Category Archives: 1950s Classic Cars

Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

The Gullwing Mercedes-Benz 300SL is one of the most famous classic sports cars and it’s incredible to think that it nearly didn’t happen.

The car marks the revival of the Mercedes brand as a desirable sports car. After the end of World War 2, Mercedes had to rebuild and the number of cars produced was tiny in the first few years when they concentrated on saloons.

mercedes 300 sl gullwing
The gullwing doors of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL coupe – attribution

What You’ll Find On This Page

  • Details about the design, development and specification of the car
  • Motoring videos of the car
  • The role of the car in popular culture
  • Details of the diecast models of the car

Design, Development And Specification Of The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupe

The W194 300SL had been developed by chief developing engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut as a special light weight car for racing. In 1952 it won the 24 hour Le Mans race and was second and fourth in the Mille Miglia.

New York dealer Max Hoffman persuaded Mercedes-Benz to produce a road going version of the car and, in the end, more than 1,000 of the 1,400 produced were sold in America.

As well as the gull wing doors, where were needed to help drivers get in and out of such a low car. Even then, it wasn’t easy to climb in or out.

it also had the first commercial use of fuel-injection.

The coup√© was produced between 1954 and 1957 and it was replaced by the 300SL roadster which was made until 1963. I’ll look at the Touring convertible in another post.

For a time, the Gullwing 300sl was the fastest car in the world thanks to 3.0 litre straight six engine producing about 212hp and the car’s good aerodynamics.

Dimensions:

  • Length 4,520 mm (178.0 in)
  • Width 1,790 mm (70.5 in)
  • Height 1,300 mm (51.2 in)
  • Wheelbase 2,400 mm (94.5 in)
  • Curb weight 1,093 kg (2,410 lb)

Motoring Videos Of The Car

The Car In Popular Culture

It’s often appeared in films and TV without making one iconic statement – see IMCDB

Models Of The Mercedes-Benze 300SL

I have seen the following scale models offered for sale:

  • 1:18 – Bburago
  • 1:18 – Kyosho
  • 1:18 – Minichamps
  • 1:24 – Bburago
  • 1:36 – Kinsmart
  • 1:43 – Ixo
  • 1:43 – RBA Collectables
  • 1:43 – White Box

I’ve made it easy for you to check what models are available at what price from these websites:

eBay

Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk

Collectable Diecast – a specialist model retailer in America

Please check the search results carefully and change the criteria if necessary.

For the 1:18 scale models, Bburago is at the low end and Minichamps is mid range. Kyosho are normally considered to be a premium quality model but this model is one of their oldest.

BBurago version of the 300SL Gullwing
BBurago version of the 300SL Gullwing

 

Minichamps version of the Mercedes 300SL
Minichamps version of the Mercedes 300SL

These two photographs show an unusual design feature of the car. It has an “eye-brow” over the wheels. It’s debateable with this gave it an aerodynamic advantage as it seperated airflow into upper and lower or whether it was just an unusual design feature.

I will be looking at both of these and the Kyosho in more detail in future articles.

Is The 300SL Gullwing One Of The Sexiest Cars Ever Made?

It has been officially recognised as the fastest car in the world in the early 1950s, it’s good looking and the gullwing doors give it an extra wow factor.

What are the sexiest cars from 1945 to 1959? Vote for your FIVE favourites. (Blue links take you to detailed pages)

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