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1957 Mercedes 300SLS vs.Paul O'Shea Georg Tilp 300SL Lightweights


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#1 HistoryBuff

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 15:48

I was doing research into the former Scott grundfor 300SLS roadster, since sold, which actually was a re-numbered 1952 factory racing car 00009/52.  I contend that the three cars photogrpahed by David Douglas Duncan for Colliers were all 300SLS cars but saw a mention in a magazine that only two were made, though the magazine shows three in convoy crossing the Alps on a test run (dramatic photos by the way, the drivers wearing those leather or cloth helmets and goggles with racing windscreens). Then I read that Paul O'Shea and Georg Tilp had lightweight (alluminum bodied?) 300SLs or were they steel bodied cars that went through a weight reduction program? Anyway they sewed up the SCCA Class D  championship and I was wondering how they could run as production cars if all the rest of the 300SL roadsters were steel bodied? In a story by Dennis Adler it says the two O'Shea/Tilp factory prepared roadsters disappeared into the sands of time.

 

So reducing it to questions:

-how many factory 300SLS cars were made?

-Are the O'Shea-Tilp SCCA roadsters part of that run?

-Were the O'Shea-Tilp cars alloy bodied and how did that make them production cars?

 

Thanks for any advice,

 



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#2 Tim Murray

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 16:37

This earlier thread may be of interest:

 

Paul O'Shea Mercedes 300SLS



#3 David Birchall

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Posted 11 October 2013 - 17:48

Apparently there were 29 alloy bodied 300SLs-it was a factory option.  I recall one here in Vancouver in the seventies.



#4 RA Historian

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Posted 12 October 2013 - 13:51

Then I read that Paul O'Shea and Georg Tilp had lightweight (alluminum bodied?) 300SLs or were they steel bodied cars that went through a weight reduction program? Anyway they sewed up the SCCA Class D  championship and I was wondering how they could run as production cars if all the rest of the 300SL roadsters were steel bodied?

 

You are confusing several cars. O'Shea used a fairly standard 300-SL coupe to win the DP SCCA championship c 1955-56. In 1957 he drove a 300-SL roadster in the DM category because the new roadster was not yet homologated by the SCCA. He won the DM title that year.



#5 karlcars

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Posted 23 November 2013 - 10:18

I'm away from home at the moment but these cars are described in detail in my book Mercedes-Bens -- Qucksilver Century.

 

They are also shown in my Iconografix book on the 300SLs.

 

-- Karl L.



#6 cabianca

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 17:39

If you will refer to the link above provided by Tim Murray, I think your inquiry will be answered. There were no Mercedes SLS cars, at least not by factory designation. As has been pointed out. O'Shea won the production class with 300 SL coupes. Then, he won the D Modified class in a roadster that was either not homologated (think it was) or modified to a point where it could not be classified as a production car and was placed in D Modified (same class as a 300S Maserati). Nonetheless, by dint of participating in the bulk of the championship races around the country, O'Shea amassed enough points to win the championship. There were two modified roadsters in the US, their serial numbers are known and they have never resurfaced. As I say, refer to Murray's link for elaboration on this information and much more.



#7 raceannouncer2003

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 06:56

The 1956 Collier's article (I was just given that edition) seems to refer to the 300SL prototype as the SLS (Super Light Special).  Here is the link:

 

http://www.scottgrun...0sls-prototype/

 

Vince H.



#8 D-Type

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 19:52

The 1956 Collier's article (I was just given that edition) seems to refer to the 300SL prototype as the SLS (Super Light Special).  Here is the link:

 

http://www.scottgrun...0sls-prototype/

 

Vince H.

I'm not too impressed with Scott Grundfor's research ability.  He says

David Douglas Duncan is an American photojournalist .... He was a photographer for Life Magazine during World War II, Korea and Vietnam and developed, along with Leica, what was to become the modern SLR camera that all subsequent journalists/photographers used for the next 50 years.

 

Leica were famous for high quality rangefinder cameras.  Their first SLR camera, the Leicaflex, was introduced in 1964.  It wasn't exactly pioneering as it was preceded by the Kine Exakta in 1936, Praktika and the Zeiss Contax in 1949, Asahiflex in 1953 and the Miranda and other Japanese SLRs from 1955.  And there were non-35mm SLR cameras before that.  If he gets something as basic as that wrong, what hope for the rest of his article?

 

Admittedly, the Dennis Adler article Grundfor references does refer to the 1957 lightweight 300SL roadster as a "300SLS" but I wouldn't consider that a definitive and trustworthy source