Skip to main content
Add Me To Your Mailing List
HomeIntroduction of the 300SL GullWing in 1954

Introduction to the 300SL GullWing in 1954

The following introduction is extracted from a very early 300SL GullWing brochure, perhaps the first, that was distributed to describe the 300SL at introduction.  This brochure describes the early production 1954 Gull Wings.   At the bottom of the “Technical Data” in this early brochure, the phrase “Subject to modification of design and construction” was a forecast of continuous changes to improve the Gull Wing. Later changes in the described technical data table include:

  • Transmission gear ratios were slightly changed
  • Steering ratio was slightly changed
  • Brakes – Treadle-Vac power booster changed
  • Rear axle – standard ratio changed to 3:64
  • Wheels – steel disc wheels changed to riveted alloy type


The following excerpts from the 1954 brochure describe the introduction of the 300 SL Gulling



Bred to the Mercedes-Benz racing and sporting traditions, and developed from the standard 3 Liter production car, the 300SL is the latest addition to a line of successful competition cars extending over the last sixty years.  Following in the footsteps of the famous Mercedes pre-war “Silver Arrow” racing cars, the 300SL established itself as the world’s outstanding sports car during the 1952 season.  Since that time this famous car has been even further improved as to styling, comfort, and performance, so that the model here described can be used equally well for normal city driving, cross country touring, or by the enthusiast for competition.  Never in automotive history has a car such as this been produced which effectively combined the attributes of an elegant sporting appearance, race car performance, and touring car comfort.

Thanks to the powerful new motor in which fuel is injected into each cylinder by means of a six element injection pump and capable of delivering 240 HP, lightning-like performance is insured throughout.  The injection pump corrects automatically for variations in temperature and altitude.  Oil cooling is further provided:




This modern and reliable power plant capable of turning continuously at 6,200 r.p.m. coupled with the light and streamlined body provides not only breath-taking acceleration but a top speed in the vicinity of 160 m.p.h.  Road holding and handling characteristics are fully suited to the powerful motor and together with the highly effective light alloy, self-adjusting and fin cooled booster brake, provide a car as safe as it is fast.  The steering system is equipped with a hydraulic camper and the 4 speed transmission is completely synchronized.  A thoroughbred in every sense of the word, and a car with will be recognized by all enthusiasts as the “last word” in sporting automobiles: a car which puts indescribable pleasure into driving!

Through inclined mounting of the motor an exceptionally low silhouette has been achieved.  The well-proven Mercedes-Benz independent suspension for all 4 wheels coupled with coil springs provides excellent road handling and springing, totally in keeping with the high performance of which this car is capable.  Truly, every curve becomes an exhilarating pleasure.


Lubrication is effectively carried out through a well proven, race-tested dry sump system.

Gull Wing Dimensions


Gull Wing Technical Data


1954 Introduction

Later Modifications





4-stroke gasoline direct injection


Number of cylinders



Bore / Stroke

85 mm x 88 mm ( 3.346 / 3.464 in.)



2996 cc (183.5 cubic inches)


Max. engine output

240 HP (SAE)


Compression ratio

1: 8.55






Multi-tubular welded frame


Front axle

Independent wheel suspension with camber adjustment, forged unequal wishbone arms in threaded bushings



4 speeds, all with controlled synchronization


1st gear = 1:3.14

2nd gear = 1:1.85

3rd gear = 1:1.305

4th gear = 1:1.0

Reverse gear = 1:2.57

4 speeds, all with controlled synchronization


1st gear = 1:3.34

2nd gear = 1:1.97

3rd gear = 1:1.39

4th gear = 1:1.0

Reverse gear = 1:2.73


3-part tie rod with steering shock absorber

ZF Steering gear: total gear ratio 1:11.05



Mercedes Benz steering gear


Hydraulic brakes

Front axle: two brake cylinders, vacuum booster (Treadle Vac),

two-metal turbine-type drums with ventilation circuit


ATE vacuum booster




Overall length

175.7 inches


Overall width

70.6 inches


Overall height, loaded

49.7 inches



94.4 inches


Track, front

53.5 inches


Track, rear

56.4 inches


Turning circle, dia.

Approx 39 ft


Driving Speeds miles/hour

1st gear / 2nd gear / 3rd gear / 4th gear

1st gear / 2nd gear / 3rd gear / 4th gear

1:3.42 rear axle ratio:



At 6000 rpm of engine

44.1 / 75.7 / 110.0 / 145.3

42.2 / 71.6 / 101.9 / 155.3

At 6200 rpm of engine

47.8 / 82.0 / 119.8 / 157.5

Not specified

1:3.64 rear axle ratio:



At 6000 rpm of engine

Not specified

39.8 / 67.1 / 96.3 / 146.0

At 6200 rpm of engine

Not specified

Not specified

1:3.25 rear axle ratio



At 6000 rpm of engine

46.8 / 79.4 / 115.0 / 152.8

44.1 / 75.2 / 107.5 / 161.6

At 6200 rpm of engine

50.5 / 86.2 / 125.4 / 165.8

Not specified




Curb weight



With 34 US gallons of fuel

Approximately 2493 lbs


Fuel consumption

9.41 – 15.68 miles/US gal. According to mode of driving


Fuel type

Filling station super gasoline

Octane rating 80 (Motor Method)


Fuel tank capacity

Approximately 34.4 US gallons





Lubrication system

Dry sump


Total lube oil capacity

4.75 US Gal


Capacity of cooling system

4.1 US Gal



Disc wheels with drop base rim 5-K x 15

Alloy rims with steel centers 5-K x 15


6.70 Racing

6.50 standard; 6.70 optional




Subject to modification of design and construction



See the “300SL History” article located here for a detailed history of the 300SL.

© 2023 The Gull Wing Group All rights reserved