Mercedes-Benz 300SL photo

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL made its racing debut in the 1952 Mille Miglia, finishing 2nd and 4th overall. This was followed by victories in the Carrera Pan-Americana and at Le Mans. Max Hoffman, the Mercedes-Benz importer for North America, believed there would be a market for a road-going version, and was able to convince the factory that such a car would be popular and profitable.

Max Hoffman unveiled the pre-production 190 SL and 300 SL at the New York International Auto Show on February 6th of 1954. The production versions that followed would differ only slightly from the prototype examples on display at the auto show. They marked the first time a series-production car would have the engine - which was canted to the left as on race cars - would have a direct injection system into the combustion chambers.

In 1954, the production 300SL was launched. It retained the spaceframe chassis of the racing version and was powered by a 2,996cc, overhead-camshaft, inline-six positioned at a 45-degree angle helping to achieve a lower, more aerodynamic hood line. With the help of direct fuel injection, it offered 215 horsepower at 5,800 RPM. The engine was backed by a four-speed gearbox sending power to the hypoid bevel rear axle. The suspension was independent all round by wishbones and coil springs at the front, with swing axles and coil springs at the rear. Drum brakes with the cooling fan provided the stopping power and were the same as those on the company's racing cars.

In 1955, 29 examples were built entirely from aluminum and fitted with a 240 horsepower engine. These cars bought several impressive finishes at grueling races in 1955 including 4th in the Mille Miglia, 1st in the Swedish Rally, 1st in the Tulpenrallye, 1st in Liège-Rome-Liège. The following year, they raced at the Rallye du Mont Ventoux, Liège-Rome-Liège, and finished 2nd in the Monte Carlo Rally. Stirling Moss and Georges Houel finished 2nd in the 1956 Tour de France Automobile.

Top speed was achieved at 140 mph and zero-to-sixty mph took 7.4 seconds. Along with its racing pedigree, the 300 SL was a luxurious and elegant grand touring automobile.

The 300SL Coupe was followed by a Roadster version with conventional doors three years later. It was first exhibited at the Geneva Salon in May 1957 and was an immediate hit. The open configuration necessitated altering of the cockpit area, and the spaceframe was redesigned to permit lower sills for improved access. Additionally, the rear suspension was changed to incorporate low-pivot swing axles. The updated six-cylinder engine received the competition camshaft (only an option on the Coupe) used in the NSL racing Gullwings, good for a boost of 20 horsepower. Despite being 2 inches longer and the added weight of chassis reinforcement required by an open model, the roadster's performance was on par with that of the Gullwing.

The roadster had a reclining soft-top, leather upholstery, Rudge knock-off wheels, fitted trunk luggage, ivory or black steering wheel, and usually equipped with a Becker radio and climate control. Certainly, from a road-going perspective, the new 300 SL was an improvement on the Gullwing in nearly every aspect. With a list price of $11,000, ownership of a 300 SL Roadster was limited to those who could afford this cutting-edge vehicle.

Approximately 1,400 Gullwing coupes were built from 1954 through 1957. Roadster production lasted from 1957 through 1963, with 1,858 examples built. Total production for the coupe and roadster was 3,258 examples.


by Daniel Vaughan | Dec 2019

Related Reading : Mercedes-Benz 300 History

With a top speed of 130-155 mph, depending on the axle ratio, the 300SL was one of the fastest vehicles of the 1950s. Its performance, design, reputation, and futuristic Gullwing doors were all responsible for the success of the vehicle. The SL represented Sport Leicht or Sport Light. An American Max Hoffman is partly responsible for the mass-production of the 300SL. He had urged Mercedes-Benz....
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Related Reading : Mercedes-Benz 300 History

The Mercedes-Benz 300 was produced from 1951 through 1958 and is one of the most graceful and classic creations of the post-World War II era. The style was both classic and modern and built to high standards. They were constructed from fine materials using the latest in technology and achieving minimal weight with a high degree of strength. The 300 was built on a traditional body-on-frame construction....
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Related Reading : Mercedes-Benz 300 History

Eternal youth is a miracle bestowed on only a small number of cars, and the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupe is one of this elite group. The Stuttgart-based brand unveiled its new sports car in February 1954 at the International Motor Sports Show in New York, and in so doing lit the fuse for an icon of the automotive world. With its flat, graceful body, the 300 SL had lost nothing of its freshness even....
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Related Reading : Mercedes-Benz 300 History

