Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing

The phrase "instant classic" gets thrown around a lot these days, and applied to all sorts of mediocre stuff, from mass produced retro muscle cars to Italian exotics that are astonishing only by virtue of price. Truth be told, you can probably count the numbers of cars that have ever been deserving of such a label on one hand (and perhaps have a finger or two left over). Certainly the Mercedes-Benz 300SL is one of the few.

First introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show and produced for only four years, the amazing "Gullwing" is as shocking a sight to behold today as it was some six decades ago. Seeing this icon on the street was rare even in period, as Mercedes sold fewer than 1,500. Today, with values in the $800,000 range, Gullwings are more often than not ogled from afar or treated with care more befitting a Faberge egg than a 160-mile-per-hour sports car.

That circumstance only makes this four-minute video all that much more wonderful, as it is likely the best modern footage of a 300SL extant. With plenty of artistic camerawork and excellent sound recording of the direct-injected 3-liter six at full throttle, we're betting you'll want to watch it twice. Hearing the car's unidentified owner talk about owning and driving it made us want to cheer a little, as he's our kind of car guy, someone who feels that cars were meant to be driven and enjoyed rather than locked away in a museum.

Scroll down to watch the full video, and here's to hoping that maybe director Josh Clason might cut together an extended version.