The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is a two-seat sports car that was produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1954 to 1957 as a gullwinged coupé and from 1957 to 1963 as a roadster. The 300 SL traces its origins to the company’s 1952 racing car, the W194, and was equipped with a mechanical direct fuel injection system that significantly increased the power output of its three-liter engine.

The 300 SL was capable of reaching speeds of up to 263 km/h , earning it a reputation as a sports car racing champion and making it the fastest production car of its time. The car’s iconic gullwing doors and innovative lightweight tubular-frame construction contributed to its status as a groundbreaking and highly influential automobile.

The designation “SL” is an abbreviation of the German term “super-leicht,” meaning “super-light,” a reference to the car’s racing-bred lightweight construction. The 300 SL was introduced to the American market at the suggestion of Max Hoffman, Mercedes-Benz’s United States importer at the time, who recognized the potential demand for a high-performance sports car among American buyers.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL remains a highly sought-after classic car and is celebrated for its performance, design, and technological advancements.

In a partnership with Nintendo and Mercedes-Benz, the 300 SL appears as an in-game vehicle in Mario Kart 8 and its Nintendo Switch port.

The idea of Mercedes producing a toned-down Grand Prix car targeted to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman at a 1953 directors’ meeting in Stuttgart. Mercedes’ new general director, Fritz Konecke, agreed to Hoffman’s order for 1,000 cars to guarantee the success of the production run.

In addition, the production of a smaller roadster, the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, was announced after Hoffman ordered another 1,000 of them. The 300 SL and the 190 SL premiered at the 1954 New York show; Mercedes-Benz experienced a positive visitor response to both, and production began at the Sindelfingen plant in August of that year.

The price for the 300 SL coupe in Germany was DM 29,000, and $6,820 in the US. The roadster was DM 32,500 in Germany, and $10,950 in the US – 10 percent more expensive than the coupe in Europe, and over 70 percent more in the US.

 Béla Barényi is an Austrian engineer of Hungarian origin. In the safety department, Mercedes owes a lot to him.

 The text of Mercedes’ how they remembered to Barényi: “No one in the world has cared as much about making cars safe as this man.”

 Barény, still the only Hungarian, was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1994, located in Dearborn, near Detroit. In 1999, he was nominated for the Car Engineer of the Century award.

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