1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster Diecast Model

  • Our Price: $95.95
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Minichamps 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster diecast car
  • Year: 1957
  • Brand: Minichamps
  • Make: Mercedes-Benz
  • Code: MP180-039030
  • Model: 300SL Roadster
  • Scale: 1:18
  • Color: Silver

The evolution of the Mercedes Benz 300 SL from world beating race champion to sports car icon is fascinating. Debuting in 1952, the car was a formidable presence in the world’s most prestigious events, Le Mans and the Mille Miglia among them. Though without a particularly powerful engine, it succeeded with its lightweight yet exceptionally strong tubular frame and a superbly aerodynamic body. Austrian-born marketing guru Max Hoffman, importer of Mercedes Benz into the United States, was quick to realize the sales potential of an appropriately adapted production version of the car, particularly for well-heeled, sports car-loving American consumers. And he was right: d uring the 300 SL’s 1955 – 1963 production run, over 3000 cars were built, the vast majority sold in the U.S., with the roadster outselling the coupe by a comfortable margin. Notable among the modifications incorporated into the street versions was the new fuel injection (replacing the racer’s carburetors), which nearly doubled the cars’ horsepower. Though the system was somewhat problematic, it’s significant for being among the first in a production car.

Minichamps’ 1:18 scale replica of the ’57 300 SL roadster makes a perfectly appropriate companion to their splendid ’54 Gullwing coupe. I found the latter model (in red, my first from Minichamps) to be comparable in most ways to the best AutoArts and Kyoshos. The new roadster is every bit as impressive…perhaps even more so. One readily appreciates the subtle functional and aesthetic changes Mercedes Benz incorporated into the new car: the “eyebrows” above the wheel wells, redesigned front lights, new dashboard layout and the reconfigured (i.e. more practical) trunk, all impressively rendered by Minichamps.

The silver paint, very difficult to get right, is smooth and glossy with just the right amount of perfectly scaled metallic flake to make the model shimmer. Light lenses are jewel-like and there are exquisite raised foil adornments (be careful with that polishing cloth!). Every piece of exterior chrome is perfectly scaled, burnished to a deep luster and expertly installed, from the chaste yet elegant inlay along the car’s sides to the door and trunk handles and keyholes. The wheels look terrific; it’d be nice if the tires were branded, but I suppose that’s a licensing issue with no imminent resolution. The doors open properly on hidden hinges, shut lines are tight and true and the overall characteristics of scale, proportion, fit and finish are impeccable. My only quibble (and it’s purely subjective) is that the car is depicted with the windows up, which clutters the lines slightly. But it d oes show off Minichamps’ optically clear glazing. I was also a bit put off by the empty license plate brackets. That was until I visited their website (www.minichamps.de) and discovered you can select from a variety of plates on a PDF file. Now that’s customer service!

The carpeted interior is exquisite, with a neatly detailed dash featuring chrome rimmed gauges and “300 SL” carefully applied to the glove box. The perfectly scaled wheel, with its delicate horn ring and center MB emblem and the elegant door panel hardware reflect an exceptional level of craftsmanship. It’s a shame that, like the Gullwing before it, the roadster’s seats are hard plastic, but they look fine: nicely molded and textured. Moveable visors would have been nice (these are static), but I’ll take the near-perfection of finish and detail here over an abundance of “finger fun” any day. The flocked trunk contains the jacking tools and two very realistic, removable pieces of custom-fitted luggage!

The depiction of the 3 liter, 6 cylinder fuel-injected engine is splendid, sporting full wiring, legible labels and all individual components beautifully cast in a variety of colors. Details like the simulated hood insulation and meticulously picked-out hose clamps make this compartment a joy to linger over, even for the novice. If anything the chassis is even more impressive. This is especially notable as the undercarriage of the Gullwing was sealed (a carryover from its racing heritage) and this one is not. Thus you see many of the intricate structural elements of the car’s tubular frame as well as perfect recreations of the suspension (functional), exhaust, engine block and drive train. Normally I don’t concentrate intently on a model’s chassis, but the top-notch execution on display here really held my interest.

Mercedes Benz slowly re-emerged as Germany struggled to rebuild its industries following the ravages of World War II. But the cars themselves, while solidly built, were stylistically antiquated, distinguished only by the unmistakable grill. The emergence of the 300 SL, first as a racing champion, then as an incomparable sports car, almost single-handedly reinvigorated the marque’s image, especially in the United States. History has judged the 300 SL to be one of the great sports icons, and today it’s one of the most desirable and collectible as well. Minichamps has served the 1:18 collector well with another impeccably turned out image of a great automotive legend, making this an essential addition to any serious Mercedes Benz collection. Highest recommendation.

-John Richards

  • Our Price: $95.95
  • Sold Out

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