This Prototype Mercedes-Benz Gullwing Photo Gallery gallery features rare original scans.
This racing W194 300SL (the original iteration of what later became the street version of 300SL by Mercedes-Benz) was built around a tubular chassis to offset its relatively underpowered carbureted engine. Designed by Daimler-Benz’s chief developing engineer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the metal skeleton saved weight while still providing a high level of strength. Its unique architecture gave birth to the model’s distinctive gull-wing doors, as part of the chassis passed through what would be the lower half of a standard door. Even with the upward opening doors, the 300SL had an unusually high sill, making entry and exit from the car’s cockpit problematic. A steering wheel with a tilt-away column was added to improve driver access.
Less than a decade after World War II, Mercedes-Benz scored a 1–2 victory with their Mercedes-Benz 300SL (Type W194) which was equipped with a 3.0L I6 engine that had less power than the road car sold two years later.