Every once in a while there comes along the perfect automobile that transcends time and fashion. The Mercedes-Benz 300SL was introduced in 1954—in a post WWII Europe that was equal parts performance and design. Presented as a grand tourer, the car with the fastest production automobile of its day. It’s styling—as an open roadster or unique gull-winged door sports car oozes opulence. It was clearly a car for a refined class of enthusiast.
And, interestingly, the car was presented to an American audience first at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than at the usual European shows in Frankfurt or Geneva. The gull wing version was available from March 1955 to 1957, the roadster from 1957 to 1963. There were 3,258 built—1,400 coupes and 1,858 Roadsters.
The “SL” line of roadsters (which stood for "Sport Leicht" or “Sport Light”) has been produced by Mercedes-Benz ever since, but in our opinion, none have ever lived up to the original. The cars now often sell at auction for over $1 million.