The unnamed gentleman featured in filmmaker Josh Clason's "Poetry in Motion" mini-doc, below, is not like most car collectors. He owns a beautiful piece of German industrial design history—Mercedes' super sweet 300SL Gullwing—and he actually uses it. I have tremendous respect for him for the following reasons:
1) He's dreamed of owning the car since he was a 10-year-old boy assembling a model of one. Thirty years later he made it happen.
2) He understands that what he's got is more than a priceless object of art: It's a machine, and one that was meant to be used. So while other 300SL collectors baby theirs, rarely driving them and towing them about in trailers, this dude regularly drives the car, bad weather and minor cosmetic damage be damned. He is using, enjoying, and experiencing the car.
3) This is not a man who wants to die with his toys. He speaks of how when he becomes too old to drive it, he wants to pass it on to someone else who will appreciate it. He understands the object's longevity, appreciates that it will outlive him, and is happy to bestow the experience of the car on to the next person.
How thrilling is that engine note?Josh Clason, by the way, is a filmmaker who travels America with the missus, documenting people who love cars; his website, Depth of Speed, has tons of photos and videos showing auto lovers of all stripes. By the amount of work he's done you'd think Clason would've seen it all, but the 300SL guy got to him. As Clason tells it,
I was in disbelief when the owner asked if I wanted to pilot it down the open runway with my wife. Knowing this was a one in a lifetime chance, I didn't hesitate to open up the door and maneuver in. For the owner of this beautiful machine this is the way to fully enjoy this masterpiece of a car. Keeping the car driving on the road is the way it is meant to be enjoyed and not stuck in a museum or private collection.
This 300SL Gullwing is the culmination of a thirty year dream. This car doesn't represent one piece in a collection, it is the entire collection. This is a dream that has come to fruition after 30 years of hard work and getting oneself into a position to own the car that has been yearned for for thirty years. For myself, the idea of dreaming for one car and working hard for years and years is truly inspirational. It helps me keep the dream alive for the cars that I desire to own in the years to come.
When I first came across this story I was in disbelief that there was someone who drives a car of this magnitude often and all across the country in various states of weather. Knowing there was someone who was doing so brought a smile to my face and made me happy that this car was being enjoyed in a way it was meant to be.
Up next we'll look at how the miraculous 300SL came to be, and why it's so special from a design perspective.