Copyright infringement can bring a host of serious consequences, including having your handiwork destroyed. When German courts found that a company had made an unauthorized copy of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL body, the Mercedes Classic center was able to confiscate and crush the infringing bodywork.
The design of the original W198-series Mercedes 300 SL, which launched in 1954 as a coupe before the roadster bowed in 1957, is subject to a copyright and trademark owned by Mercedes’ parent company Daimler AG. When the company discovered a German group building fiberglass copies of the 300 SL’s iconic body, it decided to demonstrate that, “Daimler AG has long taken a tough approach to vehicle replicas.”
The 326-pound fiberglass body shell was carefully removed from the chassis of the replica car, and then placed into 30-tonne (over 66,000 pounds) presses owned by Mercedes Classic. In just a few short minutes, the illegally reproduced 300 SL was “smashed into small pieces” and a legal certificate of its destruction was signed. We get the sense Mercedes officials rather enjoyed watching the destruction take place.
Word to the wise: if you’re planning on duplicating car designs from one of the world’s major automakers, do your due diligence and cough up any licensing fees ahead of time.