The Mercedes 300SL Gullwing was the first super sports car of the postwar era. Designers did not get their inspiration from a gull in flight but used a concept common to the manner in which the cockpits of fighter planes were opened.

Prix car when Benz began to compete. For a number of years the prod- ucts of their engineering genius vied for racing honors, but eventually the Benz and Daimler groups merged to become Mercedes-Benz—and the rest is history. The first race car to result from this marriage was the W25. It and succeeding models dominated the Formula One scene during the years immediately preceding World War II. After the fighting ended, Mercedes-Benz didn’t return to racing until 1952; that year the company’s 300 SL gullwing design won three Grand Prix events. In 1955, a 300 SL went out of control at Le Mans and killed more than eighty spectators. At the close of the season Mercedes-Benz officially quit the Formula One circuit; the firm would not resume racing until 1987.


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