Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
For 1957, however, Mercedes introduced the 300 SL Roadster at Geneva, stating, “The 300 SL Roadster is our response to the demand in many countries for a particularly fast, comfortable, open sports car. This automobile offers a wide range of technical achievements for even greater driving safety and motoring comfort as well as a high standard of practical everyday value for touring in real style.” Perhaps Mercedes had understated the true sporting nature of the car, as it was based in no small part on the Gullwing that preceded it, bearing the same engine and mechanicals as its older brother.
There were certain differences of course. Stylistic changes from the Gullwing included larger front fenders, revised headlamps, a smaller grille and a chrome strip running down each side of the car. Since the 300 SL Roadster lacked the strength and rigidity offered by the Gullwing’s roof, Mercedes engineers redesigned the car’s chassis to maintain its structural integrity, rendering it slightly heavier.
Additional power was gained by including a higher-performance camshaft and increasing the compression ratio, offsetting the weight penalty of the Roadster. While the aerodynamics of the Roadster were not as favorable as those of the Gullwing, it could still nudge 155 mph with the right gearing, and for many years, it remained one of the world’s fastest road cars. The Roadster additionally benefited from a redesigned rear suspension, utilizing an improved single-joint swing axle rear suspension with two coil springs and a third ‘compensation’ coil spring to reduce swinging movements.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in August of 2010 at the Portola Hotel & Spa and Monterey Conference Center, Monterey, California and in March of 2011 at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island, Florida.
250 bhp (SAE), 2,996 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch direct fuel-injection, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower A-arms and coil springs, independent rear suspension with swing axles and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5.
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Darin Schnabel