The 300 SL Gullwing is one of the most iconic cars of all time.
There's something special about gullwing doors, if not for their theater then for the sheer fact that they were utilized by one of the most iconic car designs of all time, that of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing built from 1954 to 1957. The forefather of the modern Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, the coupe was as close to race-derived technology for the road as one could get in the 1950s, making use of aluminum for weight saving. But the doors stole the show, opening skywards and proving so influential, that the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG was built almost as a homage to the 300 SL. Now, Portuguese animators Briktop have paid tribute to the Gullwing in a stellar CGI video that leaves us simply breathless.
According to the creators, the CGI short film features "the most iconic car of all time", but whether or not you dispute that, we can all appreciate the artistic talent used to bring the icon to life some 63 years after its demise. In the video, we see the various mechanical elements, including a tubular chassis, coming together as the 300 SL drives along a deserted salt pan. But the stunning body doesn't materialize in the same way. Instead, it descends from the heavens as if penned by a deity, the gullwing doors functioning as genuine wings. The body descends and affixes itself to the chassis, but not before we see a number of incredibly intricate details take shape. It's a truly remarkable video that manages to capture the beauty of the 300 SL perfectly.
The 300 SL is powered by a 3.0-liter overhead cam straight-six engine producing 212 DIN horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque. In the traditional manner, these outputs were channeled to the rear axle via a four-speed transmission, resulting in a 0-62 mph time of 9.3 seconds and a top speed of up to 163 mph, making the SL the fastest production car in the world for its era. Just 1,400 coupes were built, and it remained one of the purest expressions of passion in the automotive world for decades to come. While several generations of SL have followed, none quite captured the original's sense of beauty and performance. There is hope that the next-generation SL-Class will change this, however, as Mercedes-AMG is developing it alongside the new AMG GT.