Mercedes introduced its most famous and dramatic post-war model in 1954, the 300SL. The 300SL was a road-going version of a successful race car and only entered production after Mercedes received an order for 1,000 cars from one of its US dealers. The 300SL had an incredible mechanical specification which included a 3.0 litre dry sump, fuel injected engine capable of reaching a top speed of 140mph.
Perhaps the best known and most distinctive 300SL feature was the "Gullwing" doors. The driver and passenger doors were hinged in the centre of the roof and were supported by gas struts when opened. Despite this novel door design occupants had to climb over the wide sill to enter the car. Other inherent design flaws included the coupes poor ventilation and tricky handling characteristics, however despite these irritations the 300SL remains one the most desirable cars of all time. Production of the Gullwing 300SL ended in 1957 after 1400 examples had been built.