Original Article – Vijay Pattni22 March 2012 (Top Gear)
Think you can get away with building a copycat ‘gullwing’? Think again…
You can’t make the Mercedes-Benz 300SL gullwing, because you’re not Mercedes. And if you do Mercedes will find your ability to make a gullwing replica insignificant next to the power of its force.
In short, Mercedes will crush you. Or it.
Benz has revealed that a replica of its 300SL gullwing was recently seized by German customs officials and destroyed, with Daimler AG taking a “firm line” on vehicle copies.
A German company had apparently produced the replica – seen in the picture above and gallery below – which was found to be in breach of Benz’s rights: Mercedes has had copyright protection on the shape of the gullwing for “a number of decades”, recently confirmed by a Stuttgart regional court. As such, Mercedes took the vehicle and became very displeased with its lack of faith.
But the story doesn’t end there. No, Mercedes has outlined how it destroyed the 300SL, perhaps as a warning for future generations. The Merc used parts centre, which is also responsible for destroying Benz prototypes, first separated the chassis from the body. It then used two presses – each applying over 30 tonnes of pressure – to smash the 148kg fibreglass body “into small pieces” which, in Merc’s own words, was “a dramatic end”.
As a footnote, it was signed and stamped with a “confirmation of scrappage” document.