Skip to main content

Almost everyone dreams of one car they want to own, whether it’s a European exotic or an American classic. Despite their immense wealth, even celebrities dream of unattainable cars. The Emmy-winning actor Jon Hamm would love to own a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing. Considering the Mad Men star’s connection to the German luxury automaker, it’s easy to see why Jon Hamm’s dream car would be a Mercedes.

Jon Hamm’s dream car is a rare Mercedes supercar

When Hamm appeared on Jay Leno’s Garage in 2020, he revealed his dream car is a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing.

The antique, considered the original supercar, houses a potent fuel-injected six-cylinder engine and boasts exceptional build quality. The Mad Men star pointed out the unique flush door handles, saying, “Tesla thought they invented that, but they had it in ’55.” A push of the button on the handle activates the cutting-edge gullwing doors that were a marvel in the 1950s and remain so today.

Leno explained that Mercedes produced about 1,300 of these innovative vehicles and that an estimated 700 to 800 are still around. In 1955, the sticker price was $6,820. Today, the 300 SL Gullwing has an estimated market value of $1.65 million.

When the former late-night host let the Top Gun: Maverick star drive the iconic sports car, he giddily replied, “You’re going to have to chisel the smile off my face.”

Another tidbit in the episode likely explains why Jon Hamm’s dream car is a Mercedes.

Jon Hamm is a longtime brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz

Jon Hamm at the 2020 Mercedes-Benz Annual Academy Viewing Party on Feb. 9, 2020, in Los Angeles
Jon Hamm | Morgan Lieberman/FilmMagic

Although the actor’s Mad Men character, Don Draper, drove a 1965 Cadillac Coupe DeVille for most of the long-running TV series, Jon Hamm’s choice of dream car is not surprising.

Since 2010, he has been a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz USA. Considered the “voice of Mercedes,” Hamm has done voiceover work for many of the automaker’s commercials. His first ad aired during ABC’s Academy Awards broadcast that year.

A March 2010 New York Times article about Hamm’s new role with the German carmaker makes no mention of the actor being a Mercedes fan. So his choice of dream car might be a professional decision that has developed over the years rather than a personal one. Either way, the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing remains coveted among enthusiasts.

Why is the 300 SL Gullwing so special?

The Mad Men actor is far from the only Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing fan. During the car’s debut at the 1954 International Motor Sports Show in New York, its extraordinary power and innovative design dazzled auto enthusiasts. 

Inspired by the success of the 300 SL race car, the street-legal variation took the automotive world by storm. “The new sports car exuded elegance and innovation in equal measure,” Mercedes-Benz boasts. “It was the world’s first four-stroke production passenger car to be equipped with output- and efficiency-enhancing direct fuel injection.”

The lightweight design supported an engine harnessing 215 hp and hitting a top speed of 155 mph, making the now-antique car the fastest production model of its time. A highlight was the spaceframe, providing superior rigidity. But it was incompatible with conventional car doors, so engineers devised the groundbreaking top-hinged, up-swinging “gullwings.”

Though the 300 SL was in series production from only 1954 to 1957, the sports car of the century made a comeback of sorts in the 2022 Mercedes-AMG SL

“Its exterior makes its SL lineage unmistakable,” Mercedes-Benz explains, “even as its aerodynamic form and AMG-specific grille suggest a thoroughly modern approach to performance.” The interior also “feels true to the tradition of the classic SL roadster but reinvented for the modern era.”