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Porter Special
A car with an interesting history raced at the Goodwood Revival, the special bodied Mercedes 300SL, known as the 'Porter car'. The story goes that in 1955, a gentleman living in Palm Springs sat comfortably alongside his swimming pool sipping gin and tonic, happy in the knowledge that his fondest dream would that very day come true. But somewhere along the road between Los Angeles and the desert spa, something went wrong. The brand new Mercedes 300SL coupé, on its way for delivery, went off the road, overturned and caught fire. Luckily the driver, reportedly travelling at break-neck speed in excess of 100mph, escaped with his life. As a result of this experience the insurance company paid the bill (and probably raised their premiums). Chuck Porter, an inveterate hot-rodder with plenty of experience and skill in the business of panel beating, bought the remains of the SL, and the idea of an American SLR began to take shape. Most of the body damage was in the cab area, and although the multi-tube chassis was badly bent, it was salvaged. The body panels were, of course, steel scrap, and an all-aluminium body was designed, very much along the lines of the fabulous SLR. Although the styling can therefore hardly be termed either original or unique, the execution is beautiful down to the last detail.