"Gullwing"; the name conjures powerful images of the mighty Chance Vought Corsair fighter of WWII, or of the iconic Stinson Reliant of the pre-war years. But mention the name to any modern automobile enthusiast, and they will immediately recall the 1956 Mercedes 300 SLR Coupe.
The sleek Formula One racer-turned-road car was aptly nicknamed, as its upward-folding doors gave the appearance of something rather avian. Mercedes chief designer Rudolph Uhlenhaut undertook converting two of the then-retired 300 SLR roadsters into an incredibly stylish coupe, and appropriated one of them for his personal transportation. At the time, it was the fastest road car on the planet, reaching the then-phenomenal speed of 180 mph.
Some years ago, Revell, the famous kit company, released a series of die cast 1:12 300 SLR Coupes, and for the money, they are a real treat. The body and paint work are excellent, panel fit clean and tight, and the gullwing doors self-supporting. Revell captured the magnificent lines of the car very well, and all of the details are crisp and exacting.
The interior is nicely executed, with plaid-pattern seats, gated shift lever, four spoke steering wheel, and full instrumentation. Although the wire wheels are not hand-laced or photo etch, they are still convincing, and feature the Mercedes 3-pointed star on the knockoffs. The front wheels are poseable as well.
This model looks great displayed open or closed, or even with everything unbuttoned, including the fully detailed engine bay. The SLR is not supplied with its plastic base of factory box, yet it is an incredible value for the dollar.