A Gull-wing door is a top-hinged door made popular by the legendary road-going version of the iconic racing 300SL Mercedes back in the 1950s. Since then, gullwing doors have found their way onto another Mercedes model, the SLS.
The Mercedes 300SL is an incredibly popular classic car these days, and the gullwing doors are certainly one of the reasons why. Tesla has also introduced its version of the Gullwing doors in the top-of-the-line SUV the Model X, which are called Falcon doors.
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL (chassis code W 198) was introduced in 1952 for racing purposes, and in 1954 for the 2-seater road-going sports car. The road-going version of the SL was offered in roadster and coupe form.
The 300SL was powered by a 2.9-liter straight-six engine mated to a 4-speed manual transmission. The 300SL offered 240hp and 217 lb-ft of torque. The car only weighed around 3440 pounds for the coupe and a bit more for the roadster, which enabled the 300SL to be fairly athletic, even by modern-day standards.
Since the birth of the 300SL, the popularity of this model has skyrocketed since many people believe the 300SL is the most beautiful classic car of all time. Along with its popularity, the value has also skyrocketed. The original value of the 300SL was around $7k for the coupe (not adjusted for inflation).
Nowadays, a decent 300SL coupe will cost you as much as $1-3 million dollars. And the value is only expected to keep on climbing as the 300SL is showing no signs of settling down. The coupe version is even more collectable, partially because the roadster does not offer the Gullwing doors.
Mercedes SLS AMG
The Mercedes SLS AMG was first introduced in 2010 as the spiritual successor of the iconic Mercedes 300SL. The SLS also comes in a coupe version equipped with Gullwing doors, or a roadster version with regular doors, just like the 300SL.
The SLS is equipped with one of the most highly appraised AMG engines of all time, the 6.2-liter, naturally-aspired V8, mated to a 7-speed double-clutch automatic transmission, capable of up to 631hp (468 lb-ft) and in the most powerful Black Series version.
The SLS has also experienced a steady rise in value over the last few years, and nowadays you are expected to pay at least $150k for a decent example, and well over $600k for the limited-edition top-of-the-line SLS AMG Black Series.
The SLS ceased production in 2015 and was later replaced by the AMG GT, which is also coming to the end of its lifeline in 2022. Even though the AMG GT was a later model, only the AMG GT Black Series had more power than the SLS AMG Black Series.
The SLS AMG is also expected to do better when it comes to value in the upcoming years, partially because the AMG GT does not come equipped with gullwing doors, and also because of the iconic 6.2-liter naturally aspired V8.
The effect of gullwing doors on the value of the car
Most models do better in roadster form than they do in coupe form. Some car manufacturers such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Mclaren, and many others will offer convertible models with a significant premium compared to a coupe. And the second-hand value also favors the convertible models more.
But in the case of the 300SL and the SLS AMG, the coupe is almost always considered more collectable because of the gullwing doors, so the value of these is higher than the roadster form. Throughout history, only a few cars have come with gullwing/Falcon doors from the factory.
A Pagani Huayra is an exotic multi-million-dollar hypercar made by a boutique Italian manufacturer Pagani Automobili. The Huayra also comes in roadster and coupe forms, and many enthusiasts have expressed their animosity because the roadster comes with regular doors.
Gullwing door FAQs
What’s the difference between gullwing and butterfly/scissor doors?
Butterfly/Scissor doors are a staple of the big V12 powered Lamborghini models such as the Aventador or the Murcielago. Ferrari also offers butterfly doors with their top-of-the-line V12 models like the Ferrari LaFerrari or the Ferrari Enzo.
These doors are hinged in the same place as regular doors, but the hinge mechanism is different so the doors open either in a butterfly looking fashion, or a more angular scissor-like fashion.
Brands like Rolls Royce offer the so-called “Suicide Doors,” which are rear-hinged in an effort of making the door opening as wide as possible for a person dressed in a gala dress. There are also a few other door types in the car industry, but the butterfly/scissor and gullwing models are considered the coolest of them all.
What’s the best Mercedes SL model to buy?
From a value perspective, the SLS AMG Black Series does seem like the best model to buy, but the SLS AMG BS costs a lot more than the rest of the SLS lineup. The Black Series is also the most athletic, most powerful and most entertaining model to drive, and also the most limited of them all.
However, when choosing between the coupe and the roadster, the coupe does seem like a way more popular variant on the second-hand market. Due to the gullwing doors and the driving characteristics, the coupe seems like a better buy overall. The coupe is also expected to enjoy a steadier climb in value compared to the roadster.
Is Mercedes going to release a new model with gullwing doors?
No current models are being offered with gullwing doors, and Mercedes realizes that the gullwing door option is incredibly valuable to the brand so Mercedes will probably only offer the Gullwing doors for the best, most valuable models.
Maybe the successor of the AMG GT will offer gullwing doors, but as of right now there are no indications about the successor of the GT. It’s still unclear as to when Mercedes plans to offer a car with gullwing doors, but when they eventually do decide to do so, it will most certainly be a popular model.