The 300SL (or: Homologation & You)

In sports car racing, there is a wonderful thing called ‘homologation’. Manufacturers hate it, car collectors love it. It means that in order to enter a car in sanctioned sports car races, it has to be based on a production model. Without going into a lengthy explanation, just appreciate the fact that it has brought the world some of it’s most prized street-legal race cars. The 300SL is undeniably one of the most iconic. In 1952, Mercedes Benz was feeling ambitious and decided they wanted to win alot of races. So they built an incredibly streamlined, lightweight, and reliable race car using some of the most exotic materials at the time – the homologated street version that was sold to the public a complete afterthought. It was then entered it into many of the most prestigious, and difficult, endurance races of the day. They succeeded, taking 1-2 victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Carrera Panamericana to name a few. Above are a few photos of the 300SL in action at the aforementioned races (the 2nd of which is the variant used in the trans-mexican rally, where the windshield had to be reinforced with wrought iron bars due to ‘buzzard collisions’). The second group of photos are of the oldest 300SL in existence, serial number zwei. It never saw any racing, rather it was used as a training car for the very capable Hermann Lang & Fritz Reiss (along with the rest of the Silver Arrows) who went on to take many checkered flags. Dragged out of the broom closet by Mercedes, it underwent an extensive 9 month restoration for it’s 60th birthday, and in celebration of the new SLS AMG. What a timeless example of German design – both in form & function.

1 Comment Leave A Comment


Anonymous says:

April 19, 2012 at 6:17 am

Nice. You just gotta love that upholstery. The leather strap securing the hood is pretty great too.