springleap.com awesome design contests, community & shops


Great Design Monday: Mercedes Gullwing

shoutOut on 8/10/12 by travis.lyle1 in peeps

The Mercedes Benz 300 SL coupé, or 'Gullwing'. It started life, way back in 1952, as a racing car. With a distinctive design marked by aerodynamic lines that evoked the power and shape of the Spitfire, one the most advanced aircraft of its time, it was no surprise that only two years after its race launch, it became a production model street car. And the world has a New York Mercedes car importer to thank for that - for without the advice of Max Hoffman, the 300 SL (the first in the grand lineage of SL's), the Gullwing might never have become the iconic automobile that it remains to this day. It was the car that every man wanted to drive, and every woman wanted to be driven in. And of course, then there are those amazing swing doors...

Sure, many versions of this car were later built, but with only 1,400 units ever made of the original coupé, the 300 SL has become one of the most desirable automobiles ever built. Originally created as a racecar to bolster Daimler-Benz's status and bottom line in the post-war era, what was invincible on the racetrack became the most coveted car of its time when it hit the street. Its spectacular design saw it featured in no less than 22 Hollywood movies (including George Clooney's stint as Batman, and as the most highly-prized target in the original Gone In 60 Seconds). But beyond its undeniably awesome performance - largely due to being the very first fuel-injected production model - it is the sheer beauty of the design of the Gullwing that puts it head and shoulders above the best.

Sleek, low, slim and featuring curves that have been compared to those of a shapely woman by more than one commentator, this is the car that tops the list of every collector of classics. And, of course, the styling is not limited to the immaculate body - the interior is a leading example of luxury automobile design, with red leather seats, beige leather and chrome dashboard and the (nowadays) contentious addition of an ivory gearstick.

Greatest car ever built? Most iconic Mercedes? It's a matter of opinion, but one thing's for sure - it is certainly one of the most enduring design icons of all time.

Price? Around $1-million. Cost of feeding that 3-litre engine? Quite steep. The look on people's faces when you arrive in that car? Priceless. 




no shoutBacks yet