1960 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

At the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the 300 SL Roadster, a convertible version of the renowned 300 SL coupe famously known as the “Gullwing.” This introduction marked a shift towards a more refined and luxurious direction for the manufacturer, foreshadowing their future focus on luxury vehicles.

While the Roadster maintained the impressive mechanical prowess of the original 300 SL, it showcased notable improvements. Its updated six-cylinder engine, now equipped with the competition camshaft from the NSL racing coupes, delivered an additional 20 horsepower, enhancing its performance.

Furthermore, handling received a boost from a revamped rear suspension, featuring a lower axle pivot-point to minimize oversteer. Despite the necessary chassis reinforcement for an open-top model, the Roadster retained the performance pedigree established by its predecessor, the Gullwing.

However, the Roadster’s emphasis on luxury often overshadowed its performance capabilities. Its convertible top mitigated the heat issues sometimes experienced in the coupe, and the redesigned tube frame facilitated easier access with lower door sills, contrasting with the challenging entry and exit of the Gullwing. From a practical standpoint, the Roadster surpassed the Gullwing in numerous aspects, solidifying its status as one of Stuttgart’s most coveted models. Over time, it has become a cherished vehicle in both concours competitions and vintage rallies.

Photo Source: Bonhams