Mercedes Benz SL

mercedes sl cabriolet

Produced since 1954 the Mercedes SL Class is a grand touring Roadster with the SL in it’s name being the German Sportlich-Leicht (In English this means Sport Lightweight).
Max Hoffman
The idea for the car came from Max Hoffman, an American importer who had the idea of marketing a Gran Prix car which was vastly toned down and tailored to those who were obsessed with high performance cars after the war.
These type of individuals dominated the American market since the war and continues to do so.

Gullwing

The SL signifier was first used on the Mercedes Benz 300 SL known as the “Gullwing” because it had upward-opening doors looking like wings.
The SL signifier has lasted over six design generations and a plethora of engine configurations.
Mercedes Benz SL W198 & Mercedes Benz SL W121
In 1954 the Mercedes Benz 300 SL was produced as a Coupe with gullwing doors.
In 1957 the Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster followed the Coupe, the 4 cylinder Mercedes Benz 190 SL of which 25,881 were made for 1955 onwards.
Mercedes Benz SL Class’s were both available in:
Coupe & removable hardtop
Roadster & convertible soft top & Hardtop
Both the Mercedes Benz 190 SL and Mercedes Benz 300 SL were produced until 1963.

Statistics

Mercedes Benz 300 SL Gullwing was produced between 1954 and 1957 with a 3.0 L 16 with 215 PS (158 kw)
Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster was produced between 1957 and 1963 with a 3.0 L 16 with 225 PS (165 kw)
Mercedes Benz 190 SL was produced between 1955 and 1963 with 1.9 L 14 with 105 PS (77 kw)

Mercedes Benz W113

The Mercedes Benz W113 is a 2 seat roadster/coupe, replacing the 300 SL (W198) and the 190 SL.
48.912 W113 SL’s were produced with 19,440 being sold in America.
Development
The W113SL was developed by Mercedes Benz’s Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger.
Lead Designers
It’s lead designers Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi created an extremely distinctive patented and concave hardtop which inspired the name “Pagoda”.
All models had
An inline six cylinder engine
With multi-port fuel injection.
The trunk lid, bonnet, door skins and tonneau cover were now made of aluminium to reduce weight.
The chassis was short and wide, the suspension excellent, the brakes powerful and with it’s radial tyres the W113 had the superbest of handling for it’s time.
The front was styled with;
Upright “fishbowl” headlights
A simple chrome grille with a large 3 pointed star nose panel paying homage to the already legendary 300 SL Roadster.
The W113 SL’s were configured as a Coupe/Roadster with both a:
Soft top
Optional removable hardtop
A 2+2 was also introduced with the 250 SL “California Coupe” which had a fold – down rear bench seat instead of the soft top.
History
By 1955 Fritz Nallinger and the tem were concerned about the 190 SL’s performance issues and the extremely high price tag of the legendary 300 SL supercar which meant it’s appeal was obviously limited.
Mercedes-Benz started evolving the 190 SL on a brand new platform, model code W127 which had:
A Fuel Injected 2.2. liter M127 inline-six engine, denoted as a 220SL
Nallinger proposed that the 220 SL be placed in the Mercedes Benz program with production to start in 1957.
Technical difficulties however plagued the commencement of the start of W127.
The SClass W112 platform introduced new body manufacturing technology completely which lead to Nallinger in 1960 began to develop a completely new 220SL design based on the “fintail” W11 sedan platform W11 sedan chassis of up to 30cman platform with the technology from the W112.
Therefore the W113 platform was born with an improved fuel injected 2.3 liter M127 inline-six engine and the extremely iconic “Pagoda” hardtop roof designated as

230 SL.

Mercedes Benz 230 SL Debut
Nallnger announced the 230 SL’s debut at the March 1963 Geneva Motor Show where he announced that it was his aim to:
Create a very safe and fast sports car with high performance
Which as well as it’s sports characteristics provides a very high degree of travelling comfort.
The Mercedes-Benz W113 was the first sports car with a safety body which was based on Bela Barenyi’s extensive work on vehicle safety.
It had a rigid passenger cell with:
Designated Crumple zones
Impact absorbing front and rear sections
The interior was rounded with all hard corners and edges removed like the W11 Sedan.
The W113 was also the first Mercedes Benz that was fitted with Radial Tyres.
Mercedes Benz 230 SL
The Mercedes Benz 230 SL was built from 1963 to 1967.
It’s features included:
W111 Sedan Platform chassis
A Reduced wheelbase (by 30cm)
Recirculating ball steering (power steering optional)
Low pivot swing rear-axle with a transverse compensator spring
Double wishbone front suspension with an independent single-joint
A dual-circuit brake system with front disc brakes and power assisted rear drum brakes
The Mercedes Benz 230 SL also had:
4 speed Manual Transmission
Optional fluid coupled 4 speed automatic transmission
By 1966 the ZF S5-20 5-speed manual transmission was available as an additional option. Of the almost 19,831 230 SL’s less than ¼ were sold in the U.S.A.
Engine Stats
The engine was 2,308 cc (2.3L) M127 II inline-six engine with 150 PS (110 KW 150 hp) and 196 Nm (15ib ft) torque was based on Mercedes-Benz venerable M180 inline-six with 4 main bearings and mechanical Bosch multi-port fuel injection.
Modifications were now made to boost power including:
Increased displacement from 2,197 cc (2.2L)
New cylinder head with a higher compression ratio (9.3 vs 8.7)
Enlarged Valves
Modified Camshaft
Fuel injection pump with six plungers instead of two was added
Optional oil-water heat exchanger was also available
Mercedes Benz 230 SL Amendments
The Mercedes Benz 230 SL was constantly amended including throughout the 4 years:
Added Automatic Transmission in October 1963
Tire mounted horizontally when spare tire well was removed in September 1964
In November 1964 a new soft-top with steel bows was added with optional tinted/thermal glass
In April 1964 US models were fitted with radio Becker Europa TR instead of Europa TG
In August 1965 there was some harmonisation with the W108/ W109 sedans, with additions such as:
Combined brake & clutch fluid reservoir
New Floor Panels
Trunk light
Interior changes
USA models had hazard lights
Mounts for three point seat belts added
ZF 5 Speed manual transmission

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