Mercedes-Benz USA and the Gull Wing Group Recreate Historic Image

Words John Clark | June 18, 2011
The Gull Wing Group is celebrating its 50 year milestone by recreating its most famous photo taken in 1961 at Fort Point Park
Words John Clark June 18, 2011

The Gull Wing Group is celebrating its 50 year milestone and is partnering with Mercedes-Benz USA to recreate one of the group’s most famous photos taken in 1961 at Fort Point Park overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California.

Fort Point was built by U.S. Army Engineers during the peak of the Gold Rush between 1853 and 1861, as a defense system to protect San Francisco against naval attack. The fort stands at the base of the 4,200 foot long Golden Gate Bridge, towering 746 feet high. Though Fort Point never faced battle, the structure signifies close to 150 years of military history and architecture.

In honor of the Gull Wing Group’s milestone, Mercedes-Benz USA is donating 125 scholarships to provide children with the opportunity to participate in the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s unique summer educational programs designed to accentuate personal responsibility and initiative, and encourage children to pursue preservation in the future of America’s national parks.

“The Gull Wing vehicle represents Mercedes-Benz leadership in style, design and performance and this anniversary allows us a moment to celebrate the history of that legacy created over fifty years ago.” said Steve Cannon, Vice President of Marketing, Mercedes-Benz USA. “As we look back, we also have to look to the future and that was our intention with the donation to provide San Francisco kids with the opportunity to attend summer camp through the Recreation and Parks Department program.”

Founded in San Francisco, California on June 16, 1961 The Gull Wing Group, led by Ernie Spitzer, was comprised of eighteen 300 SL Coupe owners. Currently over 600 driving enthusiasts dedicated to sharing their knowledge and enjoyment of the 300 SL belong to the Group. On June 10, 2011 – almost 50 years after an original photo was taken to mark the beginning of the Gull Wing Group’s existence – close to 100 members comprised of 24 Gull Wings and 14 Roadsters, are recreating the image by revisiting the very same spot in Fort Point Park, a National Historic Site run by the U.S. National Park Service.

“Donation such as this one helps San Francisco Recreation and Parks to fulfill its mission of providing enriching recreational activities to all San Franciscans.” said Phil Ginsburg, San Francisco Recreation and Park Department’s General Manager. “Our scholarships serve more than 2, 000 San Francisco children and families every year.”

With only 1400 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Gull Wings” produced from 1954-1957, it is one of the most sought after collectible vehicles around the world. Known for its iconic “Gull Wing” doors and fascinating design, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL was technologically years ahead of its time with components such as a direction injection system. In 2011, Mercedes-Benz introduced the SLS AMG, a car inspired by the 1954 300 SL and in the same vein as the orginal, ushered in a new era of supercar leadership.

The history of Mercedes-Benz stretches beyond the Gull Wing Group and this year it is celebrating 125 years of innovation and the anniversary of Carl Benz 1886 patent three-wheel motorwagen with rear-mounted engine, which laid the foundation for motorized transportation that changed the world as we know it today.