Even though over six decades have passed since the model was unveiled at the 1954 New York Auto Show, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL still looks the business, with some people considering it the primordial supercar. The latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage features a Gull-wing, one which actually belongs to Leno himself and is currently in a restoration process. A ’55 model, the red Mercedes-Benz was picked up by the TV personality without an engine or a gearbox, but since then he’s tracked down most of the missing parts, some still available from Mercedes!
Leno was very happy to learn that the classic divison of Mercedes-Benz is still up-to-date with parts for cars that have been long out of production. That’s where he found the ribbed brake drums for the first step of the restoration process. After offering some interesting insights concerning both the model and his Mercedes-Benz memorabilia – including one of Juan Manuel Fangio’s actual F1 championship trophies – Jay Leno went for a drive with the 300 SL. Without a fresh coat of paint but with everything else in working condition, he proceeded to give it the full beans on Californian roads, and I would advise you to pump up the volume for the full experience. This car sound as incredible as it looks! That straight-six will put a smile on your face or I’ll eat this article.
Most people love the gull-wing doors, but I’m more infatuated with the 300 SL’s technology features, including the fuel injection system – a world first – and the aluminum spaceframe chassis that resulted in the peculiar door-opening solution.
We imagine it’s pretty hard to get Jay Leno giddy when it comes to classic cars, but it looks like all it might take is a $5,000 Mercedes-Benz with 327,000 miles on the odometer. That car just so happens to be a 1972 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3, which the car-loving funnyman refers to as a “German supercar” as he details the 43-year-old sedan in the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage.
Leno says he bought the clapped-out Benz seven years ago as a project with the goal of slapping a drivetrain from an SLS AMG underneath the body. After consulting his followers, he decided instead to keep the car as Mercedes had intended rather than turn it into a Stuttgart restomod.
The heart of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3 was its 300-horsepower, 6.3-liter V-8 that was made possible thanks to the “money-no-object” Mercedes 600. Leno says that the “6.3” badge on the trunk was about as desired to German drivers as the “Hemi” badge was in America. And this car had the performance to back it up, too, with quarter-mile times said to be in the 14-second range. This Mercedes was so powerful and so refined that Leno considers the 2015 Dodge Charger Hellcat as a modern-day equivalent, and he even went as far to say that it is his “favorite Mercedes-Benz to drive."
After watching the video, it’s clear that Leno’s decision to keep the 300 SEL 6.3 intact wasn’t just based on the feedback from his viewers. He has a recognizable fondness for this car and its glorious engine that dates back to a dealership job he had in his 20s, which most car lovers can all trace back similar experiences. Leno spends most of the 20-minute video waxing nostalgic about his Mercedes, while providing plenty of excellent details about the Tri-Star as well.
Click past the jump to read more about the 1972 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3.
Opening to the intimidating tune of Wilhelm Richard Wagner’s Flight of the Valkyries, our favorite retired talk show host talks about the burly history and detailed restoration of his 1972 Mercedes-Benz 600 limousine, a car commonly associated with ruthless dictators from third-world countries.
Despite its menacing reputation, the 600 stands as one of Mercedes’ finest cars ever, outshining everything in its day in cost, complexity, and prestige. The Benz features many of the same power functions newer cars have, like power windows, seats, and trunk lid, but nothing was powered by electric motors; everything was hydraulic. A pump kept the system of complex lines filled with pressure and would operate components in near silence. Jay comments several times about how difficult and expensive restoring such a system can be.
The car also came from the factory with one of Mercedes’ largest engines of the day: the 6.3-liter V-8. While it made 300 horsepower from the factory, legendary Mercedes 600 restorer Karl Middelhauve decided to add some extra oomph. Fuel injection and a supercharger were added, which boosted power to nearly 525 ponies.
Middlehauve is responsible for the rest of this 600’s restoration as well, doing all the work in his home-based garage. According to Jay, Karl does his best to restore and reuse nearly every part from the original car, including hose clamps, screws, and of course, the original solid wood trim pieces.
The Mercedes 600 may seem antiquated at this point in time, but between 1964 and 1981 when the car was in production, it represented the pentacle of automotive luxury and prestige.
Celebrities like Jay Leno have the kind of influence and financial means that they can pretty much get whatever car they want. If you’ve seen his collection, you’ll know that nobody rolls in the auto collecting trade better than Leno.
But every so often, even Jay has to come to grips that there are just some cars that are completely out of reach. The Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo is one of them.
Built exclusively to as a video game concept for Gran Turismo 6, the AMG Vision Gran Turismo is a beauty in more ways than one. It’s actually the second of Gran Turismo’s Vision Turismo lineup that will feature a whole bunch of concepts in the game.
Unlike the first concept that was announced — the BMW Vision Gran Turismo Concept — Mercedes actually built a real life 1:1 scale model of its concept, and low and behold, Jay Leno managed to get his hands on it. In the latest episode of Jay Leno’s Garage,
The first half of the episode actually has Jay talking about his 1,000-horsepower 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado before announcing that this ride has been added to Gran Turismo 6. Great, right?
Then, the Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo shows up in his garage and on the rare instances that even Leno himself has to catch himself before talking, you know that he’s talking about something that in his own words, is a "pretty big deal".
Such is the effect of a car like the AMG Vision Gran Turismo. It turns avid auto nuts like Leno back into fan boys. And the best part about it? This is just one of many concepts that other brands will build for Gran Turismo 6.
(Cue the drooling).
Click past the jump to read more about the Mercedes AMG Vision Gran Turismo Concept.
Jay Leno had a ton of fun at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours, taking in all of the luxury vehicles in attendance, including all of the concepts revealed. In the last episode of Jay Leno’s Garage show, Leno took his time reviewing the Lamborghini Sesto Elemento and the Urus Concepts, but his new episode focuses more on the other concepts presented at the show.
Leno got an up-close look at Infiniti’s fully electric Emerg-E, as well as the latest concept coupes from Rolls-Royce Bespoke and Mercedes-Benz. The first concept to be reviewed is the Emerge-E, which received less than stellar marks. Next, Leno takes a look at the Mercedes-Benz Concept Style Coupe which will be unveiled in production form sometime next year. His final concept to review was the Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupe Aviator Collection which is also set to be put into limited production.