Gone to plaid, all over again: Mercedes brings back the 300 SL’s famous fabric

Aside from its stunning straight-six, jaw-dropping good looks, and “billionaire doors” long before that was a thing, one of the long-adored elements of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL is the plaid interior. Those beautiful multicolored upholsteries add a lovely, tasteful splash of personality to any 300 SL. Until now, restorers went to great lengths employing trim specialists to replicate the tartan pattern in the Gullwing. Due to popular demand, Mercedes-Benz Classic is partnering with the car’s original upholsterer to reissue the fabric for public consumption.

The three colors are blue-gray, red-green, and green-beige. Each is made from sheep’s yarn and produced in four-ply double-weave twill to the same specification as when the 300 SL was built between 1954 and 1957. While leather was available for the interior, it carried an additional charge, and Mercedes built more Gullwings with the blue-gray gabardine interior than even the most popular leather color. According to Mercedes, 80 percent of the fabric-upholstered SLs were blue-gray, 14 percent were red-green, and 6 percent were green-beige.

1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing interior
1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing interior RM Sotheby's
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing front 3/4
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing RM Sotheby's

Mercedes-Benz plaid interior
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing seat belt
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing RM Sotheby's

We reached out to famed (and now retired) Canadian Mercedes-Benz restorer Rudi Koniczek to get his feedback on the announcement, and he was more than pleased to hear the news. Rudi ordered several parts for his concours-winning restorations from Mercedes-Benz Classic, and if the plaid interiors were available to order when he was in business, he says, he most certainly would have bought them.

The press release went out through Mercedes-Benz’s European website, so it’s not immediately clear if you’ll be able to order the fabric through U.S. sales centers. We imagine, though, the pretty plaid fabric can be yours if the price is right. And who says you have to use it on a 300 SL? The announcement says the fabric can be ordered by the meter, not as a completed seat cover. Which means your custom luggage will be the finest on the baggage carousel if it’s clad in checkered German wool.

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