Close Up: The Mercedes 300SL Gullwing

With its racing pedigree and iconic swooping doors, the 300SL is considered a masterpiece, and one of the most desirable cars on
the planet.

This highly detailed 1:8 scale model kit has been meticulously replicated from a surviving 1955 coupé and includes a wealth of authentic functions and features, including opening top-hinged Gullwing doors, a retractable steering wheel and Karl Baisch luggage.

The opening hood reveals the 3-liter straight-six engine – a technological innovation. Tilted at a 45 degree angle to fit as low as possible, the 300SL was the first road going car to use direct fuel-injection, giving it 215 hp. For comparison in the 1950s, the Chevy Corvette had about 150hp and the Porsche 356 had about 130hp. The 300SL was in a league of its own.

Performance was also attributed to its light-weight tubular frame (shown in the picture below), weighing only 180 lbs, but giving a door sill structure that was very wide and higher than the seats. This structure necessitated a different door solution - the iconic top-hinged door design. Such a high door sill made getting in and out more of a challenge. To tackle this, designers ensured the steering wheel could pivot forward, clearing more leg room. Women buyers were even given private lessons on getting in and out!

The image below also shows the stunning ivory-colored steering wheel and gearstick which are utterly beautiful.

The dashboard includes a wealth of buttons, switches and dials – none of them labeled. The premise was – if you knew – you knew! Our build instructions will give detailed button function to ensure you know! At the time of its launch the 300SL was about two to three times more expensive than the top sports cars of the day, and for this reason it was mainly reserved for the very rich and famous. Owners include Elvis Presley, Sophia Loren and Clark Gable. With only 1,400 built, they are also hard to find.

The lines of the 300SL bodywork are incredible. This is simply one of the most beautiful cars ever built.

Its most distinguishing features include the front fender vents which help heat escape from the engine, and also the eyebrows over the front wheel arches which stop rainwater coming up from the wheels and splashing the windshield. The eyebrows over the rear wheels are styled to give a symmetrical line.

We’ve just finished our build at Agora HQ – here's a picture we love showing some of the detail you can look forward to...

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