AMELIA ISLAND, FL – Mercedes-Benz, founding sponsor of The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, celebrates 15 years of supporting one of the nation’s most innovative vintage car shows featuring over 250 rare classics from seldom-seen private collections nationwide.  The Concours takes place on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island from March 12-14, 2010.

Marking the 15th anniversary of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Mercedes-Benz will feature a collection of iconic as well as all-new vehicles including the legendary
Le Mans-winning 1952 300 SL and 1956 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupe, along with the 2011 SLS AMG.

“The SLS AMG and Gullwing displays at the 15th anniversary of the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance are top examples of Mercedes-Benz historical significance and major contributions with the automobile industry,” said Stephen Cannon, VP of Marketing, MBUSA.  “The iconic 1954 Gullwing represents the leading innovation Mercedes-Benz is known for throughout history and the SLS AMG sets a new standard for supercars of the future just like the 300 SL did over 50 years ago.”

Unveiled in 1954 at the “International Motor Sports Show” in New York, the 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupe, a road version of the 300 SL competition car was the first true post-war sports car developed by Daimler-Benz.  Production started late in 1954 and over the course of three years only 1400 examples were built.  The 300 SL continues to be sought after by collectors for its iconic design and technical innovation.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL competition car, internally known as the W 194, was built in approximately nine months and marked the debut of the “SL” designation denoting both Sport and Light.  The tubular space frame was an epoch-making design.

Consisting of an extremely light design, the frame was raised at the side to achieve optimum strength – a design that necessitated the use of the now legendary gullwing doors.  A race team consisting of Hermann Lang and Fritz Reiss drove the 300 SL to victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June of 1952, the first time a German car achieved this result. The W 194 on display is courtesy of Fastwelve LLC in Portland, Oregon.

The 2011 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG is the first vehicle entirely designed by AMG.  The limited production vehicle features gullwing doors; an AMG 6.3-liter, front-mid V8 engine with a maximum power of 563 hp and 479 lb-ft of torque. It is not just the doors that draw inspiration from the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, but also the wide grille complete with a large Mercedes star and the wing-like crossbar.

The sculptured front with its low, v-shaped front skirt and lateral indentations gives the SLS a powerful stance on the road. The SLS AMG will serve as the safety car for the 2010 Formula One season.

On display at the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island is Mercedes-Benz newest addition to the successful 9th generation of the E-Class family.   The E-Class Cabriolet is a two-door, four-seat, drop-top version of the stylish E-Class Coupe introduced in mid-2009.  Arriving at dealerships in May 2010, the vehicle features the world’s-first AIRCAP®, a feature that reduces cabin turbulence and wind draft for all seat occupants with the push of a button. This innovation combined with the AIRSCARF® neck-level heating system allows for top-down driving during all four seasons.

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