1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

The first time I saw a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing in person was in the late 1990s at a winery on the North Fork of Long Island. It was parked among a long run of classic cars, next to a 70s-era Porsche 911. The SL was striking — a gorgeous, innovative design that remains compelling a half-century later; the Porsche, none of the above. Ever since that experience, Porsche’s flagship sports car has been a functional piece of engineering, but lacking in that grace and elegance.

The SL ruined the 911 for me.

Another observation: Prior to the lift in prices of the past few decades, owners of classics actually drove them. This was some sports car club outing, we spoke with the members, and learned they regularly drove and raced these cars. Since then, many of these cars have become so valuable that each drive becomes an exercise in expensive depreciation.

Collectors have ruined driving the cars they love.

And that’s a shame. I find the wing door coupe (W 198 I) to be the most iconic Mercedes of all time. Produced from 1954–1957, MB made 1,400 of the Coupes, (plus 1,858 Roadsters). Direct fuel-injection 3-liter overhead camshaft straight-6 engine made 175 horsepower. SL stands for “Super Light,” combined with the very aerodynamic design, it had a top speed of 163 mph, which was astounding in the 1950s. It was the fastest production car of the time.

The car below was the one owned by Paul Newman, who not only appreciated fine automobiles but raced them as well.

Of all the myriad cars one could ever imagine owning, driving, and enjoying, this is the one I most would like to have in my garage.



Source: Classic Sport Leicht

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