove
Frozen!
bing5500
Wow...this is the first time I have seen people who didn't like the 300SL's style. Automatic frozen for me...just love to take one of these for a drive on the Pacific Coast Highway.
moe
Frozen. I didn't even have to think about it.
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