The 300 SL is also known by its chassis code W 198. The idea of the Mercedez 300 SL comes from the Mercedes-Benz W 194 (which was called the 300 SL before the W 198 took the title of 300 SL). Daimler-Benz decided he wanted to take part in his racing thus the birth of the W 194 into the racing field. The name of the car 300 SL comes from the engine itself, 300 being the displacement of 300 centiliteters (a metric unit of capacity) or more. The SL stands for a shortened version of “super-light” in German. The term SL is also related directly to the light and tubular framed construction of the car’s body.
The mass production of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198) was originally not planned, but the idea of a toned down, Grand Prix car targeted to a market of performance enthusiasts in postwar America was brought up by Max Hoffman at a marketing meeting in 1953. Hoffman put out an order for 1000 of each one of these cars to be produced – the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, as well as a smaller and lighter version the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL.
Both of these cars were introduced at the International Motor Sports Show in New York, which took place in February of 1954. They received a massive visitor appearance and they began production of the car in August of 1954. Although the most problematic issue of the car was the fact that its pricing was at a whopping $6,800, and that’s at the most basic package level. It’s a tough sell when consumers had the option to buy a Chevrolet Bel-Air of the same year for only $1,700. On top of that, there were very few mechanics, even at the dealerships, that understood the fuel injection system enough to do any type of repairs on the vehicle itself. So yes the car is beautiful, but there were still some complications to the car itself.
The Ideal owner of this car would have to be an individual within the upper class of postwar America. Someone who would have had to have the money to make the original purchase of the car. Adding onto this the individual would have to have the money to hire someone to work on this type of vehicle since it was so difficult to work. The expenses for the car must have been quite high to keep the car in running condition. Essentially, an influential mafia boss would have been able to afford this car. Someone who has the connections and the money to have the repairs done.
Check out the most common Mercedes repair issues we see in our shop.