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The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster W198

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The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster W198, a 1957 masterpiece designed by Friedrich Geiger, is widely recognized as the world’s first “supercar”.


This convertible 300SL was introduced to replace the Gullwing Mercedes 300 SL and remained in production until 1963.

The 300 SL Roadster quickly became a status symbol and was owned by several famous individuals including Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen, Sophia Loren, and Clark Gable, among others. It boasted impressive speed capabilities of up to 260 km/h and its prototype was first spotted by the German magazine Auto, Motor und Sport in the summer of 1956.

After its production model debut at the 1957 Geneva Motor Show, the final 70 of the 1,400 Coupes and the first 618 of the 300 SL Roadsters were assembled by the end of that year. Mercedes-Benz decided to convert the 300 SL (W 198) to an open-top two-seater due to their increasing popularity. This led to the creation of the 300 SL Roadster in spring 1957, which introduced open-top driving to high-performance sports cars. Equipped with a new rear axle design, this model boasted state-of-the-art handling characteristics and in 1961 became the first Mercedes-Benz production car to be given disc brakes on all four wheels.

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