Tuesday 26th October 2021

Special exhibition "Fascination SL - a dream car for 70 years"

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Nine SL sports cars on a serpentine loop, including the oldest existing SL, as well as numerous other exhibits and elements: the new special exhibition "Fascination SL - a dream car for 70 years" at the Mercedes-Benz Museum welcomes visitors. It opens on October 22, 2021 and is expected to run until May 15, 2022. In March 1952, almost 70 years ago, Mercedes-Benz presented the 300 SL. The thoroughbred racing sports car took four wins in five races in the same year. Calls for a production version are loud. Mercedes-Benz reacted and presented the 1954 SL Coupé and the comfortable 300 SL Roadster in 190. Since then, there has been an uninterrupted tradition of series vehicles with the famous two letters: the "S" stands for "super" and the "L" for "light". Mercedes-Benz will continue to write the success story of the SL in the future.

The full story
Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz

The special exhibition at the Mercedes-Benz Museum tells the complete history of the SL sports car. The 1952 SL racing sports car with chassis number 300 stands for the initial spark in 2: It is the oldest SL in existence and has been continuously owned by the factory. The first series SL is then the 300 SL Coupé from 1954. This famous "gullwing" and all other SL series to this day can be seen in the special exhibition. A showcase has presented the SL technology innovations since 1952. Not only does the serpentine loop ensure travel flair, but also a colorful wall design with holiday postcards from all over the world with the Mercedes-Benz SL.

The vehicles in the special exhibition "Fascination SL - a dream car for 70 years"

300 SL racing sports car (W 194), chassis number 2, 1952

Immediately successful: with the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194), Mercedes-Benz returned to international racing for the first time after the Second World War. The result: triple victory in Bern, double victories in Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, quadruple victory at the Nürburgring. The vehicle on display with chassis number 194 010 00002/52 is the oldest SL in existence worldwide - in factory ownership since 1952.

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SL racing sports car. Photo from the start of a stage of III. Carrera Panamericana in Mexico, November 19th to 23rd, 1952. The photo shows the later winning team Karl Kling / Hans Klenk. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: R5274)

300 SL Coupé (W 198), 1955

Dream sports car to this day: Design and technology make the 1954 SL presented in New York in February 300 so fascinating. It is called "gullwing", "gullwing" or "papillon" (butterfly). The doors attached to the roof are not an aesthetic end in themselves, they are technically necessary. Because the tubular space frame is so high on the side that conventional door constructions cannot be realized.

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé (W 198). Production time of the series from 1954 to 1957. Drawing “Performance ahead” from the sales brochure from 1955 with reference to the brand's motorsport successes. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: 1998DIG1)

190 SL (W 121), 1959

Comfortable, sporty open-top driving: these have been key features of the Mercedes-Benz SL since the 190 SL. It was presented in New York in 1954 together with the 300 SL Coupé and has been a perfect complement to the model portfolio since its market launch in 1955 as an open roadster. Both vehicles and the 300 SL Roadster go back to the initiative of the US importer Maximilian E. Hoffman. A total of 25.881 copies of the 190 SL were built.

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Mercedes-Benz 190 SL (W 121). Production time of the series from 1955 to 1963. Advertising photo from the 1950s on the North Sea island of Sylt in the morning sun. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: 83F60)

300 SL Roadster (W 198), 1961

Racing genes and the glamor of an open-top sports car: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster perfectly combines both. It was presented in Geneva in March 1957 as the successor to the coupé. It has a further developed chassis, later it will receive disc brakes and an engine block made of cast aluminum. With the 300 SLS derived from the production version, Paul O'Shea became US sports car champion in category D in 1957.

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Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster (W 198). Production time of the series from 1957 to 1963. Genre photo from 1961 in the vineyards on the Rotenberg in Stuttgart with a view of the Mercedes-Benz Untertürkheim plant in the background. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: F258)

230 SL (W 113), 1965

The "Pagoda": At the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz presented the 230 SL of the W 113 series. It was designed as a comfortable two-seater touring car with high performance and at the same time replaced the 190 SL (W 121) and the 300 SL Roadster ( W 198). The shape of the optional hardtop is reminiscent of Asian temples and has earned it the nickname “pagoda”. It is the world's first open passenger car with a safety body.

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Mercedes-Benz SL of the W 113 "Pagoda" series. Production time of the series from 1963 to 1971. Genre photo in a snowy high alpine landscape with winter sports equipment on the rear. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: 1999DIG1969)

500 SL (R 107), 1982

Elegance and solidity: this is what the SL of the R 107 series exudes. It premiered 50 years ago in the spring of 1971. For the first time in the history of the Mercedes-Benz SL, eight-cylinder engines are also working under the bonnet. With a production time of more than 18 years, the R 107 series sets an internal brand record that can hardly be surpassed. Accordingly, there is a very wide range of engine variants over the term.

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Mercedes-Benz 350 SL (R 107). Production time of the series from 1971 to 1989. Genre photo with blossoming trees from 1972. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: 1999DIG154)

SL 500 "SL Edition" (R 129), 2000

Innovation carrier: Mercedes-Benz presented the SL of the R 129 series at the Geneva Motor Show in 1989. The stylish design with its extremely harmonious overall effect is considered one of the bravura pieces of the design division under the leadership of Bruno Sacco at the time. This SL also sets new standards in terms of safety: important components are the automatic roll bar and the force-absorbing integral seats. The vehicle on display is an "SL Edition" from 2000.

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Mercedes-Benz SL of the R 129 series. Production time of the series from 1989 to 2001. Genre photo in front of windmills in Portugal. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: 89F439)

SL 500 (R 230), 2001

The SL generation R 2001 premiered in 230. Its most noticeable innovation is the vario-roof, a folding top made of solid sheet steel: the vehicle becomes a roadster - and vice versa, a coupé - in just 16 seconds. The design combines tradition and future, for example through the air openings in the front fenders and the narrow, wing-like profiles on them. They are reminiscent of the legendary 300 SL from the W 198 series.

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Mercedes-Benz SL 500 (R 230). Production time of the series from 2001 to 2012. Genre photo from 2001. (Photo signature of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Archive: A2001F2628)

SL 500 "Mille Miglia 417" (R 231), 2015

In January 2012, to mark the 60th birthday of the SL, Mercedes-Benz presented the R 231 series. One focus of the new design was on reducing the weight of the sports car. It has a body shell made of aluminum, the trunk lid is made of steel and plastic, and magnesium and plastic are used in the roof system. Numerous systems for active safety and comfort are standard or available on request. The Mercedes-Benz Museum is open daily from Tuesday to Sunday from 9 a.m. to 18 p.m. The ticket office always closes at 17 p.m.

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