The infamous 'Gullwing' first saw light in 1952 as a race car. It used a spaceframe chassis with a network of small tubes and hence was lightweight, though the high chassis sides meant fitting conventional doors was out of the question, hence the 'Gullwing' design, which just about provided enough room to get in. While strong, the chassis was let down by the suspension fitted to it, in particular the rear which used as swing axle set-up that made for tricky handling, and the brakes which were all drums and not very efficient. The SL used a sedan engine, but with dry sump lubrication and mechanical fuel injection, which required a bulge in the hood, the other bulge being simply to balance the design. The 1957 Roadster was much better, with improved rear suspension, power disc brakes, and a less cramped interior.
Mercedes 300SL Specifications
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