The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL and 190 SL sports cars were designed at the instigation of the American importer Maximilian Hoffman who had been urging the company to come up with light and dashing sports cars for his customers.
The powerful 300 SL was directly derived from the incredibly beautiful and successful 1952 racing sports coupe and shared an intriguing detail feature with the latter: doors hinged at the top, earning the car its epithet "Gullwing" in its largest market, the USA.
The 190 SL was set up on a shortened frame/floor unit of the successful 180 sedan. Both new models sold highly successfully and became the dream cars of the 1950s. If you want one of the original 1400 Gullwings, you'll need a lazy US$300,000 plus and the patience to wait for one to come on to the market.
In 1955, Mercedes finished racing having achieved extraordinary levels of success and went back to building luxury cars. The current SL-Class is the fifth generation of the two-seater.
The commemorative special edition vehicle is available as either an SL 500 with an eight-cylinder engine or as an SL 350 with a V6 drive.
The car comes with an extensive range of standard equipment that includes COMAND APS with a Europe-wide DVD navigation function, as well as ventilated seats with multi-contour function and nappa leather upholstery. Characteristic features of the anniversary edition are the "Edition 50" logo on the headrests, the centre console trims and the striking vents of the front wings, as well as the special paint colours "Silver Arrow" and "designo brilliant black metallic".
The Edition 50 underscores the SL's special standing by adding exclusive details that give the car a special touch. Examples include the silver matte painted radiator grille with chrome slats, the 18-inch light alloy wheels with a turbine design, the mirror-finish decorative curb strips, a wind deflector with a mirror-finish frame, and tinted rear lights. The instrument cluster is decorated with an exquisite leather-Alcantara combination, while the seats are covered with soft nappa leather and the interior trims consist of either a new aluminium decoration or black ash. Depending on the customer's tastes, the leather coverings are also available in two tones (condor silver/black) or in monochrome designo black with quartz-coloured seam lines.
The vehicle is equipped with a range of innovative Mercedes products, such as the COMAND APS radio/navigation system, which is connected to a CD changer and a Surround-Sound system as standard, as well as ventilated luxury seats with a multi-contour function and a laser-ingrained "Edition 50" logo in the headrests. Other standard features of the special edition SL include:
The SL 350 Edition 50 delivers 180 kW/245 hp and is equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission as standard. The car costs Û91,814 ex works.
Underneath the bonnet of the SL 500 Edition 50 is a 225 kW/306 hp, V8 engine that is connected to a 7G-TRONIC seven-speed automatic transmission. The car is priced at Û109,156 ex works.
The special-edition SL will be produced in a limited run of 500 units and be available until the end of 2004. The car is a left-hand-drive vehicle.