And he was right: back in 1953, U.S. importer Maximilian E. Hoffman expounded to the Mercedes-Benz Board of Management in vivid language how eagerly an open super sports car of the brand with the star would be received by customers in North America. First of all, the production model of the same name (W 198), derived from the 300 SL (W 194) racing sports car, came onto the market in 1954 as the iconic “Gullwing” coupé. Its gullwing doors and sporting successes, in 1955 in the Mille Miglia, for example, went down in history. In 1957, however, the time was ripe and Mercedes-Benz launched the 300 SL as a roadster. In the 300 SLS derived from it, Paul O’Shea won his racing category in the 1957 USA Sports Car Championship.