This Gullwing Body on SLK Chassis and Tuned AMG Drivetrain is Totally Bonkers

Don’t worry, that’s not a real Gullwing body, but it is an exact replica of one in fiberglass.

Artist and outlaw builder John Sarkisyan never thought he’d be able to afford a real Gullwing, but he never stopped lusting after them. He even has one tattooed on his arm. Sarkisyan started a tuning shop specializing in Mercedes while doing 2D art at the same time. The Gullwing longing never left him, though.

Then, an opportunity arose.

“We have a friend that has a real Gullwing, we made a mold of that, popped the fiberglass one out, and sort of shaped it around the SLK,” Sarkisyan told photographer Larry Chen in a SEMA video shot at Sarkisyan’s shop. “We took the whole real car apart and built the mold around that. So it’s identical. Every piece of this car, all the glass, all the trim, all of the chrome, is from an actual Gullwing. It fits like a glove. It’s an identical copy of the real deal. Every piece, there’s 33 pieces to this car.”

What really made it all possible was that the original Gullwing sits on the exact same wheelbase as the modern SLK, down to the millimeter. The fiberglass body is half the weight of the original steel, and the AMG six-cylinder engine tuned by NeedsWings has twice the output at 380 hp. While the suspension is from KW, the lengths of the arms are the same. Most of the glass and rubber moldings are bought from Mercedes, and some of the switchgear inside is from the SLK, including the AC vents.

Granted, the HRE wheels are modern, as are some of the trim pieces, built to Sarkisyan’s artistic eye.

“It just works, ya know, it’s my style.”

The grille was tough.

“The grille is a really difficult piece to get, they just don’t source them anymore. So I had to sort of piece it together. At the end of the day it’s about 30 grand just for the grille. They’re not cheap.

“The glass was really, really expensive and I didn’t think it was gonna fit but it fit really easily, the original glass from Mercedes. The rubber is all original. The side windows, we made our own because I didn’t like the original, they don’t open they don’t do anything…”

The whole project took five months. Knowing the SEMA show was coming, even though it’s virtual, provided impetus to finish the job.

So given all the work this took, why not just buy a real Gullwing?

“If you can find one, a really crappy one is gonna be $800,000. And then you’re gonna have to redo all the parts anyway, none of them are gonna be good. So I just bought everything new and it happens to fit.”

Plus, the finished product can do burnouts and drives really fast. So is it art or is it blasphemy? Considering that no originals were harmed in the making of this car, let’s go with art.

You can see Chen’s video at Hoonigan AutoFocus below.

You’ll also be able to see this and 11 other creations at a virtual event called Toyo Tires Treadpass 3D. Toyo says, “Beginning Monday, November 16, attendees will be able to experience Treadpass 3D from their smartphone, tablets, and computers by visiting The virtual platform will allow viewers to participate and engage through photo and video of each display vehicle at their leisure. The vehicle exhibition will include a 360-degree view of each vehicle along with specs highlighting the unique features.”

But this car might just be the coolest of the bunch.

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