By Joshua Fraser
Photos by Michael Steer and Massimo Santoro
When one thinks of the greatest cars of all time, the cars that generally come to mind are the likes of the Ferrari 250 GTO, McLaren F1 and of course the Ferrari F40. What they also think of – the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. With its Gullwing doors, world’s fastest car record and innovative technology, it’s no wonder it’s one of the most iconic cars of all time and has skyrocketed to the top of every automotive collector’s dreams.
The car is so special that Mercedes-AMG many decades later designed and created a spiritual successor, the SLS AMG. Recently, working in conjunction with the team over at Adelaide Exotic Car Spotting, we got to spend the day with the iconic machine and its younger sibling, the SLS AMG!
Meeting at the club rooms on King William Rd, the two cars sat together in front of the beautiful Car Club building. From there, we departed for our photoshoot location – Bridgewater.
For the ride up, I was in the 300 SL. Before hopping in the car, I was informed of several steps as to just how one gets in the 300 SL; which turned out to be quite helpful. With the car being a 1955 model and seatbelts becoming a standard component of the automobile in the late 1950’s, the 300 SL is without seatbelts. As for the ride, the red leather seats were very comfortable and the interior was extremely roomy. Sound-wise, the interior was quite loud, especially heading up the Freeway. Despite its age, the car appeared to be in perfect condition – both visually and mechanically.
Once we arrived at our beautiful location, the Bridgewater Mill, the cars were set up, wings up and ready. Utilizing the opportunity to its full, we set the cars up in several different spots and angles. The location with the cars, made for some beautiful photographs.
Soon enough it was time to head home. Massimo (the photographer) and I swapped so I was now in the SLS AMG. The difference in eras was evident. Road and engine noise was far less but the gorgeous V8 could still be heard upon accelerating. It was incredible to experience both cars and get to feel firsthand the advancements the automotive world had made within that 60-year period.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL made its world debut in 1954 and the following year made history when it became the ‘World’s Fastest Production Car’. With a speed top speed of 242km/h, the car held the record for four years before being dethroned by the Aston Martin DB4 by just 3km/h.
The car also made history by becoming the first ever production car to feature fuel injection. This along with the record breaking top speed and Gullwing doors makes the 300 SL a serious car for automotive collectors. Records indicate the 300 SL is now worth around $1 to $2.5 US million. Just 1,400 Gullwings were created.
The car is so special that in 2006 Mercedes-AMG set to design and build a modern day version of the 300 SL. Titled the SLS AMG, the car featured similar design elements with the long bonnet and of course, the Gullwing doors. Being 55 years later, it should be no surprise that the SLS is faster, but not fast enough to challenge for the world’s fastest car record like its predecessor did. With a massive 560 horsepowered engine, the car is capable of 317km/h! The SLS AMG was the first car to be designed and built solely by AMG, unlike other vehicles which have been created by Mercedes but then modified by AMG.
The photo shoot provided are very rare and special occasion for the two models to be in the same place at the same time. The occasion also marks the first automotive photoshoot between the Sporting Car Club and Adelaide Exotic Car Spotting (AECS). It is a new initiative to get younger automotive fans into the club, promoting our club to the younger audience of AECS! We would like to thank both owners for bringing their cars out on what was truly a memorable day.