If you look hard enough the Mercedes SL can trace its roots right back to the 1954 300SL, affectionately known as the Mercedes Gullwing on account of its idiosyncratic door-opening system. Truth be told it was the 1957 Roadster that really spawned the modern generation SL though.
And before it got to the 2012 on Mercedes SL, designed to beat the BMW 6 Series, Porsche 911 convertible and Audi R8 Spyder at their own game, it went through a number of other iterations. These included the 1963-1971 second generation, 1972-1981 third generation, 1989-2001 fourth generation and 2001-2012 fifth model.
All offered peerless image and build quality, though none could be considered quite the sharpest of drives from the sector, and featured smooth and powerful petrol engines. For the fourth and fifth generations, AMG models were offered with 350bhp+ V8s and 490+bhp V12 engines.