Back to The Classics
(Google is my friend)
The Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (formerly known as the SL Roadster prior to 1994) is a grand touring roadster manufactured by Mercedes since 1954. The designation SL derives from the German Sportlich-Leicht, (English: Sport Lightweight) and was first applied to the 300 SL, often referred to as the “Gullwing” due to its gullwing or upward-opening doors .The term SL refers to the marketing variations of the vehicle, including the numerous engine configurations spanning six design generations.
The car was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show. The idea of a toned-down Gran Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL – 300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement, and was immediately successful. The 300 SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel-injection, and world’s fastest top speed. The original coupé was available from March 1955 to 1957, the roadster from 1957 to 1963.
When Tamiya brought this classic out I had to get one, and contrary to my usual habit, started the build as soon as it arrived. My first impression was this was a very complicated kit based on the detail in the frame and chassis, but once I started the project, it went together without any problems as long as I followed the instructions in the proper sequence
You will end up with three sub-assemblies as the build progresses, and I held my breath when it became time to fit them together, but as usual, typical of most Tamiya kits, everything went together as it was designed to do The semi-clear full belly pan was a really nice touch to this kit. They recommend painting it, but I left it as it was.
I found a photo of this paint scheme on Google, and though I did not replicate it exactly, I did keep the styling cues I liked best, like leaving the bumpers off. The big decision was whether to display it with both or just one door in the up position. In the end I decided that it was a Gullwing and decided to go with both doors opened.
I really liked building this kit of one of my all-time favorites. Back in the fifties European sports cars were just starting to gain popularity in America and this one has become an icon of that time.
9 additional images. Click to enlarge.