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Mercedes-Benz: Mercedes 300 SL
Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was conceived initially as a purpose-built
racing sports car (W 194). In 1952, the coupe notched up an
impressive record of success in the year’s major races. At the
Grand Prix in Bern the 300 SL sealed a clean sweep of the podium
places, an awesome performance backed up by a one-two finish
ahead of a stunned field in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
duly yielded another one-two-three, and the new Mercedes racing
sports car also claimed victory at the Carrera Panamericana
in Mexico. It all added up to a majestic return to motor sport
for Mercedes-Benz, picking up where the brand had left off during
a highly successful period before the Second World War.
Out on the road, you quickly
realized why the 300 SL had been christened with those
particular letters – the car was certainly Sporty and Light.
With an engine delivering 215 hp and a total weight of only
around 1,300 kilograms, acceleration was suitably impressive
– especially with the right choice of rear axle ratio.
Exceptional torque ensured good
pulling power at any speed. The steering was direct and the
suspension made sure that the car hugged the road nicely.
There’s no doubt that the 300 SL was a sports car of the
finest pedigree. That said, it was far from impractical, as
many owners were quick to appreciate.
For them, this was
a high-speed touring car which offered precise driving characteristics
but which avoided sapping the energy of the driver unduly. The
trunk was sufficiently large, complemented as it was by the
extra room behind the seats for additional baggage. Plus, customers
could order a made-to-measure luggage set designed to make the
most of the space available.