Large and luxurious, the Mercedes 300 series was built from 1951 until 1957 in its original form. The companys largest and most-prestigious models, the Mercedes-Benz Type 300 is considered a trademark of the era throughout the 1950s. With a 3 liter engine capacity, the name 300 said it all. Exclusive, expensive, elegant and full of power, the Type 300 vehicles were in an elite status all of its own.....
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1957 Vehicle Profiles

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500569
Engine Num: 198.980.7500545

One of the most iconic of all Mercedes-Benz is the 300SL. How fitting and appropriate it would be than that one of the most iconic of all Mercedes-Benz automobiles would be owned by one of the most iconic actresses in all of Hollywood. Her name… Nata....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Coupe

Based upon the race-winning W194, the new coupe, W198, was the first gasoline-powered car to be fitted with a new direct fuel injection system, making it more powerful than its race-bred, normally aspirated predecessor. This car is one of the final G....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Coupe

The Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, with its massive 190HP, 3-liter, fuel-injected, in-line six perched in front of a finicky, feather touch suspension, was powerful but precise.....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 7500295

Production of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL 'Gullwing' was in production for just three years, during which time 1,400 examples were created (not including racers and prototypes). These cars were built mostly by hand at Stuttgart's.....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500487

Mercedes-Benz is one of the world's most recognized names; a division of the German company Daimler AG. The brand is known for luxury vehicles, buses and trucks. The name appeared in 1926 with the merger of the firms of Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Only a few Rally Roadsters were originally built by Mercedes from available options during the 1957 production year. Whether dismantled, as was the Boringer factory works car, or crashed, no examples have survived.

Initially purchased in 19....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

The 'gullwing' coupe was produced from 1954-1957, but a brand new roadster was introduced at the end of 1957. The roadster remained in production until 1963 with only 1858 units being built it its six year span.....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Coupe

The Mercedes-Benz 300SL is a two-seat, closed sports car with characteristic gull-wing doors, and later, offered as an open roadster. The gullwing doors, hinged at the roof and so named because the open doors resembled a bird's outstretched wings, we....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.75.00195
Engine Num: 198.980.75.00130

After a six-year production run, 1,858 examples of the 300SL Roadster were built. A handful of options were available, including Rudge wheels. It is believed that of the total roadster production, roughly 25 cars, accounting for just over 1-percent o....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500661
Engine Num: 198.980.7500691

This Mercedes-Benz 300SL was delivered new to the Mercedes-Benz distributor in Austria on January 23, 1958. It left the factory in the same color scheme that it wears today. It was fitted with the desirable one-piece European headlamps. Years later, ....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

This 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster was originally delivered to a dealer in Venezuela. It has been given a restoration since new, with the work being completed in 2007. It is one of a few roadsters delivered with knockoff wheels. It has Europea....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 7500378

This car has a fuel injected engine, fitted luggage, and is one of 1858 units built from 1957-1963. The original base price was $10,970.....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

This (blue 300SL Roadster) is the eighth 300 SL Roadster built. It is more or less a prototype with several similarities to the Gullwing - interior, etc. It was a European delivery car and was a show car at the 1957 Paris Auto Show. It was then pu....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 1980427500146

This car is one of ten with special high-performance engine. The cars first owner, Mercedes-Benz enthuiast Erwin Goldschmidt, won the Watkins-Glen Grand Prix. The car has the race factory hardtop and a matching set of luggage. It also has the uniq....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 1980427 500116
Engine Num: 1989807 500115

This vehicle has a very unique factory detachable Gullwing hardtop, the only one known to exist with the general public. This top offers the stunning visual effect of the Gullwing coupled with improved ventilation and easier access. This car would ....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Present color is deep red with black upholstery and black leather (original color code DB050 white). It has chrome original wheels, both hard top and soft top, complete set of factory luggage and rear actual axel ratio is 3.89. The vehicle has 97,500....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042-75-00115

According to Mercedes-Benz Archives, this is the first 'Strawberry Red Metallic' 300SL Roadster Built. This rare color was available only in the Roadster debut year - 1957 and represents one of approximately 30 produced in this color. Chassis number ....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

