A love letter to the 1954 Mercedes 300sl

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There is a long list of classic cars that everyone loves. Most people have their favorites but there are some cars that just top the list for everybody. The Mercedes 1954 300sl is one of those cars. Sports Car International magazine ranked it as the fifth-greatest car of all time for this very reason. So why is the Mercedes 1954 300sl so special?

In a word the answer is style but it is so much more than that as well. The Mercedes 1954 300sl is an iconic car in the history of greats. It was the first car to ever feature the gullwing doors that float up in the air with a degree of pomposity and flair that few cars could get away with. With gullwing doors you certainly can’t take this amazing piece of machinery to your local shops, you would need three spaces just to get park and get out. It was also the first-ever production car with a fuel injector that would give it lightning pace on the roads and make it a must-have car for anyone who desired speed.

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The model first appeared at the New York Auto Show in 1954 and caused quite a stir. There were only 1,400 models to be made and 80% ended up selling in the US market alone. As already mentioned that car had powerful acceleration thanks to its rear-wheel drive and fuel injection. As well as the power under the hood, it had a body that made it stand out from the crowd too. The car had more curves than were accepted at the time and with exaggerated splash guards around the wheels, the aerodynamic body not only looked well but delivered exceptional performance. 

This incredible combination of power and design meant that the 300sl was fast. It could reach 257 km/h making it the fast production car on the road by a fair distance of about 40 km/h. This shouldn’t be a surprise as the car had been altered from a race car and was made to target those who wanted to have style on the roads but with a belly underneath that could perform as well. This car was not simply for show, it was the entire package.

The 300sl was not perfect, we must admit. The high sills were an issue, yet while many complained about getting into the car, no one complained once they were inside. The look of the car and its performance means that the 300sl fetches an incredibly high price today if one can even be found on the market. While car valuation websites and magazines will value the car with a ceiling of $800,000 there have been exceptional cases where it has reached millions. 

In 2012 a rare 1955 model sold for $4.62 million and showed how in demand this exceptional car really is. The car has featured in many movies since 1954 both classic movies and more modern ones with Jennifer Love Hewitt starring alongside the car in the movie How Do I Deal. We have already mentioned that the car was transformed from a racing version and it did have some success on the track as it won the European Rally Championship in 1955 with Werner Engel behind the wheel.

As classic cars go, few will compare to the exceptional Mercedes 1954 Gullwing 300sl. Today, classic cars tend to only look good and their performance leaves a lot to be desired. The 300sl manages to deliver exceptional performance, with high speeds at comfort, while also offering the best in style. An unbelievable car, that if we had a spare $800,000 we would happily purchase.