Mercedes Gullwing: The Best Benz Ever Built

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1956 300SL Gullwing exudes style and class

Even in rat rod spec, this 1956 300SL exudes style and class.

We came across this 300SL Gullwing on Bring a Trailer, and it got us thinking that there’s a solid argument for it being not just Mercedes’ greatest car built to date, but simply the greatest car built to date.

The 300SL Gullwing doesn’t need qualifiers before you heap praise upon it. It’s not just a “for its time” car although, of course, in its time was a sports car on the cutting edge. Most notably for being the first production car built with fuel injection and being the fastest production car at the time by taking that mantle from Jaguar‘s XK120. Mercedes has a long list of being the first production car with features that have become standard in modern cars. But, that’s not the crowning reason this model has become such a timeless machine.

1956 300SL Gullwing exudes style and class

What tips the 300SL into greatest car ever made territory is the way they packaged the next level performance and power within such an amazing aesthetic design, complete with gullwing doors, that still looks beautiful today. Even an example like this that is in dire need of some restoration.

The rust patches, faded paint, and tatty brightwork doesn’t hide the sheer level of class the 300SL Gullwing carries itself with. It’s a kind of class that tells you the owner has both style and taste – examples of owners include Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, and Sophia Loren.

1956 300SL Gullwing exudes style and class

Obviously, they have wealth as well, but no 300SL would never be so vulgar as to brag about that that kind of thing. It’s simply the cost of something so bespoke, not something so obscene as a badge of wealth. That’s why it’s one of the few cars in existence that can carry of gullwing doors.

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Ian Wright has been a professional writer for two years and is a regular contributor to Corvette Forum, Jaguar Forum, and 6SpeedOnline, among other auto sites.

His obsession with cars started young and has left him stranded miles off-road in Land Rovers, being lost far from home in hot hatches, going sideways in rallycross cars, being propelled forward in supercars and, more sensibly, standing in fields staring at classic cars. His first job was as a mechanic and then trained as a driving instructor before going into media production.

The automotive itch never left though, and he realized writing about cars is his true calling. However, that doesn’t stop him from also hosting the Both Hand Drive podcast.

Ian can be reached at [email protected]

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