1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL: A True Forefather

26 Oct

From a young age I have been collecting model cars.  Not the plastic ones that you build yourself with glue and a large vocabulary of curse words but rather the ones made of diecast metal.  It started with the average Hotwheels and then migrated to the larger 1:18 scale models and included other brands like Burago, Autoart, and Maisto.  I’ve accumulated nearly 40 of lease larger scale models over the years and I still pick one up when the occasion permits.  For the wealth challenged it’s a good way too feel like you’re a part of the collector car elite… kind of.

1:18 Scale 300SL

WordPress.com lists its top blogs of the day, every day, out of its over 400,000 bloggers.  I recently stumbled upon an excellent one that covered the Mercedes Benz 300SL.  What does this have to do with car models?  Out of the 40 or so models that I have, an original and favorite of the collection is a silver 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL.  I acquired it at a young age when my knowledge of car mechanics was still in its fledgling stages.  I remember admiring the sleek, timeless design and of course the magnificent gull-wing doors.  What really caught my attention was the detailed engine bay.  I didn’t know what it was at the time but lifting the long reverse hood revealed something I wasn’t used to seeing in a car from the 50’s era.  All the models I had from that time period up to that point had engine bays that were dominated by huge air cleaner housings.  The 1955 300sSL was different and there wasn’t any bulky air cleaner or carburetor to be found.  Being the curious sort and always hungry for automotive knowledge I quickly discovered why.

3.0L GDI Straight Six

The Mercedes Benz 300SL was a giant in its time, figuratively.  Like the Tucker Torpedo a decade earlier, the 300SL had technology above and beyond any other car on the road.  Unlike the Tucker; however, the Benz had the backing of big money, a well known brand, and plenty of resources.  Based from the design of a race car the 300SL was powered by a 3.0L straight 6 engine that was one of the first cars to utilize fuel injection, a technology that was years ahead of its time and even then they used throttle body fuel injection.  The 300SL was equipped with what is called gasoline direct injection technology, a form of fuel injection that can be found in the most advanced engines today and is just now becoming widely used.  Rather than squiritng the fuel into the throttle body like in TBI (throttle body injection) systems and allowing it to flow into the cylinders, GDI (gasoline direct injection) has fuel injectors that spray the fuel directly into the combustion chamber, allowing more efficient combustion and maximum power output.  GDI is considered to be even better than direct port injection, which sprays fuel into the combustion chamber from behind the intake valve, another technology that didn’t show up until years after the 300SL.

1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL

Producing over 200 horsepower and capable of reaching speeds in excess of 150 mph, the 300SL was the super car of the 1950’s.  With a price tag of around $10,000 new, a clean 1954-1957 gull-wing will now bring anywhere between $500,000 to 1 million dollars.  Not a bad investment.  I could only afford a 300SL in my wildest dreams and maybe that just makes it that much more desirable.  You always want what you probably can’t have.  No matter, the Mercedes Benz 300SL was a giant among the other autos of its day and is now the reverenced founder of many of today’s performance cars.  The new SLS AMG was created in the 300SL’s image, and while it doesn’t have that 1950’s flair, it is an impressive machine.  Car models and designs will come and go but only a handful, such as the Mercedes Benz 300SL, become immortal.

Reflections of the day – Mercedes Benz 300SL.


3 Responses to “1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL: A True Forefather”

  1. nevin October 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm #

    Hey long time no see. Great article on the 300sl. As a tribute you should buy an sls amg diecast.

  2. amazing weathervane October 31, 2011 at 4:05 pm #

    This design is spectacular! You most certainly know how to keep a reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Fantastic job. I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it. Too cool!

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