Rolling Sculpture: Benz SL55 and 300SLS

Rolling Sculpture: 1938 Talbot by Winston Goodfellow (5/30/2005)

Mercedes 500SL was one stupendous drive when it first appeared in 2001, so I was salivating at the thought of putting as many miles as possible on the higher performing SL55 when it debuted a year later. No sooner had I had the car for a few days than the light bulb went off—several hundred miles away was the one-off 300SLS, the machine that started the open-air SL legend back in the mid-1950s. What better way to check the SL55’s gene pool than to compare it with its great-great grandparent? After spending two days with these Mercedes, driving them back-to-back, one could easily sense the successful transfer of spirit.

This particular image was one of my favorites from the shoot, for it shows the lineage of the SL line. I purposely cropped the SLS so the power of the design hits you, then leads your eye directly to the SL55. But when one stops to absorb the details of the SLS, a number of unique items such as the more rounded shape, headlight treatment and exhaust become apparent, subtly saying this is no “ordinary” 300SL, if there is such a thing!

Winston Goodfellow's love affair with the automobile was kindled in the mid-1970s when he was in high school. One day after basketball practice, a teammate called out, "You have to see this!" Parked next to the gym was a new Ferrari 365 GT/4 BB "Berlinetta Boxer" owned by a Saudi prince who attended a nearby college. A few weeks later Goodfellow saw another prince's Lamborghini Countach LP400, and he was hooked.

Goodfellow spent most of the 1980s in the financial services industry, then changed careers in the early 1990s to become an automotive writer and photographer. Today his photos and words are found in books and magazines around the world. He is a Pebble Beach Concours Chief Class Judge and a Seminar Leader with the Smithsonian Institution.

TheCarConnection features Goodfellow's art this week and once a month in a new feature. This month's print, of the Talbot, is available as notecards, monographs and portfolio sets at

The Car Connection Daily Headlines
I agree to receive emails from the site. I can withdraw my consent at any time by unsubscribing.
Thank you! Please check your email for confirmation.