This European edition 300SL Roadster was delivered new to an Industrialist who lived in Monterey, Mexico. The car stayed in Mexico where it was eventually acquired by a collector in Mexico City. The new Mexican owner had the car frame-off restored by....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500568
Engine Num: 198.010.1097150

This vehicle has an original Mercedes-Benz Delivery Notice dated June 3rd of 1959. It was an original US-specification example ordered by IMA, the Belgian Mercedes-Benz importer. Original equipment included back-up lights, sealed beam headlamps, Mich....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500081
Engine Num: 198.980.7500097

In mid-1962, Dr. James M. Mozley of Baltimore, Maryland became the second owner of this 300 SL Roadster. At the time, the car showed approximately 24,000 miles on the odometer. Dr. Mozley kept he car for the next 50 years until his death at age 89. ....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

The 300SL Roadster was the second version (the first being the gullwing coupe) of the SL-Class grand touring cars. Introduced as the replacement for the gullwing at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, this fuel-injected production model was based on the comp....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500666
Engine Num: 198.980.7500693

This Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster was ordered with the special-order exterior paint of Hellgrun (274 G) over a cream leather interior. It is believed this car was delivered through Max Hoffman's distributorship in New York City. Mr. Bob Pond purchas....[continue reading]

Chassis Num: 198.042-7500270
Engine Num: 198.980.7500286

It would be hard, or at least it would seem that way, to choose against the iconic Gullwing. However, the Roadster option was by no means a lacking choice. In fact, an easy argument could be made the convertible version was much more refined in about....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

This is a very special, very early 1957 300SL Roadster, body number 5. This is the first 300SL Roadster imported to the United States. 300SL fanatics will be able to observe many small, subtle features that were phased out or changed later in product....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Coupe

Chassis Num: 198.040.7500077
Engine Num: 198.980.7500072

This 1957 Gullwing is one of just 73 built very early in that year, before production moved to the new 300 SL Roadster. It was only three chassis before the final Gullwing built, and was delivered on May 7th of 1957, making it one of the final 300 SL....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Coupe

When it comes to truly iconic automobiles, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is certainly among the most coveted. The 300 SL was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and when introduced in 1954, was the fastest production car of its day. The 300 s....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500299
Engine Num: 198.9823/0000107

This Mercedes-Benz was first sold in the United States and little is known of its early life. In 1989 it was disassembled and restored by its then-German owner. The two-year process resulted in the car being brought to original specification, includi....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198042

Purchased as a non-running wreck in 1969, this unique tribute was restored over a 30-year period. Only authentic Mercedes-Benz performance options and rally instrumentation and accessories from the 1950's were used. Presented in its original Linden G....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500107

The 300SL Roadster was introduced at the Geneva Automobile Show in March 1957 as a successor to the famous Gullwing. It was meant as a true sports car, not a racing car like the Gullwing. The roadster was an evolutionary design improving on two of th....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500603
Engine Num: 198.980.7500567

This early U.S. 300 SL roadster model was dispatched to the Mercedes-Benz distributor at the time, the Studebaker-Packard Corporation. It left the factory finished in black with red interior, and is currently painted in Medium Red (DB 516) with a tan....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

In 1953 US distributor for Mercedes-Benz Max Hoffman convinced Daimler-Benz to build a customer version of the successful 300 SL race car and the 'Gulllwing' coupe was introduced. Hoffman believed that US demand would be even stronger for a roadster ....[continue reading]

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL vehicle information

Rallye Roadster

Chassis Num: 198.042.7500094
Engine Num: 198.980.7500108

This 300 SL Roadster is among the first examples built. It was completed in June of 1957 and fitted with engine number 7500108 and body no. 7500020. Due to its early production date, it was given rare hand-tooled production components that were share....[continue reading]

Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500569 
Coupe
 
Coupe
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 7500295 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500487 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
 
Coupe
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.75.00195 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500661 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 7500378 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 1980427500146 
Coupe
Chassis #: 1980427 500116 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042-75-00115 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500568 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500081 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500666 
Chassis #: 198.042-7500270 
Rallye Roadster
 
Coupe
Chassis #: 198.040.7500077 
Coupe
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500299 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198042 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500107 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500603 
Rallye Roadster
 
Rallye Roadster
Chassis #: 198.042.7500094 


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