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The Gullwing — A Masterpiece of Auto-making

The history of the Ger- man company Daimler-Mo- toren-Gesselschaft, which manufactured Mercedes au- tomobiles, goes back to the year 1900. The company not only produced cars, but also engines for ships and airplanes. it was this manu- facturing trio that led to a new company logo in 1909 that embodied these ele- ments in a three-beam star. it symbolized technologi- cal excellence on land, wa- ter and in the air. in 1926, when Daimler and Benz were merged, the logo was changed. The star appeared surrounded by a ring with a laurel wreath, which sym- bolizes Benz victories in earlier car races. This ver- sion of the logo is not un- common to this day.

Fewer and fewer auto- mobiles remain from that golden age when cars were more than transportation vehicles, they were remark- able pieces of art. That’s why we were especially ea- ger to see the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300Sl Gull- wing coupe from the collec- tion of the Daimlerchrys- tler classic car center.

Daimler-Benz had lost 80% of its manufacturing capabilities by 1945 and had failed to produce a sin- gle model in the five years

after the war. it all changed the moment Mercedes- Benz 300Sl was unveiled to the public, shocking the entire sport car commu- nity. The most sensational model in the history of the company with a factory in- dex of W194 was based on the 300S model series of sedans, but differed with an aluminum body, spacious frame and a direct fuel in- jection system. Thanks to its unique vertical doors, the car earned the nickname “The Gullwing.” it weighed less than a ton but produced 175 horsepower.

in 1952 the Mercedes- Benz 300Sl won every possible race and award. Dealers in america pelted headquarters with just one question: when will we be able to buy the 300Sl? at the time, that question would have sounded like someone today asking to buy a Formula One speed- ster. luckily, Max hoff- man then represented Mer- cedes-Benz in america; he was among the first who realized that the expensive Mercedes 300Sl had the potential to become a pop- ular commodity. legends are expensive, especially in america! he managed to convince the company’s leadership that they could

sell one thousand of these models in america.

The body of the serial model was drawn by famous French auto designer Paul Bracq, and was improved

for the production line by the chief designer karl Villefert. The car was a mas- terpiece: Mercedes 300Sl is one of the finest automo- biles that was ever made.

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