By on September 12, 2011

The only vehicle at the last Detroit Auto Show that I just had to get my picture taken with was a classic Mercedes gullwing SL. Somehow I’m guessing that I won’t feel the same way about this F-125 concept, come the 2060 auto show. Just a guess though.


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11 Comments on “What’s Wrong With This Picture: A Gullwing For The Future...”

  • avatar

    The original 300SL had the gullwing doors for the very good reason that its birdcage tube frame was too high at the sides to allow for a regular sort of door. the design was driven by 2 imperatives rigidity of the frame and aerodynamic performance (I recall reading somewhere that the Gullwing had the lowest drag of any of the 1950s production sports car. (does anyone else recall a metric from I think Sports Car Graphic that took a car up to 100mph (as measured by with 5th wheel gear) and than measured how far the car would coast in neutral (done in both directions on a long level stretch of road to negate wind effects) this was they said an inexpensive way to measure not only the aero drag but things like rolling resistance of the tires and any drag caused by such things as bearing drag and and anything else that might be rubbing somewhere; the metric seemed to fall out of use with the advent of things like disc brakes as best as I can recall.

    The point of all this is that a large part of the beauty of the original 300SL is from its function derived form and not by some stylists whim. And I agree that is one ugly concept car. the grill is right up there with a lot of other current grill designs in terms of ugly factor

    • 0 avatar

      Wow, someone else who digs old road tests as much as I do…

      Yup, I know that ‘coast down’ metric, which always seemed to be a pretty cool figure for comparing cars. That ranks right up there with Tapley measurements for interesting data that has unfortunately gone the way of the Dodo.

      I know R&T was using coast down measurements up until the mid / late 1960’s. (They often plotted the data alongside the acceleration curve.) They also published neat stuff regarding aerodynamic drag in terms of lbs at 60 mph, but I think that was only until the late 1950’s.

      I’d say with a renewed emphasis on efficiency, etc., these days it might make sense to bring some of these old tests back. I’m curious to see just how much big tires, over-sized frontal areas, and all the rest of the current design fetishes contribute to the less than spectacular fuel mileage of most modern cars.

      And yeah, regarding the concept car, MB seems intent on pushing the bounds of ugly. I’ll pass until they realize revolting dosen’t spell ‘class’.

  • avatar

    I’m a bit of a Benz fanboy, but even I have to say that’s a nice update of the Hyundai Genesis front grill.

  • avatar

    I’m very familiar with the original W198 gullwing, and I just saw a 300 SLS AMG 6.3 up close yesterday. Yes, it evokes the original in many ways. The car in today’s photos does the same.

    At some point, retro and futuristic just can’t be reconciled, and I think Mercedes-Benz has passed that point.

  • avatar

    I thought it was the redesigned Lincoln grill.

  • avatar

    What a hideously modified Toyota Venza…

  • avatar

    Has Mercedes off shored all their design to Beijing?

  • avatar

    My initial reaction was that it had to be a Japanese, or possibly even of Korean design. The Chinese are even worse in the aesthetic department, and could never come up with such a concept on their own. However, after considering, it is clear that what we have is authentic Euro-inspired design. Expect it to show up in the next Wagner opera at Bayreuth.

    BTW, I saw an SLS today. Weird, with weird proportions. This Merc is just run of the mill modernist weird. But not offensive or bizarre-o weird after the Oriental Jet Jaguar school of design. I’m sure they’d sell all they could make, and then some.

  • avatar

    After seeing your pic next to that car at NAIAS, I was inspired to have my pic taken in the exact same place.

  • avatar

    This may be tasteless enough to sell well in the Gulf region.

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