The SL designation inspires passion in automotive enthusiasts the world over. For six decades, it has been synonymous with sportiness and sensational looks.

What began in 1952 with the 300 SL racing car (W 194) and went on to acquire iconic status in the years to follow continues with the latest Mercedes-Benz SL (R 231) that was launched this year. Reason enough for Mercedes-Benz Classic to mark “60 years of the SL” at the 40th AvD Oldtimer Grand Prix (10-12 August 2012).

During this annual celebration of vintage vehicles, the Nürburgring becomes a rendezvous for the classic racing car scene. Appearances by the Mercedes-Benz clubs in 2012 once again show how strongly people identify with the history of the brand. Around 200 club members from Germany and the rest of Europe are expected at the event, bringing with them around 100 Mercedes-Benz vehicles. So in addition to all the thrilling racing action, there is plenty of opportunity for the brand’s biggest fans to get together and share their passion.

The history of Mercedes-Benz in motor sports is closely interwoven with the history of the Nürburgring. There was even success for Mercedes-Benz at the legendary circuit’s opening race in 1927, with Rudolf Caracciola and Adolf Rosenberger crossing the finishing line in first place in a Mercedes-Benz Type S. Seven years later, at the Eifel race in 1934, the new Mercedes-Benz W 25 Grand Prix racing cars appeared for the first time with their shiny aluminium bodywork exposed instead of the usual white livery. And so the “Silver Arrow” was born. In the 1952 racing season, the first for Mercedes-Benz after the Second World War, the 300 SL racing car recorded a fourfold victory in the Anniversary Grand Prix for sports cars at the Nürburgring. This triumph was followed by many others for Mercedes-Benz at the historic racetrack.

The first 300 SL racing car, the original from 1952, no long exists, having been scrapped. But the second car – chassis no. 194 010 00002/52 – is still with us and has been in company ownership ever since it was built, the “/2” embossed on various parts providing proof of its authenticity. During the painstaking restoration process undertaken by Mercedes-Benz Classic, the car was completely dismantled and every single component meticulously examined. All were restored in accordance with the highest standards of authenticity and quality. “The clear remit was to retain both the material substance and aged look of the racing car. The 300 SL with chassis no. 2 is now restored to its former glory – yet continues to bear with pride the traces of its exhilarating racing past,” says Michael Bock, Head of Mercedes-Benz Classic.

Source: Mercedes-Benz Classic