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Mercedes 300 SL
The 300 SL title is well-known among even the most amateur car enthusiasts. Many car enthusiasts would say that the 300 SL is the most excellent car of the 1950s.
Initially introduced in 1952 and labeled the W194, the 300SL won at Le Mans, Nurburgring, and took home top honors at Carrera Panamerica.
Car importer Max Hoffman worked to persuade Mercedes that there were enough Americans with money and taste to buy a road version of the W194. As a result of Hoffman’s persuasion, the 300 SL was ready to be unleashed.
Ahead of Its Time
300 SL style, design, and performance dominated the 1954 New York Auto Show. Due to direct fuel injection, the 300 SL was put decades ahead of its time.
Due to aerodynamic design and 240 horsepower, the 300 SL could go between 140-160 mph as the fastest production car of its time. The 300 SL top-hinged gullwing doors came as a result of the car’s aluminum tube frame making the sills too high for standard doors.
Aluminum hood, doors, and trunk lid allowed the 300 SL to save overall weight. 29 models of a 300 SL with a fully aluminum body were made.
You could make the argument that the 300 SL started the trend of what is known today as a supercar. With insane top speed, racing features, exotic materials, and cutting edge technology, the iconic looks and high price tag have all the ingredients of a modern supercar.
Mercedes took a stab at the supercar market at the right time. During the release of the SL 300, Ferrari and Maserati were still focusing on-road cars, selling them a handful at a time.
While gullwing windows became somewhat of an automotive cliche in later years, the 300 SL is the car that started the booming trend.
You know what they say:
Imitation is the highest form of flattery.
A New Mercedes Image
Mercedes’ image was altered from that of a quiet German car company that focused on luxury sedans to a manufacturer that could also manufacture high-performance stunners. Notable figures such as Clark Gable owning a 300 SL didn’t hurt Mercedes’ image either.
In 2014, a 1956 Gullwing SL was sold for a staggering $1.32 million. Cheap estimates on 1955 Gullwing were around $900,000 in 2014 during Arizona car auctions. Experts are projecting the average cost for an SL 300 coupe to be between $1.8-2 million
300 SL models are hotter than ever on vintage auto markets and considered the most desired collectible Mercedes.
One interesting fact about the 300 SL is the closed top version is worth more money than the open-top version. Either version is still stunning.
300 SL Conclusion
The 300 SL is in a league of its own. World-class design and top-tier engineering and performance make this car have universal appeal. If you have the top dollar required to purchase a 300 SL, you’re also buying a solid investment.
Values for 300 SL models continue to rise. It’s hard to believe the 300 SL was revealed during the 1950s with how advanced it is. There are few, or maybe no cars at all further ahead of their time than the 300 SL.
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