The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing was a dream car decades ago when it came out. It was a race car for the road. It was light and aerodynamic, classy and potent. And it still keeps its reputation today. Car vlogger Doug DeMuro got his hands on one.
You can’t just go out and buy a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing. Only 1,400 such cars rolled off the assembly line of the plant in West Germany, in the company of the 1,858 roadster units. Not many have survived the decades. And those who did, are either in mint condition and worth millions of dollars, or look like they should go straight to the scrap yard. The restoration would go as far as a million dollars probably. When it came into the world, in 1955, the 300 SL Gullwing started at DM 29,000 and $6,820 in the U.S.
A tubular spaceframe, a 3.0-liter inline-six engine and 240 horsepower, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing had a road behavior that confirmed the looks. And when the doors sprang upwards, it was like a magic trick. There wasn’t a single head that didn’t turn.
Now the famous car vlogger Doug DeMuro takes the iconic automobile for a spin. For him, the hardest part is to fit in the driver’s seat over the high threshold. Not even the folding steering wheel helps much.
There are so many dials on the dashboard and none of them is labeled. You just have to guess your way through them. An ignition key slot hardly noticeable is right there in the dashboard as well, next to the lights control switch. But not the high beam. That was controllable from the footwell, the driver had to press the switch with his left leg. There is though something you can’t help noticing. Stirling Moss’s signature is right in front of the passenger’s seat.
The turn signal lever is on the right side, where Mercedes is currently fitting the gear lever.
Doug DeMuro explains why the doors of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing do not open
As strange as it may seem, the windows do not roll down. The curvy shape of the doors would not allow it. But they pop out instead and the driver can store them in the trunk, for example.
A little design detail is mind-blowing. From outside you can put your hands through the roof openings in the back of the gullwing doors. They are there to evacuate the air and equalize pressure when you open and close the doors.
But does Doug DeMuro actually go driving the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing? Yes, he hits the road in the iconic car. With his head just millimeters down from the ceiling and feeling the space around him is pretty tight, he spins the thin elegant steering wheel and finds the car is easier to drive than he thought.
Check the video below for his experience with the classic.