Mercedes-Benz Destroys Replica of the 300SL Gullwing in Germany after Winning Lawsuit


One of the most popular models amongst replica car builders is the classic Mercedes-Benz 300SL, and all for good reason as only 1,400 'Gullwing' coupes and a little over 1,800 roadsters were ever built from 1954 to 1963, which makes them both extremely rare and expensive.

Now it seems that Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler are not willing to turn a blind eye anymore and are taking legal actions against unauthorized replica builds.

After winning a lawsuit against an unnamed company based in Germany that had built an unlawful replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W198 series), the automaker made it a point to tell the world that it means business by destroying the replica and publishing pictures of the event.

The company also issued a statement, which among other things, said it will toughen its stance against replica makers.

"The body shape of the legendary gullwing model has been trademarked by Daimler AG. Anyone building, offering or selling replicas of the vehicle is in breach of the Company's rights. This even applies if the replicas do not incorporate any logos or trademarks of the Company. Daimler AG has long taken a tough approach to vehicle replicas."



DuDE said... »March 21, 2012

Still, they can do nothing in China!

8LiterHemiV8 said... »March 21, 2012

isn't it a bit harsh to release photos of it destroyed?

GoFaster58 said... »March 21, 2012

Always patent your designs.  Ask Jeep about that.

Brandon said... »March 21, 2012

Several hours later, Yema Auto released photos of its new 2013 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Clone..

Gary Bendrey said... »March 21, 2012

This is too bad. Better to license replica makers or just restrict and prevent the use of Mercedes Benz three pointed star, corporate name, and the 300sl name. Shelby Cobra's are widely produced as replicas by different companies and it does not seem to affect the value or reputation of the real original Cobra's of Shelby's.
So few 300sl's made, and the price is strastopheric an beyond the reach of any but the one percent of the one percent.
I have not looked into wether Shelby has some sort of licensing arrangement with replica makers.
If China wants to make 300sl replica's it will anyway. American and German laws do not translate into the legal system in the land of Mao's little red book.

Guest said... »March 21, 2012

I see they spared the chassis.

Dullwing said... »March 21, 2012

When Shelby realized there was money at stake he did indeed impose and enforce licensing agreement with anyone using the Shelby or Shelby Cobra names. Many a fight among him and the people who kept his namesake alive long after he initially abandoned it.

And it is too bad that Mercedes went to the extent they have as these replicas could have been licensed and limited to usage such as the movie industry. Think of the free publicity Mercedes gets every time an original Gullwing shows-up in a movie. Immense.

LouInPA said... »March 21, 2012

These guys won't be happt -

3Deuce27 said... »March 21, 2012

They have defaced the tribute and compliment paid to this great design by the replicas. 

They have also destroyed a small industry and killed jobs.  Shame on Daimler Benz. 

wookiee said... »March 21, 2012

I'm pretty sure there's a 15% rule (15% difference between patented design and replica and the patent holder has no grounds) which could be used in this case.  obviously the "unnamed German company" didn't comply with that, but it doesn't mean other companies don't or won't.

depending on what the Daimler patent actually refers to, 15% of change isn't that hard to come up with.  could be as simple as mounting points for panels and subtle aero mods.

aaronbbrown said... »March 22, 2012

 Just another example of corporations with too much money, and executives with too much time on their hands, who instead of improving their products, they are obsessed with protecting their brand, the all-important brand.  

Long ago the vast majority of the weasels who rule the car business jettisoned all concerned for quality, workmanship, customer satisfaction, genuine technological progress etc. in favor of brand building, brand recognition, brand brand brand. They should really be in the cattle business. 

Better yet let's take out all the auto executives and brand them on their asses with the company logo, burn it into flesh, as a permanent reminder of what is important in this business.  Lets brand them on their  for heads as well, so every time they look in the mirror they can remember where their loyalty lies, to the brand. Give me a F-ing brand break, please!

Johan said... »July 02, 2012

this is patenting gone array. Why should MB still have rights to a car they stopped making decades ago, and haven't  done anything with again since? Where is their loss if someone makes a tribute to the original?

This is just to please a few very rich customers of them who can afford to buy the original, and who are horrified that someone, even for a split second, might mistake the copy for an original :-s Limit the ban to the mercedes emblem. That's in use today. 

I would love to see these cars more often. I love their shape, original and copy alike. And I hate for there to be only originals, which at todays prices are locked up safely and hidden from public view :-s

I prefer the attitude of Porsche. As a learning project In their mechanics school they let the students build replica porsche 550's :-) 

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