The driver team of Karl Kling and Hans Klenk triumphed ahead of the Hermann Lang and Erwin Grupp partnership. The 1952 motor racing season marked the beginning of the impressive Silver Arrow era – with the racing successes arousing a worldwide appetite for a production sports car for the road. This, the 300 SL (W 198), progressed in the mid-1950s to become the economic miracle on four wheels. Automobile designers, technicians and engineers flocked to the brand with the star, which experienced a renaissance.
Out of the W 194 came the W 198. The 300 SL series sports car became a best-seller from 1954 (first as a coupé, then from 1957 to 1963 as a roadster too), especially in the United States and Western Europe. Some of the more prominent early owners were stars such as Frank Sinatra, Clark Gable, Tony Curtis, Romy Schneider, Aga Khan, Alfried Krupp and Baron von Thyssen. Readers of the German specialist magazine “Motor Klassik” even voted the 300 SL “Sports Car of the Century” in 1999.
The successor to the 300 SL was the “Pagoda” (the W 113 was delivered from 1963), with car designer Paul Bracq creating his own monument.