Mercedes-benz 300sl gullwing – 1954′

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The Mercedes-Benz 300SL (W198) was produced as a two-seat sports gullwinged coupe from 1954-1957, and roadster from 1957-1963. It was a direct descendant to the 1952, W194 racer, notably driven by two greats, Juan Manuel Fangio and Stirling Moss, to victory at 24Hours of LeMans, Mille Miglia and the Nürburgring.

The design objective was to make the car as light and streamlined as possible, to enable a greater top speed and quicker acceleration. To achieve this it featured a curvaceous welded to a lightweight tubular frame, and to further reduce weight, its bonnet, doors, dashboard and boot lid were made of aluminium. This paired with a 240 hp 3.0L overhead cam straight-six made it the fastest production car of its time, 163 mph.

The interior is definitive of the era. Three checkered pattern fabric were available for the seats, however most customers chose the optional leather upholstery. Due to an unusually high sill, getting in and out of the car proved to be quite problematic. To get around this, the steering wheel could be released and pivoted 90 degrees away from the dashboard, this made the entry and exit less laborious, but still not easy.

The standard 300SL price in the US for the coupe was $6280, and the roadster was $10950, accounting for inflation around £49000 and £101,000. The 60% jump in price between the two versions was only accountable for the US, as European markets saw only a 10% jump between the two models. This is put down to increased transatlantic shipping costs and the US being classed as the target market by Mercedes. Like today, optional extras can quickly escalate the cost.

OptionPrice (USD)
Colour other than metallic silver65
Bumper guards (4)40
Windscreen washers18
Becker radio264
Leather upholstery for Coupe165
Fitted luggage for Roadster85
Crated shipment from factory80
Competition springs (4)88
Competition front shock absorbers (2)41
Competition rear shock absorbers (2)85
Competition camshaft73
Rudge wheels (5)350
Optional ring and pinion gears, per set80
Hardtop for Roadster178


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