The Gullwing Coupe, also known as the W194, was the true Daimler-first Benz sports car after World War II. It debuted in 1952 as a lightweight racing car designed for the Mille Miglia. Development of the 300SL began on the road in September 1953. It debuted at the International Motorsport Show in New York in February 1954, based on a race car from the 1952 season.
The car’s origins can be traced back to a Mercedes-Benz W194 race car that was raced by an American car importer named Max Hoffmann. He convinced the board to build a road-going version of the W194. The only problem with the coupe version of the race car was that the overall structure required the manufacturer to build a higher door sill. However, they still need to install the driver’s door. The solution was a 1939 Bugatti Type 64 with doors hanging above the car. The gulls’ doors appeared this way.
“Not only is the Gullwing 300SL legendary today, it was also very special when it was new,” says celebrity restorer Paul Russell. Consider the car in the context of its era, compared to its contemporaries in 1954.
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster Powertrain Overview
Many other novelties were hidden behind the streamlined body. Mercedes-Benz used fuel injection in a road car for the first time. Compared to the carburetor racing version, an increase of 40 hp was achieved. The drum brakes and swing-axle settings were issues with the first batch of SLs. Despite the fact that these were revised in later editions. A lightweight version with an aluminum chassis and aluminum castings was prepared for some customers, but it was rarely towed. Instead, Mercedes prepared the 300 SLR, which had a lower chassis like the W196.
The engine was a technological marvel. Mercedes-Benz tried the same with Bosch, after Maserati built direct injection petrol units for racing cars using Lucas technology. And they were successful. The engine was a Inline-6 from the 300S saloon, with transmission and suspension settings from this model. The 3.0-liter inline-6 direct-injected engine produced 215 horsepower, a great value for the time. The 3.9-liter engine in the 1954 Corvette produced 157 horsepower.
Unlike the 300S, the engine was tilted to produce a low front. Two large outlets have been added to keep air flowing out to help cool the engine compartment. The 300SL coupe features dry sump lubrication, direct fuel injection, a tubular frame structure, independent suspension, flawless build quality, a very comfortable interior and, of course, a beautiful and dynamic design that has clearly stood the test of time. The SL Gullwing, as it is known, had a short lifespan, lasting only three years, but he left a legacy that earned him a place in the Automobile Hall of Fame.
Here is the cost of the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster from many previous auctions, up to the present
The Mercedes 300 SL Gullwing has an interesting history, having started as another race car in the early 1950s. Max Hoffmann, the American importer, put pressure on Mercedes to make the coupe on the road for the masses, and Mercedes eventually did in 1954. Between 1954 and 1957, 1,400 units were produced, the vast majority of which were sold in the United States. Since then, the car has become coveted and collectible, with some examples fetching over a million dollars. RK Motors Charlotte recently sold a 1954 model for a total of $1.9 million, marking a three-year high for a 1954 model.
“The 1954 Gullwing fetched this record price due to its original condition and flawless mechanisms,” said Joseph Carroll, President of RK Collection. “This symbolizes the exceptional quality of vehicles that we provide to collectors here in the United States and around the world,” he continued. This is evidenced by the fact that this deal represented a three-year high for the 1954 Gullwing, creating a new price point in the assembler car market.
The car has driven only 45,687 miles in its 61 years of existence – less than 1,000 miles a year. It should be noted that this is not the most expensive 1954 sold in recent years. A Barrett Jackson Collector’s auto auction sold one for $2.2 million in 2012. And in 1954, a 300 SL sold for 29,000 marks, which at that time was pretty high – the equivalent of $121,000 in American dollars.
The car sold for more than ten times its original price in 2015, and its selling price was $ 1.9 million. That in itself is noteworthy, and it shows just how high-profile a car like the 300 SL Gullwing is. The 300 SL may not be worth an all-time high today, but the car that was worth $750,000 at the time is now worth over a million dollars today.
Sources: Hemmings, AutoEvolution, TopSpeed, SuperCars
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