It was only last week that Mercedes-Benz wanted to send a message to counterfeit 300 SL builders by using their industrial press to crush an unauthorized replica. But now it seems the point may have fallen on a few deaf ears.
Right now on eBay, a seller is offering a replica kit for a 1955 “Mercedes Gullwing” (they don’t bother to mention “300 SL” or “W198″ anywhere in the ad.)
It appears like the seller made the fiberglass mold for a personal vehicle, so it may be somewhat difficult for Mercedes to size the car and send it to the crusher. The part that may get this Jacksonville-based builder in hot water is that now he’s trying to make any sort of profit on the car by selling the tools for others to make the iconic body.
“As a work of applied art, the body of the 300 SL has been under copyright protection for a number of decades,” Mercedes dais in a press release last week. “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.”
Possibly what will save this body mold from being destroyed (besides no one reading this post) is that Mercedes’ legal precedent was established in Europe. This may make it difficult for the company to act swiftly against the sale in Florida.
Still, the recent actions of Mercedes did seem to have an impact on the automotive public. There is a little over a day left in this auction, and no one has placed a bid. So it is either corporate intimidation that has kept Merc fans away, or no one believes this is worth its $12,500 starting price.