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300 SL gullwing illegal reproduction
  • 300 SL gullwing illegal reproduction
  • Mercedes-Benz crushed an illegal reproduction of a 300 SL gullwing.

Replica carmakers take notice: Daimler will not tolerate copies of its signature Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. At all. And if you fail to heed this warning and build a full-size replica of a 300 SL gullwing, justice will come down like three tons of bricks upon your unlicensed creation.

German customs officials recently confiscated what looks to be a very faithful reproduction of a 300 SL from a German company, albeit rendered in fiberglass, and they apparently notified the folks at Daimler, who didn't take too kindly to the unauthorized likeness of their icon.

In their press release (available after the jump), Daimler says the body of the 300 SL is a "work of applied art" that has been under copyright protection for decades. And to make clear their intent to protect that copyright they also remind us they have "long taken a tough approach to vehicle replicas."

The recently seized copy found out just how tough when the Mercedes-Benz used parts centre (responsible for scrapping the company's unwanted prototypes) put the replica SL in a 30-ton industrial press and transformed it from illegal to unrecognizable. It then received the official "confirmation of scrappage" designation.
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Unlawful replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL destroyed

Daimler AG takes a firm line on vehicle replicas

Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz Classic has destroyed the replica body of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL. The courts have ruled that it is not legal to market the body, which was seized by German customs officials.

The body shape of the legendary gullwing model has been trademarked by Daimler AG. Anyone building, offering or selling replicas of the vehicle is in breach of the Company's rights. This even applies if the replicas do not incorporate any logos or trademarks of the Company. Daimler AG has long taken a tough approach to vehicle replicas.

As a work of applied art, the body of the 300 SL has been under copyright protection for a number of decades. The employees who designed the famous gullwing model in the 1950s granted Daimler AG comprehensive exploitation rights. The body shape has also been trademarked by Daimler AG, as recently confirmed by the Stuttgart regional court (case no. 17 O 304/10, final and binding judgment dated 9 December 2010, following withdrawal of an appeal).

A case had arisen in which a company based in Germany had built an unlawful replica of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198 series). The first step in destroying the replica was to separate the chassis from the body. The Mercedes-Benz used-parts centre, which is also responsible for scrapping all Mercedes-Benz prototypes from the development units, then destroyed the body on behalf of Daimler AG. The certified equipment used in the centre includes two presses, each applying over 30 tonnes of pressure. The replica sports car had a fibreglass body weighing precisely 148 kilograms, which the compressor smashed into small pieces. This dramatic end to the unlawful body was officially documented with a signed and stamped 'confirmation of scrappage'.

The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL (W 198 series) is one of the best known cars in the world. It was launched on the market in 1954 as a coupé with distinctive gullwing doors. In 1999, an international panel of judges voted it 'sports car of the century'. Today, the original gullwing model and its roadster variant, which was introduced in 1957, are two of the most coveted vehicles on the international classic car scene. All the major car collections worldwide feature the 300 SL – an icon of design and engineering expertise.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 3 Years Ago
      As Clarkson might say: "And ZAT is how you handle dis ze German way."
      Your Highness
      • 3 Years Ago
      No replica for you!
      • 3 Years Ago
      I am sure the molds are still out there somewhere - I wonder where this thing originated from.
      Reece Lightning
      • 3 Years Ago
      i imagine they have a licensing agreement with an official reproduction company, and the removal of unofficial copies is in their best interest.
      Kyle Potter
      • 3 Years Ago
      what a bunch of dicks.
      TJ Wenger
      • 3 Years Ago
      Mercedes doesn't like Vehicle replicas?! Crap. Get the mobile crusher, we've got some work to do inside the great wall...
      • 3 Years Ago
      as long as your not selling it for profit then you should be able to do what you want
      • 3 Years Ago
      God forbid anyone other than extreme 1% enjoy a classic body style. I don't see how this would negatively effect them at all, it certainly isn't going to reduce the value of the remaining originals.
      Cain Gray
      • 3 Years Ago
      Never understood why people make these cars. If it's not the real thing, and you can't afford one, then maybe you shouldn't have it. This is almost as stupid as those guys who convert MR2s to Lambos.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Nazism is alive and well. Deutschebags.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Um... yeah... a company protecting its patents is just like Nazism. Exactly the same. Please tone the hyperbole down. It's blocking the sun.
          • 3 Years Ago
          Lighten up, Francis. Normally I'd agree but apparently the humor in this case went right over your head.
      • 3 Years Ago
      So the intellectual-property "theft" of recreating a design of a 60 year-old Mercedes-Benz is not tolerated however the physical theft and destruction of another company's vehicle is considered okay. Mercedes-Benz lost nothing by replica-builder's use of their 60 year-old design however I am sure that the replica-builder lost a great deal by the vehicle's theft and destruction on behalf of MB. Too bad the German Customs Officials and Daimler Execs that were responsible for this decision didn't follow the replica into the 30 ton industrial press.
      Car Guy
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's their IP so they have the right to protect the copyright. That said, I think MB is foolish not to licence it for kit cars. In the end that would only boost their own image and popularity of their brand, much like the Cobra. As the old saying goes, imitation is the best form of flattery.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Car Guy
        MB doesn't want inferior copies of the SL rolling around- and anything that isn't MB authorized will be inferior. And it keeps the door open for MB to reproduce shells and charge $$$$$ for them.
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