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Jaguar E-Type fans will undoubtedly disagree but perhaps the most recognisable sports car of the 1950s was the classic Mercedes 300SL Gullwing. With its dramatic doors, this was the ultimate supercar of its time and the very mention of the name evokes memories of Grace Kelly and grainy black and white racing footage. It was the embodiment of half a century of Mercedes motorsport pedigree and pleasingly, became the inspiration for a modern interpretation - the brand's equally desirable SLS AMG model, launched in 2010.
It's not just the gullwing doors that awaken reminiscences of the legendary 300 SL as the characteristic wide radiator grille with the large Mercedes-Benz star and the wing-like fin are also reminiscent of the face of that historic sports car. The three-dimensional, sculptured front with the low, v-shaped, front skirt with lateral indentations gives this new gullwing a powerful, almost aggressive stance on the road, a sort of 'don't mess with me' look. The car’s dominance is underscored by six large air intakes and the wide-set, Bi-Xenon vertical headlamps.
There's something utterly beguiling about a large capacity V8 and the one you'll find under the bonnet of the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is an absolute peach. It's a 6.2-litre unit and was the first V8 from the AMG stable to be designed from the ground up, with its initial application being in the E63 super-saloon. The engine was further developed for the SLS with a dry-sump set-up and 120 unique parts and, in this guise, could muster a very healthy 563bhp. It's a simply superb engine and even when running on a light throttle it rumbles and crackles like distant thunder and lightning. It's mated to a seven-speed, dual-clutch transmission complete with a 'Race Start' launch-control system enabling a claimed 0-62mph time of 3.8secs and a top speed of 197mph.
The SLS is one of those machines that had modern-classic written all over it from the moment it first saw the light of day and Mercedes themselves state on record that they will only build such a special car once every 50 years or so and there was never any replacement either planned or offered. Whilst it was the first car to be fully designed by AMG in-house, it was sadly the last to be fitted with a naturally aspirated V8, the most powerful normally aspirated engine they had ever built. However, it wasn't just a case of prodigious power and retro-inspired styling that made the SLS a modern icon as, when EVO magazine pitched it up against some pretty serious rivals, it won the motoring press over with its blend of all-round ability and everyday usability. Pitched head-to-head with Aston's V12 Vantage, Ferrari's 599HGTE and the evergreen Porsche 911 Turbo 'S', the AMG's depth of talent won the day.
This particular SLS is a right-hand drive example that has covered only 6,915 miles from new. It's finished in striking AMG Le Mans Sapphire Red paintwork, a colour that suits the car perfectly and was used by Mercedes for many of the press images of their new supercar, and sits on AMG double-spoke alloys. It features a 'Designo' interior in Anthracite Nappa Leather with White stitching and Carbon interior trim and an Alcantara roof lining. Extensively equipped with rear-view camera, parking sensors, memory seats, steering column and mirror, AMG steering wheel, Command APS, SatNav, Automatic climate control, headlamp washing equipment and Bi-xenon headlights. Our vendor, who is a significant private collector and well known to Silverstone Auctions, bought this SLS in March 2017 from the London based dealer, Autovero, and it has resided in his collection ever since.
Accompanying the SLS is a good history file detailing maintenance and servicing, including history from South Africa pre-2016, shortly before being imported into the UK where it has been ever since. In September 2020, the SLS will be serviced by a Mercedes main dealer, ensuring that this breathtaking red Gullwing is ready for its next owner to instantly enjoy.
Immortalised at every Grand Prix meeting for many years, being the car selected to lead the pack in any safety car conditions, the SLS AMG was destined to be a modern classic from the moment it arrived and this superbly presented and maintained example would fit nicely into any collection of important motor cars.
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