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Project 36 of 40

One of the most iconic cars ever made, the MERCEDES-BENZ Gullwing first appeared at the 1954 New York Motor Show. It was developed from the highly successful 1952 300SL racing sports car, whose low-slung spaceframe construction was partly the reason the adoption of distinctive, upward-opening doors.

But the Gullwing was also notable for being the first production car to have mechanical fuel injection. The system injected petrol directly into the combustion chambers of the three-litre, straight-six engine and helped develop 161 kilowatts at 5800 revs per minute. Depending on which rear axle ratio was fitted, the 300SL was capable of 260 kilometres per hour, making it the fastest production car of its time.

‘Eyebrows’ over the wheelarches were an aerodynamic feature of steel-and aluminium body of the SL – which stands for ‘sport light’. The high-pivot swing-axle rear suspension offered a comfortable ride but the set-up’s extreme camber changes caused tricky handling at high speeds and over rough roads.



Year 1955
Country of Origin Germany
Engine Type 6 cylinder SOHC 2996cc
Power Output 240 BHP
Transmission Type 4 speed
Braking System unknown
Top speed 209 to 241 km/h
Only 1400 300SL (Gullwings) were ever made