The World's First Safe Sports Car Was Born 50 Years Ago

The Mercedes-Benz W113 "Pagoda" SL was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in 1963, and while I'm pretty sure they mentioned that at this year's party, we were too distracted by Usher's red shoes and a Mercedes Apple. So here's a short recap of the first safe sports car.

The W113 was designed by Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi. You might know the French guy for the 600 Grosser or the BMW Turbo Concept. His name comes up quite often. Béla Barányi on the other hand was responsible for something a bit more important than the shape of the body panels: he was the Hungarian engineer who came up with the idea of passive safety. He crashed thousands of cars during his long career at Mercedes-Benz (and had more than 2000 patents when retired in '72), some of which were W113s. These were also the first Mercedeses featuring radial tires...

Photo credit: Mercedes-Benz