GWA's La Carrera Panamericana tribute carsEnlarge Photo
Gullwing America (GWA) builds replicas of classic sports cars like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL/R and (now) the Ferrari 340 M/C, both of which were campaigned in the famous La Carrera Panamericana open-road race.
Now, in tribute to the storied event, World Car Fans says that GWA has built a tribute 300 SL/R, powered by a new Mercedes-Benz 6.3-liter V-8, mated to a manual gearbox. Brakes are stout enough for the racetrack, and five-spoke wheels give the car a modern look. Inside, racing seats and a roll bar help insure occupant safety.
There’s a Ferrari 340 M/C tribute car as well, powered by a fueil-injected Ferrari F116C 5.5-liter V-12 engine. The clutch has been up-rated to handle the engine’s power, and the car gets headers and low-restriction mufflers to further boost output. Staggered mesh-style wheels give the car a contemporary and somewhat menacing look.
GWA says the cars will be carried in a Mercedes-Benz transporter (complete with GWA livery) and shown at F1 races and automotive events worldwide, but it isn’t clear if either design is being put into production for sale to customers.
In fact, we’re fairly certain that Mercedes-Benz won’t like that plan much. Last March, we reported that Mercedes had crushed a 300 SL replica body (from a source other than GWA), stating that Daimler AG holds “exclusive rights” to the car’s shape.
The company went on to state that selling 300SL replicas is in breach of its rights, so we’re not exactly sure how GWA has gotten around this. As far as we can tell, Mercedes-Benz has no interest in licensing the rights to produce replica bodies, as maintaining quality control for others’ work would prove impossible.
Perhaps the GWA replica is different enough to fall outside the scope of Mercedes-Benz’s interest, or perhaps GWA is in dialogue with Mercedes-Benz. If neither is true, we’d expect some interesting dialogue between the companies to be pending.