Is Gullwing America’s 300 SLC an automotive Frankenstein?

GWA 300 SLC front three quarterThe Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Roadster is a pretty formidable car, but does it have the makings of a classic? The 1955 300SC is already a classic, so a car combining the 2013 SLS’ performance and tech with the 300SC’s styling would have a very impressive pedigree. That’s why Gullwing America (GWA) tried to combine the two, with its 300 SLC.

For this one-off build, GWA kept the important bits of the SLS AMG, such as the 6.2-liter V8 and seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The V8 produces 583 horsepower and 479 pound-feet of torque in the 2013 SLS AMG GT Roadster, and 563 hp in last year’s SLS AMG.

The 300 SLC, though, will makes just as big an impression with its styling as it will with its engine. The big grille and flowing fenders definitely bring the 1955 300SC to mind, while LED headlights remind passersby what year it really is.

GWA was able to keep the stock SLS AMG Roadster’s electric rear spoiler, but the power soft top has been replaced with a removable hard top, just like the one on the original 300SC.

Despite the name of its maker, and the SLS AMG’s connection to the 1950’s 300SL Roadster, the 300 SLC is actually inspired by a more formal drop-top. The 300SC was a sporty roadster version of the 300-series, which was also available as a coupe, standard convertible, and sedan.

GWA 300 SLC profileThe retro treatment is dangerously close to goofy, but the wealthy Eastern European who commissioned it must have seen something in the concept. It’s definitely not any less ridiculous than other “neo-classic” cars like the Excalibur and Zimmer Golden Spirit.

When it’s not indulging the retro tastes of anonymous clients, GWA is usually building updated replicas of its namesake car. GWA’s 300SL Gullwings come with steel space frame chassis, aluminum bodies, and modern Mercedes engines for power. Options include Mercedes’ 3.5-liter V6, with 320 hp, or a 5.5-liter V8, with 408 hp.