The 70th Anniversary Of The Iconic Gullwing

It was a moment that shook the automotive world and made the hearts of enthusiasts beat faster: The International Motor Sports Show in New York, February 1954. There, on the glittering stage of the automotive industry, a true superstar stepped into the limelight – the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing. Its appearance was not only a feast for the eyes, but also marked the beginning of an era that would shape the history of automotive engineering forever.

The 70th Anniversary Of The Iconic Gullwing

The world premiere of the 300 SL in New York in 1954 was a triumph for Mercedes-Benz. The combination of revolutionary technology and breathtaking design thrilled the masses and catapulted the 300 SL into the ranks of automotive legends. Its top speed of up to 260 km/h and its acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in just 9.3 seconds set new standards in terms of performance and elegance.

But to understand the true significance of this legendary vehicle, we need to dig deeper – back to 1952, when its predecessor, the W 194 racing sports car, dominated the world’s racetracks with impressive victories and unparalleled performance. From this racing legend sprang the 300 SL Gullwing, a vehicle that not only dominated the racetracks, but also performed remarkably in everyday life.

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This special show car, one of the first 300 SLs, played a crucial role in bringing the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL closer to an exclusive circle of VIP customers. Even then, when it took to the world’s stages, the 300 SL was more than just a car – it was an icon that attracted the beautiful, the famous and the rich. The 300 SL Gullwing got the attention of those who demanded only the best of the best. And this show car, with its unparalleled elegance and groundbreaking technology, was a masterpiece that embodied Mercedes-Benz’s vision for the future of automotive engineering.

The first chapters of this 300 SL Gullwing reveal an important story. It was carefully selected by Mercedes-Benz to present the Type W198 with all its innovations and special features to the most exclusive and highly esteemed clientele. Its appeal extended beyond the borders of Germany. This Gullwing graced the presence of such important personalities as Prince Bertil of Sweden and Prince Rainier of Monaco. It fascinated audiences in the Netherlands and Norway and attracted the attention of Greek shipping magnate Aristoteles Onassis.

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The vehicle data card of this 300 SL Gullwing reveals further fascinating details. It was delivered on November 3, 1954, in the color combination silver-grey DB 180 with a red leather interior DB 1079. Its first known owner was Hans-Georg Plaut, a renowned German management consultant, who took delivery of the vehicle in Hanover on June 20, 1955. From there, the car found its way to Portland, Oregon, into the possession of A. Neil DeAtley, who owned it until at least 1989.

The list of options quotes special paintwork, bumpers with horns, sealed beam headlights and instruments for the US market. Moreover , windscreen washers, Glicentin for the water cooler and 1 kg of paint DB180.

In November 2017, the car received a gentle restoration by HK-Engineering, during which the entire mechanical system was checked and overhauled where necessary. The paintwork was renewed to its original state, and the vehicle is now in fantastic condition, as confirmed on the Mercedes-Benz data card.

This 300 SL Gullwing is not just a car – it is a legend whose history spans seven decades and will continue to capture the hearts of automotive enthusiasts around the world. Its timeless beauty and ground-breaking technology make it a symbol of style, elegance, and innovation – a true masterpiece of automotive history.

Please enjoy the gallery of photos of this beautiful 300 SL Gullwing in matching colors and with matching numbers. The unique Gullwing will be displayed at the Concours of Elegance at the Tegernsee in Germany from July 22-27, 2024.

Photos: HK-Engineering / Mercedes – Benz

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