„Only Flying is better“

The original article on The Mechanists, Gallery at the bottom.

The slogan was used by Mercedes-Benz to introduce the successor of the 300SL Gullwing, the 300SL Roadster.

In 1957 open-top two-seaters were incredibly popular which lead to the decision to convert the legendary W198, Gullwing, into its roadster version. The production of Mercedes’ new highlight started in 1957 and ended in 1963.

The main frame structure remained the same, however the sides needed to be lowered in order to fit the conventional front-hinged doors, which also lead to a more comfortable entering into the car.

The frame’s flatter rear-ends and a redesigned fuel reservoir lead to the possibility for the spare wheel now being able to be stowed underfloor and the area beneath the boot lid could properly be called a boot. The soft top was easy to operate and was stowed under a purpose-built hatch behind the seats when not required.

In late 1958, Mercedes offered in addition a hardtop, as an easy-to-fit option for colder days.

 

Equipped with a new rear axle design, this model boasted state-of-the-art handling characteristics and in 1961 became the first Mercedes-Benz production car to be given disc brakes on all four wheels.

The driving ability of the Roadster lead to impression straight away.

Although the car gained another 120 kg due to the reconstruction of the car, it impresses immediately. “The strong tendency to over-steering has been changed in a light under-steering, so that one can drive this vehicle within short time with certainty up to the border. According to Mr. Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Mr. Karl Kling 300 roadsters SL lies with regard to road ability between the Grand Prix racing car and 300 SLR.” The fathers of the legendary silver arrow racing cars could hardly issue a better report to the sports car. In March, 1961 the chassis was further improved by the usage of disc brakes in all four wheels.

Yours, 

Laura Kukuk

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