Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing - 1954 - AZH-CARS

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing - 1954

Eternal teenagers is a miracle bestowed on most effective a small quantity of vehicles, and the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL coupe is one in every of this elite group. The Stuttgart-primarily based totally logo unveiled its new sports activities vehicle in February 1954 on the International Motor Sports Show in New York, and in so doing lit the fuse for an icon of the car global. With its flat, swish frame, the three hundred SL had misplaced not anything of its freshness while the millennium drew to a near and become voted "Sports vehicle of the Century" in 1999. "Gullwing" doorways supplied that crucial contact of inspiration, starting up toward the sky to expose a tightly sculptured indoors. The records of the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL Gullwing is inextricably related with the existence of an influential admirer. American importer Maximilian E. Hoffman it become who entreated Mercedes-Benz to construct a street vehicle withinside the picture of its racing coupe, the begin of manufacturing in 1954 supplying a candy fruit for his endeavors. The meeting traces may also have waved good-bye to the final of the most effective 1,four hundred devices of the three hundred SL coupe ever made in 1957, however the spirit of this super vehicle maximum definitely lives on.

From the race-music to the street

The Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL become conceived first of all as a purpose-constructed racing sports activities vehicle (W 194). In 1952, the coupe notched up an outstanding report of achievement withinside the year's main races. At the Grand Prix in Bern the three hundred SL sealed a smooth sweep of the rostrum places, an terrific overall performance subsidized up via way of means of a one- end beforehand of a shocked discipline withinside the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Nürburgring duly yielded any other one--3, and the brand new Mercedes racing sports activities vehicle additionally claimed victory withinside the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico. It all introduced as much as an impressive go back to motor recreation for Mercedes-Benz, choosing up in which the logo had left off at some stage in a quite a success duration earlier than the Second World War.

Although there have been first of all no plans to ship the three hundred SL into collection manufacturing, the Daimler-Benz Board have been left with the phrases of Maximilian ("Maxi") Hoffman ringing of their ears. The authentic importer of Mercedes-Benz vehicles into America campaigned tirelessly for a sports activities vehicle to provide his properly-heeled clientele, and the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL racer equipped the invoice perfectly. After prolonged deliberations, the inexperienced mild become given for collection manufacturing of the street-trim three hundred SL (W 198), in addition to a smaller, open-pinnacle sports activities vehicle, the one hundred ninety SL (W 121).

The fashions have been because of have fun their premieres much less than six months after the Board had granted the venture their approval. The event become the International Motor Sports Show taking vicinity in New York from February 6-14, 1954 and on the time America's maximum crucial vehiclemobile show. The engineers rose to the mission in their race in opposition to the clock, and the three hundred SL and its smaller brother, the one hundred ninety SL, have been equipped to get hold of the acclaim of the admiring crowds. Series manufacturing commenced in Sindelfingen in August 1954 and the charge become constant at 29,000 Marks - a pretty substantial sum on the time, particularly whilst you in comparison the brand new version along the Mercedes-Benz one hundred seventy Vb - on sale at 7,900 Marks.

The frame

The frame of the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL Gullwing become advanced with the number one goal of reducing aerodynamic drag to a minimal. The end result become a streamlined shape with few adornments, a vehicle which adhered faithfully to its layout short and which has retained its freshness and appeal to the prevailing day. Wonderfully proportioned and extraordinarily dynamic, it become as though the three hundred SL - surging ahead on its wheels - have been reduce shape a unmarried mold.

The new sports activities vehicle become a actual crowd-puller, thank you in no small degree to its splendidly charismatic "gullwing" doorways. Rather than serving simply as a stylistic gimmick, they represented the relevant detail of the three hundred SL layout, the final instance of necessity because the mom of invention. The vehicle's aluminum pores and skin become stretched over a tubular body, which - withinside the hobbies of stability - rose lots similarly than regular up the edges of the car, making it not possible to healthy traditional doorways. The reaction of the engineers become to plan an upwards-starting door idea. The beauty of the auto's aspect view remained undisturbed via way of means of a door handle, with a discreet pull-out bar disengaging the lock. The door then opened upwards with the assist of a telescopic spring.

The tubular body for the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL, designed via way of means of Rudolf Uhlenhaut, decreased weight to a minimal however supplied most strength. A collection of extraordinarily skinny tubes have been welded collectively into triangles to supply a body which boasted fantastic torsional stiffness and become most effective subjected to compression and tensile forces. In the usual SL the body tipped the scales at most effective eighty two kilograms, at the same time as the whole vehicle in equipped-to-power circumstance and together with the spare wheel, equipment and gasoline weighed in at 1,295 kilograms.

The frame of the three hundred SL become built in large part out of high-grade sheet steel, even though aluminum become used for the engine hood, trunk lid and the pores and skin panels for the door sills and doorways. For a exceedingly small greater charge, clients ought to pick out to have the complete frame crafted from mild alloy, which reduce eighty kilograms off the auto's overall weight. However, most effective 29 SL clients took up this feature and these days their vehicles are quite sought-after rarities.

