Mercedes-Benz SLS brings the Gullwing back

LOS ANGELES If you wanted the most advanced sports car on the road in the 1950s at a steep price for the time, you might have picked up a /*Mercedes-Benz SL*/. Its vertically opening doors gave it the nickname "Gullwing."

"If somebody asked me what's my favorite car, I say a Gullwing, and everybody knows what I'm talking about," said Pasadena resident Paul Colony, owner of a vintage Mercedes-Benz 300SL.

It's been decades since that iconic car was built, and now it returns.

For the 2011 model year, the so-called Gullwing is back in the form of the new /*Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG*/. Once again, the car is state-of-the-art. A hand-built high-powered engine resides under the stretched-out hood, and once again, those doors get noticed when opening skyward.

And once again, the car is expensive: $183,000 before options.

Perfect examples of the original are worth much more than that. Colony says his '55 Gullwing gets its share of attention whenever he drives it.

The new version gets lots of attention, too.

The Mercedes-Benz SLS is a true exotic car, which means it's very low production. That means many people will never see one, and very few will get to drive one.

But the public will get to drive one in another way. The SLS is one of the stars of the video game Gran Turismo 5, which hits store shelves in November. Not only is it one of the exotic cars in the game, it was selected to be on the cover, something no carmaker can buy their way into.

As for Colony, he's on the list for a new one, too.

"Within the next four months, it's possible even sooner," he said.

It's a bit of a wait, but at least he does have the classic in the meantime.

The new SLS is certain to be an immediate classic in its own right, on the road as well as the video screen.

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