While the stunning Mercedes-AMG GT has been making headlines since its launch at Paris Motor Show, one of its famous ancestors has also been in the news lately.
A rare alloy-bodied 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing Coupé won the inaugural public choice vote at the 2014 Concours of Elegance held at Hampton Court Palace.
The car is one of just 29 alloy Gullwings built, the rest of the 1,400 300 SLs having been built with steel bodies. It was the 19th alloy 300 SL to be built, ordered by Italian gentlemen racer, Dottore Alberico Cacciari, who is said to have raced it at every opportunity.
This car was the only alloy-bodied 300 SL to compete in the 1956 and 1957 Mille Miglias, with Cacciari driving, and the car appeared at the Concours of Elegance as it raced in 1956, complete with its ‘452’ racing numbers, original tool kit and factory-fitted luggage.
The annual Concours of Elegance differs from more traditional events that usually have a judging panel to select a ‘winning’ car. Here, visitors were able to vote by text for their personal favourite of the 60 handpicked cars on display. At the event, which raised thousands of pounds for charity, the Gullwing was also awarded the AIG Private Clients Award for being the ‘most historically significant car’.
Concours d’Elégance dates from 17th century France where the aristocracy paraded their highly ornate horse-drawn carriages through the parks of Paris. Over time, the carriages became horseless and the gatherings became a competitive beauty pageant for owners of priceless automobiles.