This $130,000 Mercedes Gullwing Isn’t a Mercedes Gullwing

Well, it is but it isn’t. Confused? This is a Mercedes and it is a Gullwing, but we wouldn’t call it a Mercedes Gullwing. With aluminum ones fetching $5 million and pedestrian examples starting at almost $1 million, you knew this couldn’t be a real Gullwing

But it is not a kit car, either. It is a fitting tribute to the original SL Gullwing based on a 2001 SLK32 AMG. You can tell when you stare that the proportions are not quite right. In fact, with the proportions of an SL instead of an SLK, it might have been a more passable copy.

The Gullwing took five years which included the hand-made aluminum body

Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG
Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG | C&W

But we’re splitting hairs. The work looks incredible, and it took five years starting with a hand-made aluminum body. A 3D scan helped to create a wooden buck over which the aluminum panels were formed over. The proportions meant the original body data needed to be adjusted for the short wheelbase SLK’s bones.

Once the body was hacked off, a steel tube roll cage was constructed to add both protection and rigidity. This Merc should be as tight as a drum. And those doors should sound like a vault.

The SLK is a curious choice for the bones of this Gullwing

Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG
Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG | C&W

Not to belabor the subject but the SLK is a curious choice for as well done as this pseudo Gullwing looks to be. It was never known as a particularly sporting car. Specifically, the curious choice of a recirculating ball steering was as antiquated as it sounds. 

Tried and true rack-and-pinion would have helped, but with a five-speed automatic and heavyweight what should have been a fun car to flip around became a dud. With the AMG massaged 3.2-liter supercharged V6, there is 349 hp under the hood. That drivetrain gets a reprieve because according to the press release the Gullwing weighs almost 900 lbs less than a stock SLK.

But with the larger wheels and low-profile tires, combined with fewer overhangs front and rear, this is a slightly improved Gullwing in some ways. We would never suggest the original SLs needed improvements, but the overall feel of this copy gives it a chunky, contemporary take on a classic. And the best part is that you can drive it daily without the fear that comes with plying the highways with a multi-million dollar classic. 

If you’ve ever arrived in a Gullwing anything, it attracts all of the attention

Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG with doors up
Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG | C&W

RELATED: New Mercedes SL Will have Flavor of Original Gullwing

And if you’ve ever arrived in a Gullwing anything, when you pop those doors up and exit, you see everyone within eyesight looking at the car. They definitely get the attention. And to most people, it looks every bit of a real SL. So does $130,000 still sound like a lot? 

It’s available through Crossley & Webb in Gardens Cape Town. You’ll notice that this is a right-hand drive, but if you’ve got the cha-cha to buy it you’ve got the ability to ship it here. If you do, bring it by the MotorBiscuit digs so we can check it out and take it for a spin. Please.

Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG interior
Gullwing tribute from 2001 Mercedes SLK AMG | C&W