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Motoring: Mercedes Benz 300 SL (Gullwing) - 1955

The 300 SL Mercedes-Benz is regarded as one of the classic sports cars of all time. Years ahead of its time styling-wise, it had unique "gullwing" doors that opened upward. The two wide doors were held in the open position by encased telescopic springs. This design was developed to make it easier to enter and exit the sports car. The 300 SL inherited its features from the Mercedes-Benz racing vehicles of the fifties. The gullwing had a torsionally rigid, three dimensional tubular steel frame that weighed 50 kg (110 lb). The body was fastened to this "space frame" to give a firm ride and handling package. Curb weight of the 300 SL was 1295 kg (2855 lb). bi-metal brake drums.

The 300 SL was powered by a six cylinder overhead cam engine displacing 3.0 L and achieving 164 kW (220 hp) at 6100 rpm. Bore was 84.8 mm (3.34 in) and stroke was 88.1 mm (3.47 in) with a compression ratio of 8.55:1. The engine was equipped with direct fuel injection, which was unusual for vehicles of that time. bi-metal brake drums.

The front-engine, rear-wheel drive vehicle had four-wheel independent suspension. The front wheels had a parallel wishbone arm setup with coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. The rear swing axle also used coil springs and hydraulic shocks to give it its well known stability in curves and excellent roadability. The brakes were full hydraulic with a servo assist. The brake shoes were self-adjusting and used "turbo-cooled" bi-metal brake drums.

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