The Car was the first iteration of the SL-Class grand tourer and fastest production car of its day. Introduced in 1954 as a two-seat coupé with distinctive gull-wing doors, it was later offered as an open roadster. The idea of a toned-down Gran Prix car tailored to affluent performance enthusiasts in the booming post-war American market was suggested by Max Hoffman. Mercedes accepted the gamble and the new 300 SL-300 for its 3.0 litre engine displacement and SL for Sport Leicht (Sport Light)-was introduced at the 1954 New York Auto Show rather than the Frankfurt or Geneva gatherings company models made their usual debuts. Immediately successful and today iconic, the 300 SL stood alone with its distinctive doors, first-ever production fuel-injection, and world's fastest top speed. The original coupé was available from March 1955 to 1957, the roadster from 1957 to 1963.