The roadster was produced from 1957 until 1963
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with hardtop
In mid-1956 Mercedes was evaluating what to do with the Coupe. Sales of the Coupe had started to fall off and the board decided to show a convertible version at the Geneva show in March and convert the factory completely to the Roadster in May 1957 to meet the needs of the California market.
Built with conventional doors, the 300SL Roadster was first exhibited at the Geneva Salon in May 1957. The production of an open 300SL involved altering the cockpit area, where the space frame was redesigned to permit lower sills for improved access. At the same time the rear suspension was changed to incorporate low-pivot swing axles.
The Roadster at 1,420 kilograms (3,131 pounds) weighs 125 kilograms (276 pounds) more than that of the Coupe, but with 240 hp (179 kW) the Roadster has slightly more power. The tubular frame on the Roadster still supported the body, but was changed to create more space in the boot. The spare tire was placed under boot floor and combined with a smaller fuel tank gave room for specially made fitted luggage. The lower door-line closer to the ground gives a much more comfortable entry.
The rear axle was changed to a single joint arrangement with its pivot point located 87 mm below the differential centre line. This gave improved handling and increased comfort and less camber change and better handling in corners. Uhlenhaut wanted the new low pivot axle for the Coupe but was voted down by the Board of Directors, reminding him that 3000 manufactured axle units remained at the factory and costs were already getting very high for this car. A hardtop became an available option from September 1958.
Reception and sales
Dealers needed to train mechanics to maintain the racing-style fuel injection system. Sales quintupled in the model’s second year but dropped-off over the next three years. Roadster sales were initially high then leveled off to about 200 a year.
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Numerous celebrities have owned 300 SLs. Among them, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Wernher von BraunRob Walker, Juan Manuel Fangio, Juan Peron, Tony Curtis, Pablo Picasso,Sophia Loren, Romy Schneider, Clark Gable, Glenn Ford,Briggs Cunningham, Luigi Chinetti, John von Neumann,Pierre Trudeau, Justin Trudeau,Paul Newman, Yul Brynner, Bernie Ecclestone, Ralph Lauren, Frank Lloyd Wright and Adrian Conan Doyle., King Abdullah II of Jordan
- Oswald, Werner (2001). Deutsche Autos 1945–1990, Band 4. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. ISBN 978-3-613-02131-0.
- Werner Oswald: Mercedes-Benz Personenwagen 1945–1985. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2007, ISBN 978-3-613-02778-7, S. 46 u. 70.
- Benjamin Bessinger: In: Die Zeit, 14. April 2017, S. 2.
- Bernd Ostmann: In: Auto motor und sport, 12 February 2011.
- Michael Rieder: Urahn-Forschung. In: Motor Klassik, 1989, Heft 5, S. 14.
- ^ Nitske, Robert (1974). Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-0879380212.
- ^ Die klassischen Mercedes SL. Motor Klassik, Spezial Nr. 3, Vereinigte Motorverlage, Stuttgart.
- US prices: Mike Covello: Standard Catalog of Imported Cars 1946–2002, Krause Publication, Iola 2002, ISBN 0-87341-605-8, p. 527-31
- «300 SLR Tech Report». Sports Cars Illustrated. 1 (10). April 1956.
- Günter Engelen, Mike Riedner, Hans-Dieter Seufert (1999), Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (in German) (2 ed.), p. 31, ISBN 978-3-613-01268-4
- In: media.daimler.com, aufgerufen am 25. Juli 2017.
- ^ Faszination. ISBN 978-3613305144.
- ^ Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Test in Auto, Motor und Sport, Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart, Heft 21/1955, Reprint in Motor Klassik, Spezial Nr. 3.
- Thomas Imhof, Mercedes SL, Moevig 1990, S. 20.
- Mercedes-Benz SL Series Recognition and Fact Guide. pp. 19–20. ISBN .
- Mercedes 300 SL Technical data booklet (MB order no. 6510 1257 00 ed.). Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaf. 1957.
- Mercedes-Benz Workshop Manual Type 300SL. Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaf. 1956.
- Rohde, Michael; Koch, Detlev (2000). Typenkompass Mercedes-Benz. Stuttgart: Motorbuch Verlag. p. 41. ISBN 978-3-613-02019-1.
- Read, Simon (1975). Stuttgart’s Immortal 300 SL (vol 18 no 2 ed.). Automobile Quarterly. pp. 116–130.
