“The large and luxurious type 300 series was a trademark series for Mercedes-Benz through the 1950s. Elegant, expansive, exclusive and elite, these cars bore the name of the then German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer; Adenauer even used six of them himself and to own an Adenauer Coupe set you apart from everyone else. But they weren’t racing cars, not even sports cars, despite the fact that they did have more than enough power. Alfred Neubauer, Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Hermann Lang wanted back into racing and in 1951 the permission they wanted was finally given by Chairmen of the Daimler-Benz board Dr. Willhelm Haspel, but the permission came with some strings. The racing department came up with the 1952 W194 300 series sports racers, which were very successful in competition. Although there was never any plan to market that car as a road going sports car the American imported of Mercedes cars, one Max Hoffman, had different ideas.
Daimler-Benz AG’s road going W198 design was the suggestion of Max Hoffman, the Austrian born U.S. importer of considerable reputation and influence, and Daimler-Benz’s official importer, who had seen a niche in the booming post-war American market and intended to supply the car for his customers, in the end more than 80% of the 1400 vehicles built were sold in the U.S. The Mercedes 300SL (3 litre “Sport Leicht” or Sport Light), two-seat sports coupe was introduced in 1954 at that years New York Auto Show. Best known for its distinctive “gull wing” doors and direct fuel injection system it was the fastest production car of its day, capable of 161mph. It’s design is loosely built upon the W194 racing sports car designed by Rudolf Uhlenhart.”
– Motor Museum in Miniature
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