A History of Mercedes Sl Parts and Models

by : Dwyane Thomas



In the 1950's, the war was over and the American economy was on the upswing. The future looked bright and customers were in search of something exciting, a race car that can match the enthusiasm generated by the era. Mercedes responded with the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL in 1954, an icon of design and innovation. Its doors were hinged at the roof and when opened, looked like the outstretched wings of a seagull. Nicknamed the "Gullwing" for its unique upward-opening doors, the 300SL was the first car ever to be equipped with fuel-injection technology. This doubled the engine's power from 115 hp to 240 hp and helped the Gullwing achieve a top speed of 260 km/h, making it the fastest production car of the period.

Following the success of the Gullwing on many racing circuits, Mercedes Benz decided to create a luxury sports car class based on it. Minus the Gullwing doors, the body style remained as a 2-door coupe convertible with a hard roof that can be retracted into the lower body frame. Body styling emphasized aerodynamics, given the nature of the Gullwing as a race car. This was also to attract more buyers since body styling at the time favored aggressive, curvilinear forms. Owing to its heritage of technical brilliance, Mercedes SL parts boasted precision steering and independent suspension, allowing better drive control and comfort. The class was named SL which stood for Sport Light.

In 1957, the Mercedes 300 SL roadster rolled out of the assembly lines. A similar looking line 190 SL was also started. The 190 SL had a 105 hp engine and enjoyed a bigger production than the 300 SL, selling a total of 25,881 units. Both W198 models were discontinued in 1963, replaced by the "pagoda-roof" W112 models. Cars of this line sported advanced Mercedes SL parts like a fuel-injected, six-cylinder engine and lightweight aluminum fittings. All models were rear-wheel drive and equipped with independent rear suspension. Many early models came with both a retractable hard top and a soft top, but there were also versions such as the "California Coupe" that only had hardtop configurations. Members of this line included the 230 SL, 250 SL, and 280 SL.

During the period between 1972 and 1989, several SL models in the R107 (Reihe series) were introduced to replace the aging W112 line. These models were a cross between the SL line and the Mercedes W114 model, carrying a small chassis with the SL's large engine. R107 was later replaced by R129, starting with R129 300 SL in 1989. A variant of this class, the 600 SL, was most luxurious and heaviest SLs ever built. It featured options such as a CD changer, all-leather interior, V12 engine, and other standard Mercedes SL parts. While the SL series underwent slight design modifications in 1994 and 1999, it was becoming apparent that the decades-long SL series is losing ground to its more aggressive competitors.

Mercedes completely overhauled the SL line and in 2001, unveiled a brand new SL boasting a brand new body style with an electrically-controlled folding steel roof. This was followed by the 2004 Mercedes Benz SL and 2004 Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG. In 2005, the entire SL lineup was again refreshed. for these models included automatic climate control, power steering and locks, active body control suspension, anti-theft system, and cruise control. Safety features, which Mercedes has been known for, were standard in all models.