Known for its distinct style – especially the ‘Pagoda’ concave roof, the 280SL still remains one of Mercedes-Benz’s most memorable cars, arguably the most memorable in its SL or Sports Leicht range. The 280SL was revered for its elegant design, with sleek lines and a timeless aesthetic… which is why its design language carries over so beautifully into this contemporary remake of a classic. Designed by concept artist Shane Baxley, the TWO8eSL (pronounced two-eighty-SL) is a modern reinterpretation of its predecessor with a retrofuturistic touch and an electric drivetrain underneath. Baxley’s concept art has found itself in various movies, including The Transformers, Suicide Squad, and even Alita: Battle Angel. While it’s safe to say that this particular concept is more rooted in reality than any of his work from The Transformers franchise, it still captivates with a sense of ‘what could have been’ if Mercedes had decided to electrify its old classics.
Designer: Shane Baxley
The original 280SL was designed by Friedrich Geiger, who was also responsible for the iconic Mercedes 300SL “Gullwing” coupe. Rather than reinterpreting the entire aesthetic, Baxley stayed true to Geiger’s original vision, relying on a slightly modernized touch-up of the body-work, and doing away with those overtly-retro chrome bumpers for something a little more contemporary.
To any enthusiast, the redesign looks absolutely unmistakable, it has the same Pagoda-style roof on the top, the vertical capsule-shaped headlights, conventional-looking taillights, and the unmistakable Mercedes-Benz logo on both the front and the back. However, given the car’s electric make, Baxley ditches the grill on the front for a flat surface, which some would argue would sacrifice aerodynamics for visual accuracy. However, the massive tri-tip star that would otherwise be on the grill makes its way to the hood of the car, giving it a premium touch.
“My intention was to maintain this original funk in a slightly modernized proportion. [The car was] Modeled from the ground up in Maya, rendered in OTOY,” Baxley reveals.
The first thing that you really notice with the TWO80eSL is the headlight. Ditching the reflector-based lamp for something much more modern, Baxley uses two powerful LEDs with a halftone graphic on the front to diffuse the glare. The capsule-shaped headlight also has LED strips around the edges, reinforcing its shape.
Baxley’s concept follows a running trend of ‘cyberpunking’ classic cars with a more modern makeover. The Chevrolet Camaro got a pretty dazzling revamp last year, as did the Dodge Charger RT… although our hot favorite remains this gorgeous fan-made remake of the Lamborghini Countach.