The spectacular history of the Mercedes-Benz SL has its origins in motor racing. The 300 SL (W 194) of 1952 was the first all-new racing car designed by Mercedes-Benz after the Second World War and the first vehicle to bear the designation SL (for “Super Light”). Its basis – engine, transmission and axles – derived from the 300 model, the Adenauer-Mercedes.
Weighing just 50 kilograms, the 300 SL’s innovative spaceframe guaranteed low weight combined with maximum torsional rigidity. However, its design rendered conventional doors impossible. The solution – top-hinged doors that swung upwards – was a stroke of pure engineering genius.