The Mercedes 300SL (3 litre "Sport Leicht" or Sport Light), two-seat sports coupe was introduced in 1954 at that years New York Auto Show. Best known for its distinctive "gull wing" doors and direct fuel injection system it was the fastest production car of its day, capable of 161mph. It's design is loosely built upon the 1952 W194 300 series sports racers, which had been very successful in competition.

    Daimler-Benz AG's road going W198 design was the suggestion of Max Hoffman, the Austrian born U.S. importer of considerable reputation and influence, and  Daimler-Benz's official importer, who had seen a niche in the booming post-war American market and intended to supply the car for his customers, in the end more than 80% of the 1400 vehicles built were sold in the U.S.

    Rudolf Uhlenhart had been with Mercedes for some time and was an extremely good engineer. He designed a tubular metal skeleton of a chassis to be strong but also light weight. This meant part of the chassis ran high along the sides leaving a high sill and doors only half the size of more conventional designs, Ulenharts answer was the upward opening "gullwing" doors. The high sill and gullwing doors became iconic but the cars hidden new feature was a tilt away steering column. The body was mostly steel but with Aluminium hood, doors and boot lid. A saving of 80kg could be had by ordering the all Aluminium outer skin, though at an extremely inflated price!

    An interesting development on the exterior of the car was the horizontal "eyebrows" positioned over wheel arches. In aerodynamic studies wheel openings were found to increase drag, diverting air over the openings helped reduce the drag. The four-wheel independent suspension gave a comfortable ride and excellent overall handling and steering that was very precise for the 1950s.

   The gull wing version was only available from 1955 to 1957 but production of the roadster continued untill 1963 when the 230SL was ntroduced.

                                                                      1/24th scale kit.

                                                                          Built by Rod. 

    Restored in May 1998, after an accident at home, this model has benefitted from the Halfords car paints and bare metal foil. Heller have made some lovely kits over the years, nicely detailed, accurate and usually straight forward to build. Bare metal foil has been used to restor the chrome parts, this was a new product in the UK in the mid to late 1990s and takes a little bit of experience to get the bst out of (rather like spraying Alclad does).

    Aurora were one of the major manufacturers of model kits in the 50s and 60s and their range covered allaspects of the then quite new hobby. Amongst the cars on offer was the Mercedes 300 SL roadster, and Rod built this one way back in the early 1960's.

   The model shows the limitations of materials at that time as well as the level at which Rod was as a modeller. Remember we said we wanted to show our early efforts too, so you can see that all modellers start at the bottom and work their way up. Incidentaly if you are still brush painting with enamels always try to brush in the same direction.

    Try and imagine this model spray painted and with bare metal foil or alclad on the wheels and bumpers, great looking car.