Mercedes-Benz Sports Cars - Everyone likes red
by Doug Breithaupt

To be an owner of a Mercedes-Benz sports car is to have arrived. For over 70 years, these top-line models have been the choice of people who want to be noticed as well as those who appreciate great cars. Here are seven small-scale diecast examples from the 1930's to 1990's. All in shades of red, they have been selected as some of the best representative castings for each era. The 190 SL from Welly is the most recent addition and very welcome. The new SL model is anticipated from many toy car manufacturers and I hope a red example allows this theme to continue.
1937 540K - Hot Wheels

Certainly one of the ancestors of the modern SL, the 540K is one of the great classics be any standard. These classic Hot Wheels castings are still favorites of many and this red model with the tan top was one of the best color combinations. A very nice collector version was done in green with rubber tires as well.

1955 300 SL Gull-Wing - Corgi

The Gull-Wing Mercedes-Benz is one of the most desirable models ever produced. Racing-bred, it has come to represent the best of the Benz sports cars. Corgi did a fine job on their SL with opening gull-wing doors and good color combinations. Too bad Hot Wheels has not made use of this casting for a collector model.
1955 190 SL Cabriolet - Welly

The 190 SL was far less potent compared to the 300 SL but a great looker. Welly is the first to offer a diecast model of this car in 1:64 scale. The casting and detail are excellent, especially considering the low price. Unfortunately, distribution has been poor and I had to have one sent from Germany. It looks great in red and is secured by screws, not rivets which could allow for easy custom work.

1966 230 SL Hard-Top - Penny (Polistil)

The 'Pagoda-top' SL of the 1960's is receiving new respect from collectors. The classic styling and decent performance make a tempting combination. Penny Toys were produced by Polistil of Italy and are also gaining more respect from toy car collectors. Other than the undersized tires, this model is a delight. The trunk opens.
1972 350 SL Cabriolet - Schuco

The car of the stars in the 1970's was the new V8 powered SL. It had good looks, power and sex-appeal that has kept values high. Schuco produced a lovely roadster with excellent detail and opening doors. Like the Penny Toys, these German Schuco models are sought-after by smart collectors.

1979 450 SLC - King Star

If you wanted your SL with a fixed-top, the SLC offered that option. The baroque side windows were not to the taste of everyone but with the 4.5 litre V8 it was a stormer. King Star of Korea was one of the few to do a 1:64 scale SLC model. King Star models are a lot like Ertl models of the same vintage but more difficult to find.
1988 500 SL Cabriolet - Matchbox (Premier Edition)

The new SL of the late 1980's lost none of the appeal of the previous models. Again the looks and power made it a coveted model. Prices were climbing but sales remained strong. Matchbox produced an excellent casting of the 500 SL. With the addition of Premier Edition paint it was even better. The white-letter tires are an unlikely choice for this car and can be reversed to look better.