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1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe

Country of Origin
Germany
Horsepower
215
Displacement
6-CYLINDER, 3.0 L

This car belonged to Dr. Simeone’s father Anthony and has been in our collection for over 40 years. It is in unrestored, original condition.

THESE CARS

In 1954, they introduced the SL (Sport Light). Because its low-slung chassis incorporated a frame which extended over to the side of the body, Mercedes hinged the doors at the roof, thus giving the gull wing appearance when both opened. This car had many design features besides its doors, most notably the fact it was the first production car with fuel injection. It had an overhead valve inline 6-cylinder engine of 3-liter capacity which developed 190 horsepower. In line with the 4-speed manual transmission, rack and pinion steering, and independent front and swing axle rear suspension, the top speed of 152 miles per hour was reasonable with a 0-60 in 7.2 seconds.

The car was introduced shortly after Daimler-Benz had converted its war effort and in 1952 they were victorious in the World Sports Car Manufacturers Championship and in the recently formed Sports Car category. American distributor Max Hoffman recognized the market for this car in the United States and after successful sales in 1954, he received his first order on this side of the ocean in March 1955. 1400 Gullwings were manufactured from 1954 to 1956 of which 1100 came to the United States distributed by Mr. Hoffman.

The cramped quarters and the heat control in the coupe led to the development of a roadster with similar chassis but with modifications, such as disc brakes unveiled in 1957. The beautiful lines of the roadster are incomparable for any car of its time. With the 6-cylinder engine tilted it was possible to achieve a low hood line which complemented the functional streamlining of the rest of the car. These cars could engage in various types of road racing, “right out of the box,” from a dealer’s showroom floor. Approximately 26 lightweight (all aluminum body) models pushed their sporting intentions even further.

OUR CAR

I remember when Dad came home, proudly, after finding one in a local used car lot. It was a beautiful black car with around 30,000 miles, with original upholstery and in an excellent condition. Dad was a tireless mechanic, and he went over the engine completely, replacing what it needed to operate perfectly, and it has done so ever since. The thing I like about our car is that it still has its original black paint which is almost show-quality condition, except for roughness on the driver’s side door.

The plating was always excellent and Dad had access to 300SL parts directly from the local Mercedes dealer. He fortunately ordered extras that are still in their pretty blue and white containers. These cars are not rare, with over 1,400 made, but few of them can brag about original paint and upholstery which will always remain untouched while in our possession.

Mercedes-Benz 300SL “Gullwing” Coupe, ahead of its time, one of the most acclaimed sporting two-seaters ever made, a pristine example from just 1400 produced between 1954 and 1957, a scrapbook trophy even for veterans of the car-testing trade.

MotorTrend

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About the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum

Located in Philadelphia, PA, the Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum is one of the world’s greatest collections of racing sports cars. Through our theme, “The Spirit of Competition”, we celebrate the history and evolution of these magnificent machines.

Assembled over 50 years by Dr. Frederick Simeone, the Museum contains over 75 historically significant cars including Ferrari, Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Mercedes, Jaguar, Bentley, Porsche, Aston Martin, Corvette, Ford, and more.

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