The era

The technical makeup of the three hundred SL owes lots to the Mercedes-Benz three hundred (W 186 II) sedan, the car of desire for plenty statesmen and industrialists and additionally referred to as the "Adenauer Mercedes". The six-cylinder engine featured some of modifications, one in every of which noticed the carburetor changed via way of means of a path injection system - a technical improve which become years beforehand of its time. This new era boosted output to 158 kW (215 hp) and the auto's most accelerate as a long way as 260 km/h, relying at the rear axle ratio. Customers ought to order their SL with a desire of 5 one-of-a-kind ratios. The popular 1:3.sixty four variation become installation normally to supply fast acceleration and able to 235 km/h. The 1:3.89 and 1:4.eleven ratios have been top for even quicker acceleration, at the same time as the 1:3.forty two alternative presented a better pinnacle velocity. This determine rose nevertheless similarly - to 260 km/h - whilst the ratio become set at 1:3.25. However, this "ended in significantly decreased acceleration, making the auto much less fun to power in downtown town traffic," because the income facts pointed out. The three hundred SL hit one hundred km/h in only 10 seconds, with vehicle testers on the time measuring gasoline intake at a median of 15 liters in line with one hundred km. A one hundred-liter gasoline tank become placed on the rear of the auto and might be enlarged to a hundred thirty liters at a further charge.

The engine needed to be tilted forty five stages to the left so one can squeeze below the hood of what become a really flat vehicle, for that reason decreasing the quantity of area withinside the passenger-aspect footwell. The SL's middle of gravity become nearly precisely withinside the center of the auto, laying the appropriate foundations for immediate and particular cornering. The chassis become basically similar to the 300a sedan's, however with sportier tuning, and the drum brakes have been tailored in reaction to the accelerated overall performance of the muscle-certain sports activities vehicle. Only later, withinside the 1961 roadster variation, have been those changed via way of means of disc brakes all round.

The indoors

The indoors of the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL Gullwing become greater strong than spectacular. The popular cloth seat upholstery become to be had in a desire of 3 checked patterns, however maximum clients opted for leather-based instead. The frame paintwork got here in silver steel as popular, even though red, darkish blue and black additionally proved famous.

A scarcity of area made moving into the three hundred SL some thing of a mission - this become, after all, a sports activities vehicle. Fortunately, the steerage wheel might be folded down, permitting the motive force to curve his or her legs withinside the path of the pedals. Once seated, the motive force loved an ergonomically impressively subtle cockpit layout. The steerage wheel become simply the proper distance for the hands to attain and the motive force's toes moved intuitively onto the pedals: the three hundred SL become very lots a driver's vehicle. In addition, the device panel become extraordinarily tidy and simply laid-out, with the rev counter and speedometer withinside the middle of the motive force's discipline of vision, as you'll expect.

The managing traits

Out on the street, you quick found out why the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL have been christened with the ones specific letters - the auto become definitely Sporty and Light. With an engine turning in 215 hp and a complete weight of most effective round 1,three hundred kilograms, acceleration become definitely fantastic - particularly with the proper desire of rear axle ratio. Exceptional torque ensured top pulling electricity at any velocity. The steerage become direct and the suspension made certain that the auto hugged the street nicely. There's absolute confidence that the three hundred SL become a sports activities vehicle of the best pedigree. That said, it become a long way from impractical, as many proprietors have been brief to appreciate. For them, this become a high-velocity travelling vehicle which presented particular riding traits however which averted sapping the electricity of the motive force unduly. The trunk become sufficiently large, complemented because it become via way of means of the greater room at the back of the seats for extra baggage. Plus, clients ought to order a made-to-degree bags set designed to make the maximum of the gap to be had.

How the clicking noticed the three hundred SL

The press on the time have been falling over themselves to lavish reward at the Mercedes three hundred SL. "Autosport" mentioned that: "The outside shape of the three hundred SL is pretty brilliant and its overall performance nearly unbelievable. The creation of the auto and its manufacturing exceptional are first elegance and the complete idea represents an uncompromising awareness of all of the new ideas." After its preliminary test, "Road & Track" wrote: "We are searching at a vehicle in which a cushty indoors is complemented via way of means of remarkably fantastic managing traits, pretty excellent roadholding, mild and particular steerage, and overall performance ranges that are up there with - or even an development on - the exceptional vehicles the car enterprise has to provide. There is most effective one issue left to say: the sports activities vehicle of the destiny has come to be a reality." And "vehiclemobile, motor und recreation" noted: "The Mercedes three hundred SL is the maximum subtle and on the identical time the maximum inspirational sports activities vehicle of our era - an car dream."

Maxi Hoffman continues up the pressure

The first devices of the Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL have been bought in Europe in 1954, at the same time as Maxi Hoffman obtained his first patron vehicle in March 1955. A overall of 1,four hundred Gullwings rolled off the manufacturing line, the lion's percentage of which - a few 1,one hundred devices - observed their manner to the USA. Hoffman had for that reason assessed the reaction of the marketplace to the auto extraordinarily properly and had each proper to be glad together along with his work. However, he had additionally succeeded in stoking the expectancies of his discerning clients, who now desired a hint greater consolation of their vehicles, a bigger trunk and, in lots of cases, a cabriolet version. Hoffman surpassed the message directly to Stuttgart and yet again his request bore fruit - this time withinside the shape of the three hundred SL roadster (W 198 II) unveiled in 1957.

Success on racetracks and rally courses

The racing genes of the three hundred SL tempted famend racing drivers and privateers from everywhere in the global to go into sports activities vehicle races and rallies. The three hundred SL made its first appearances withinside the famous racing occasions of the time in 1955 - and did not need to wait lengthy earlier than tasting achievement. The Mercedes-Benz three hundred SL Gullwing attained mythical repute properly earlier than the meeting traces floor to a halt, thank you in component to its achievement in race opposition however maximum of all to the fascinating appeal of its lovely layout. The three hundred SL has been counted some of the global's maximum sought-after and quite rated vehicles for fifty years now, and its repute as one of the maximum respected traditional cars available in the marketplace is about to stay intact for pretty a while to come.