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Christopher Bruce2012-12-31 15:19:16

Playing with Toys: The 300SL Through Miniature

300SL toys since 1953

 
 
Slideshow
300SL toys have been made in a variety of sizes

The title for first ever supercar is a topic of some debate. Some people say it is the Lamborghini MiuraMiuraLamborghini MiuraItaly, 1966 > 19725 versions
61 photos
1 video
, others say it is one of the 20s Bentleys6½-LitreBentley 6½-LitreUnited Kingdom, 1926 > present1 photo
and others contend that the title belongs to the 300SL. But among the contenders, none of them has had as many toys as the 300SL300 SL Competition CoupeMercedes-Benz 300 SL Comp...Germany, 1952 > 19523 photos
. MercedesMercedes-BenzMercedes-BenzGermany, 1924 > present197 models
9897 photos
33 videos
licensed toys of the 300SL to be created almost immediately, and the first 300SL toy was 12cm long by the Markes and Co. toy company in Lüdenscheid, Germany, in 1953. It was based on the 300SL racecar.

“The history of the motor car is always also the history of the model car," said the foreword to the exhibition guide at Models. Design, toy, cult. Mercedes-Benz, an art exhibition focusing on Mercedes toys that ran at the Kunsthalle art gallery in Tübingen.

Over time, the variety of Mercedes toys varied wildly. The first cars were made from tin and were wound with a key to drive. That gave way to plastic cars with electric drives. The target audience of the toys also changed over time. The first ones were aimed at kids, but as those kids grew up and became nostalgic, they wanted their toys again. Toy makers started creating detailed scale models with careful attention to detail that tried to be as close to the real cars as possible. 

300SL toys were made all over the world and many tin versions came from Japan. It did not take long for the first version with an electric drive to come along. Around 1956, Tippco in Germany made a version of the 300SL with a wire connected to a control pad. The child could drive the car forward and back and even steer it. 

The 190SL190 SL RoadsterMercedes-Benz 190 SL Road...Germany, 1955 > 196325 photos
had nearly as much success in toys as the faster 300SL. German toy companies began making tin versions of it as soon as it went on sale in 1955. 

Toy technology took a giant leap in the mid-60s with the peak of tin toy engineering and the introduction of plastic. In 1963, German toy company Schuco sold a toy version of the 230SL230 SLMercedes-Benz 230 SLGermany, 1963 > present3 photos
with a fully functioning four-speed transmission. 



Toys are a way for children to be introduced to cars and experience cars that they may never see. Not everyone will get to own a 300SL, but nearly anyone can afford it as a toy. 

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Mercedes-BenzMercedes-Benz
300 SL300 SL

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