For more than five decades - from the original 300SL Gullwing of 1952 to the current fifth generation models - the SL series has combined the finest Teutonic engineering, superlative performance and luxury in a sporting package without peer. The W107 series SL, launched by Mercedes-Benz in 1971 to replace the ageing but popular Pagoda-roof range, was designed to meet new safety legislation for the North American market and boasted impressive levels of structural integrity. In fact, Stuttgart's own engineer's dubbed the new model der Panzerwagen and to combat the inevitable weight gains, the W107 was initially offered with a powerful 3.5-litre V8 engine with a choice of automatic or manual transmissions. Sophisticated new suspension finally did away with the old swing axles, replacing them with semi-trailing arms along with coil springs and telescopic shock absorbers plus the option of an anti-roll bar. The SL series was extremely versatile and could be driven either with the top down (with a soft-top for emergencies) or with a detachable hardtop that transformed the car into a proper coupe during the winter months. The beautifully crafted interior was equipped with every luxury touch available in the day, including air conditioning. The W107 remained in production for the best part of two decades, testimony to the inherent quality of the original design and the bulletproof mechanicals make them an excellent proposition today.