In 1955 when Mercedes-Benz launched the cool new 190SL—baby brother of the bravura 300SL—they wisely hired a hot young actor named Paul Newman to help do it.

At the time, he only had a few movie roles to his credit and was considered something of a poor man’s James Dean, but that was soon to change with The Long, Hot Summer, which landed him Best Actor laurels at Cannes.

“A Great many philosophers have said that the significance is the journey, not the destination—and sports car enthusiasts like going places, not getting places,” Newman noted in the ad.


The actor, later to be known for his passion for racing, avowed, “My red Mercedes seems to sum it up perfectly.”

And posing the rhetorical question, “Why do I love sports cars?” he replied, ”Becaus—don’t laugh—the thrill of skimming along in a low-slung speedster represents an important approach to life.”

And here we thought it was the only approach to life…