Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ (1954)

300 SL
(Photos: Mercedes-Benz)
Arguably the world’s first supercar, the iconic 1954 Mercedes 300SL “Gullwing” was Mercedes-Benz’ first road-going racer. Based on the German manufacturer’s Grand Prix cars, the 300SL was built on a light weight but stiff tubular steel frame with high sills that necessitated the adoption of its signature Gullwing doors and tilting steering wheel to access its minimalist cabin. Low, wide, and with a long hood and elegantly rounded lines, the 300SL was classy and curvaceous, if not practical, but delivered then excellent 0.39CD aerodynamics.اضافة اعلان

The world’s first production car with direct fuel injection, the 300SL’s mechanical fuel system was problematic in terms of engine lubrication, but nevertheless allowed its 3-liter straight 6-cylinder engine to produce 218HP at 5,800rpm and 275Nm torque at 4,600rpm. Driving the rear wheels through a 4-speed manual gearbox, the 300SL hustled its light 1,293kg mass through zero to 100km/h in 8.8 seconds. Meanwhile, when equipped with an optional 3.25:1 axle ratio, it was capable of 260km/h, which made it the world’s then fastest production car.

With engine slanted for better weighting and a dry sump lubrication system to ensure oil circulation through hard-driven corners, the 300SL meanwhile rode on double wishbone front and swing axles, rear suspension, and featured drum brakes, front and rear. A thoroughly capable road racer, the 300SL’s suspension design and its propensity for sudden mid-corner camber changes however lent it a reputation for being a handful to drive effectively and safely at speed, and requiring skill to eke out its full handling and performance potential.

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