Enthusiast builder recreates Mercedes Gullwing based on modern underpinnings

We all hate kit cars that try to resemble a famous established automotive shape but just fall short. Enthusiasts can spot these a mile away and... they choose to stay a mile away to avoid the horror of having to look at them. However, this amazing Mercedes SL Gullwing recreation is not like that, in fact, it’s the exact opposite of that and it’s a car most enthusiasts would be thrilled to own.

The Best Mercedes SL Gullwing Kit Car That You’ll Ever See

The shape of the Mercedes SL Gullwing is absolutely perfect and 100 percent believable, even though it doesn’t use a single original panel. It’s actually all fiberglass, molded off an original 1950s 300 SL body shell with no changes to the length or proportions of the car. If you’ve seen other Gullwing kit build attempts, then you will know that most aren’t very good because they have some differences compared to the look of the original and they just look off.

This one doesn’t, though, because the philosophy behind it was to be perfect. And it is because, according to the builder, while the panels are all-new, all of the bits of exterior trims and fittings are original SL parts and they all fit perfectly. That’s when you know you’ve done a good job.

This is not an original Mercedes SL Gullwing, but you can't tell and it packs a modern secret under its hood
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This car’s underpinnings consist of a 2002 Mercedes SLK 32 AMG chassis with all that car’s suspension and running gear.

It has the same 3.2-liter V6 engine that powered the SLK320, but in the 32 AMG it’s been supercharged to make just over 350 horsepower.

And, with the modern chassis and light fiberglass shell, its maker estimates that it is about half the weight of the original Gullwing.

It rides on adjustable KW suspension, has big brakes on all corners, and its HRE rims are clad in sticky modern rubber that should make this car quite good around corners.

This is not an original Mercedes SL Gullwing, but you can't tell and it packs a modern secret under its hood
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The interior is a mix of SLK bits and Gullwing-like details, and the result is actually pretty good. Maybe it could have used a more classic looking Nardi steering wheel, one with a bigger rim and less of a modern look, but that’s just a matter of taste and it doesn’t ruin the interior look for me. It even has the SLK’s gauge cluster, but it has been placed in a central position for a more vintage look, even though the original Gullwing had dials behind the steering wheel.

In case you were wondering why its builder went to all the trouble to make this, well, it’s because a good Gullwing these days can easily cost $2 million, while one that is complete but in need of restoration typically goes for around $800,000.

For reference, the grille that completes the look of the front is an original Mercedes piece, and it apparently cost a whopping $30,000 on its own.
This is not an original Mercedes SL Gullwing, but you can't tell and it packs a modern secret under its hood
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This project is the epitome of restomd reproductions. It stays very true to the original formula, it has Mercedes underpinnings and a Mercedes engine. It’s actually so well done that you can’t not covet it. It apparently drives extremely well, much better than the original which relied on 1950s technology, and with prices for original Gullwing examples so crazy these days, such projects are totally justifiable and we want to see more excellent cars like this one.

Further reading

1957 - 1962 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing (W194)
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Read our full review on the 1957 - 1962 Mercedes 300SL Gullwing (W194).

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