1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL
Engine: Inline 6 cylinder
Horsepower: 215 at 5800RPM
Torque: 202 ft/lbs at 4600RPM
Max RPM: Approximately 6000RPM
Transmission: 4-speed manual
A Little History
The Gullwing is considered by many enthusiasts to be the unofficial first supercar ever created; it was the McLaren F1 of its day.
It was originally introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show at the encouragement of a man called Max Hoffman, a successful importer of luxury European automobiles.
The chassis of the Gullwing was designed by Mercedes’ chief engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut. He based his designed off of what is referred to as “spaceframes.” They were originally created by Alexander Graham Bell. “Spaceframes” consist of hollow tubing welded together in geometric patterns.
The construction of the chassis resulted in significantly smaller doorways, which eventually led to the development of the iconic “gullwing” doors. Racing regulations stated that the car must have fully functioning doors, but did not specify how they opened or closed, so the gullwing door was the most logical answer.
Because the Gullwing is based off of the Mercedes racing program, the engineers decided to include many of the aerodynamic aspects in the transition. For example, it bears grills behind each front tire in order to expel the hot air from the engine compartment. Above each rear tire, it has a protruding lip to help create downforce from the expelled engine air. It also has door handles that lie flush with the body, so as not to create any extra drag. Interestingly, the windows cannot be rolled down. They must be popped out and removed completely while the car is stationary. When the windows are removed, the vent on the roof helps to keep air flowing smoothly from the interior over the rear of the car to create even more downforce.
Did You Know?
• The interior is entirely original, including the matching luggage set for long journeys.
• This is the first production car to ever have a direct gasoline fuel injection.
• There are two places you can honk the horn: the center of the steering wheel, as well as a button on the passenger’s side of the dash.
• The steering wheel can be folded down in order to more easily enter and exit the vehicle.
• This car is considered the grandfather of the 2014 Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Black Series currently on display.