Eight Mercedes-Benz 300SLs to headline the 2024 George Old Car Show

This year, the 2024 edition of the George Old Car Show in the Garden Route will feature the largest gathering of original Mercedes-Benz 300SL sports cars the country has ever seen. Eight out of the nine original series 300SLs in South Africa will be showcased at the event. The show is set to take place on the weekend of 10 to 11 February at the Eden Technical High School in George.

These iconic cars, which earned the title Sports Car of the Century in 2009, have garnered great enthusiasm, according to Waldo Scribante, chairman of The Southern Cape Old Car Club which is organising the event. Scribante, who owns an extensive Mercedes-Benz classic collection, expressed excitement about the committed entries for these rare and valuable vehicles.

A noteworthy addition to this year’s show is the original Gullwing 300SL Coupé, making its debut. Scribante highlighted the significance of this inclusion, as the Gullwing is currently the sole original SL series coupé in South Africa.

The George Old Car Show’s reputation as the premier Western Cape event for classic cars is underscored by the diverse origins of the SL 300s participating in the show. These cars will be coming from various parts of the country, including Johannesburg, Klerksdorp, Cape Town, Paarl, and even a local machine from George. Notably, this SL display coincides closely with the 70th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz 300SL.

The roots of the original Mercedes-Benz 300SL trace back to 1954, a period of motorsport dominance for the Stuttgart-based manufacturer. Derived from the 1952 Carrera Panamericana, the first 300SL featured a special triangulated tubular space-frame design in its chassis, a design element retained in the road-going version.

The famous “Gullwing” nickname for the 300SL Coupé stems from the unique upward-flipping doors, inspired by the high door sills of the competition-spec 300SL. The coupé version, produced between 1954 and 1957, incorporated racing DNA, making it a trailblazer in engineering.

Key features of the 300SL include the first-ever direct-injection petrol engine, a 3.0-liter straight-six overhead camshaft engine, and a distinctive low bonnet line achieved through a canted engine and dry-sump lubrication system. With a top speed ranging from 235 to 263 km/h, the 300SL became the fastest production car in the world in the mid-1950s.

The 300SL Roadster, introduced in 1957, maintained the coupé’s mechanical layout but featured modified chassis sections to accommodate conventional doors. Known for its aesthetic elements, including leather interiors and “eyebrows” above the wheel arches, the Roadster contributed to a total production of 1 400 Gullwing coupés and 1 858 roadsters between 1954 and 1963.

The George Old Car Show 2024 anticipates over 1 000 classic cars. Tickets are available through iTickets, and pre-1985 classic car owners interested in showcasing their vehicles should visit the Southern Cape Old Car Club‘s website for pre-registration. The organisers strongly recommend online ticket purchases to avoid queues at the gate.