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Classic Velocity Blog

Mercedes Benz SL-X

Classic Velocity

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There are a lot of great-looking cars that never made it to production throughout the history of the automobile. The Mercedes Benz SL-X is one of the best looking in our opinion. It is a stunning vehicle now, as it was then. It is the result of an effort in 1965 by designers Paul Bracq and Georgio Batistella to develop a sports coupe at the top of the Mercedes range. It was a low and sleek mid-engined coupe with bulging side scoops, bulging fenders, pop up headlights, and massive hood vents. The cockpit enclosure had a generous greenhouse, and gullwing doors. In case you were inclined to mistake it for an Italian supercar, for which you might be forgiven, it was silver and there was a giant three-pointed star on the nose. The view from the rear is equally voluptuous, with angled rear pillars on the greenhouse, and an implied diffuser. This might have been an image-changing car for Mercedes who at the time had largely conceded the supercar space to others. It was never equipped with an engine, but Mercedes had a few good candidates at the time in six cylinder and eight cylinder guise. Ultimately, the prototype never went any further and we (and when I say we, I mean very well heeled sports car enthusiasts) were all denied a production version.

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However, the vehicle did become the basis for another prototype in the form of the C101 (which was forced to become the C-111 due to Peugeot’s patent on model numbers with a zero in the middle). The C111 was unveiled at the Geneva show in 1969, but it was also never to see production. In this case, it was intended to be a test platform for a host of ideas and technology that Mercedes was experimenting with at the time.

Photos by Ronan Glon

Photos by Ronan Glon