- ^ Nitske, Robert. Mercedes-benz Production Models, 1946-1975: Detailed Descriptions, Specifications, Photos, Production Data, and Prices of All 1945-75 Passenger. pp. 30–31. ISBN .
- Heilig, John (1997). Mercedes-Benz SL. MBI. ISBN 978-0760303283.
- ^ Adler, Dennis (1994). Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. Motorbooks International. ISBN 978-087938882-9.
- «Mercedes-Benz In The US». In Aller Welt (66): 242–243. 1963.
- Engelen/Riedner, Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, S. 242f.
- Herink, Richie (2015). The Car is Architecture: A Visual History of Frank Lloyd Wright’s 85 Cars and One Motorcycle. p. 19. ISBN .
- Le Moine, Eric (2012). Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé / Gullwing Register #198.040 & #198.043 (2 ed.).
- Fitch, John (1975). Two Decades Later. Flying Low in the 300 SL (18 #2 ed.). Automobile Quarterly. pp. 131–133.
- McGraw, Jim (November 2016). «Bonneville Bob, Big Pete, Tall Mike and the Gullwing». Vintage Motorsport.:64–69
- Autoweek, 11 November 2013; motorauthority.com, 25 March 2014; jalopnik.com, 11 December 2013
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300 SL beside the SLS AMG
A less expensive, 1.9 litre Roadster was introduced in 1955 as the Mercedes 190SL. This was followed by the 230 SL.
Sports Car International magazine ranked the 300 SL as the number 5 sports car of all time.
Subsequent generations of the Mercedes-Benz SL-Class have been continually produced such as the Mercedes-Benz W113 (1963–71) and the Mercedes-Benz R129 (1989–2001). However, the SL has since evolved to become a more autobahn-focused grand tourer due to increasing weight, especially with its optional V12 engine in later iterations. The last two generations of the SL are hardtop convertibles with technological and comfort amenities.
A limited edition, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, a Mercedes-Benz-McLaren Automotive joint venture produced a hand-built all-aluminium 5.4 l (330 cu in), 626 PS (460 kW; 617 hp) supercharged V8 in 2003. A 571 PS (420 kW; 563 hp) 6.2 l (380 cu in) V8 powered Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG made its debut in 2009. Described by Mercedes as a spiritual successor to the 300 SL Coupe.
A 426 kW (571 hp), 320 km/h (200 mph), gull-winged Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was introduced in 2009.
SLS AMG production was brought to a close at the end of 2014. and was replaced by the AMG GT with traditional doors and a much smaller twin-turbo V8 engine designed to compete against the Porsche 911 and Audi R8.
300 SL members are supported by the Gull Wing Group International which started in 1961.
As part of a partnership between Mercedes-Benz and Nintendo, the Wii U game Mario Kart 8 and its Nintendo Switch update Mario Kart 8 Deluxe feature a 300 SL Roadster as a playable in-game vehicle, added as part of a post-launch downloadable game update on August 27, 2014.
Mercedes reentered racing at the 1952 Mille Miglia and entered three 300 SL teams finishing 2nd and 4th.
Werner Engel won the 1955 European Rally Championship driving a 300 SL.
Stirling Moss won overall at the 1955 Mille Miglia on a 300 SLR racing car while John Fitch driving a Production 300 SL Coupe won his class
The marathon rally Liege-Rome-Liege was won in 1955 by Olivier Gendebien and won in 1956 by Willy Mairesse.
Competing in Class D, a 300 SL won the Sports Car Club of America championship three years running from 1955–1957.
Over three hundred 300 SLs were counted in the parking lot of the annual 12 Hours of Sebring endurance race in 1956.
In the United States, Paul O’Shea became a champion in the Class D racing class in 1957 in a Roadster.
The car also had a victory in the Rali Vinho da Madeira in 1960.
Wins by the 300 SL W-194 Facrory Race cars in the 1952 Carrera Pan-Americana and at Le Mans followed,
The car had a top speed of 160 mph (257 km/h) vs 180 mph (290 km/h) for the Ferraris and Maseratis it competed against.
Instead, it was to be the most durable and able to maintain its top speed for over 11 hours in some races.[which?]
Bob Sirna, a previous president of the Gull Wing Group International organization set a new Bonneville Speedway F/GT speed record in 2016 in a highly modified Coupe, establishing a new high speed for a 3L Sport car of 190.759 mph (306.997 kilometres per hour).