Top inset: Mercedes-Benz stylists work with a clay model of the R230 series to define its final shape. Opposite page: The R107 range enjoyed a 17-year lifespan, during which it underwent continuous development.
Like so many great automobiles of our time, the Mercedes-Benz SL series can trace its origins directly to the racetrack. With the rebuilding and recovery of Europe ongoing six years after the end of World War II, Mercedes competition boss Alfred Neubauer was told that the resources for a resumption of racing activities had become available.
The company’s initial intention of returning to Grand Prix competition, however, was wisely delayed when the Board of Management realized that the Formula One regulations would be changing for 1954. To keep themselves busy in the meantime, members of the technical department devoted their energies and intellect to the development of a sports car aimed at winning the 1952 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race undergoing its own restoration.
Become a Member & Get Ad-Free Access To This Article (& About 6,000+ More)
Access to the full article is limited to paid subscribers only. Our membership removes most ads, lets you enjoy unlimited access to all our premium content, and offers you awesome discounts on partner products. Enjoy our premium content.