Sunday, 3 July 2011
50 Foot Special - Mercedes Chevy 300SL
Back in the 1950's US Mercedes Benz importer Max Hoffman is credited with encouraging Daimler Benz AG to build the Mercedes 300 SL (W198) based on the successful 1952 Le Mans Winning 300 SL (W194).
Chuck Porter amongst a few other US racing drivers took wrecked 300 SLs and turned them into full blown race cars giving them the 'SLS' moniker.
The body of today's car owned by multi championship winning driver and owner Dave Wolin is thought to have possibly started as such a project. The body is said to have been abandoned in a San Gabriel Valley back yard for 50 years after incurring the legal wrath of Daimer Benz AG for being too close a copy of the original.
When Dave found the body it had a tree growing in it ! After the body was rejuvenated it was fitted to a modern chassis powered by a Chevrolet small block crate motor. The power is transmitted through a four speed Richmond T 10 gearbox and Speedway Engineering Quick Change rear axle.
Dave successfully competes with this cool car in races, hill climbs and surprisingly, given that he modestly calls his Merc a 50 Footer*, also enters his Mercedes into Concours events such as the Sacramento State Capital Concours as seen here.
* Looks good from 50 feet but it's a racing car not a show car.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for the photos, for introducing me to Dave Wolin and to Dave for the additional photos and information about this ultra cool 300 SL.
I hope you have enjoyed todays Gull Wing edition of 'Gettin a lil' psycho on tyres' and that you will join me again tomorrow for a trip to the Donnington Park Museum. Don't forget to come back now !
PS Recommend aficionados of the 1930's era Silver Arrow's visit my friend Paul Chenard's blog about his limited edition book 'Silver Clouds' on the 1934 season.