Then and Now: Mercedes Gullwings at the Carrera Panamericana Mexico
Porsche may use names like Targa, Carrera and even Panamera. But these labels – all derived from the dangerous world of sportscar road rallies – didn't always belong to them and them alone.
Among the most prominent of these bygone races was the Carrera Panamericana. The event was fielded in Mexico in the early 1950s before it was disbanded. Not before Mercedes pulled off a most impressive feat, however. In 1952, a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL won the event with a spectacular one-two finish. But along the way, the first car struck a condor, damaging the car and its co-pilot. The mechanics fitted the windshield with steel bars to prevent any further damage, and those bars remain on the car today.
That very same vehicle has now left the Mercedes-Benz racing museum in Stuttgart and returned, alongside its modern-day successor, the new SLS AMG, to participate in the Carrera Panamericana Mexico revival.