Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (1954-1963)

Make & Model Family

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W198) was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster.

Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the direct fuel injected production model was based on the company's highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carbureted overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194.

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This article is about the 1954–1963 model.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W198) was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster.

Built by Daimler-Benz AG, the direct fuel injected production model was based on the company's highly successful yet somewhat less powerful carbureted overhead cam straight 6 1952 racer, the W194.

The idea of a toned-down Grand Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL – 300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement and SL for Sport Leicht (Sport Light) – was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva gatherings company models made their usual debuts.

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