Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

In February 1954, the 300 SL “Gullwing” makes its debut at the International Motor Sport Show in New York.

This high-powered sports car is based on the legendary racing car from the 1952 season. A lightweight, torsionally rigid space frame carries the engine, transmission and axles. As in the racing version, however, there is no additional space for conventional doors, and the gullwings thus become the unmistakable characteristic feature of the 300 SL (model series W 198).

In other respects, too, the “Gullwing” is a true source of innovation: it is the world’s first series-produced passenger car powered by a four-stroke engine with petrol injection. This results in an increase not only in efficiency, but also in engine power, at 215 hp (158 kW), 20 percent higher than in the racing version with its carburettor, enabling it to reach a top speed of up to 250 km/h. This makes the 300 SL the fastest series-produced car of its age and the dream sports car of the 1950s.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gullwing” included the model series W 198 I, from 1954 to 1957. Some key facts and figures include an in-line six-cylinder engine developing 158 kW, petrol direct injection, lattice frame, top speed up to 260 km/h, and 1,400 units produced.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2009 at the Battersea Evolution, London and in January of 2011 at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, Phoenix, Arizona.

Sources: Mercedes-benz press; RM Auctions and Barrett-Jackson

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