It is without a doubt one of the most impressive sports cars Mercedes-Benz has given us in the 21st century. In our final episode on iconic cars originally fitted with Continental tyres, Sana-Ullah Bray shares his car history with us and the story behind his passion for Mercedes-Benz and in particular his SLS AMG. 

Words: Wilhelm Lutjeharms

The task to develop a car to replicate and remind us of the performance and beauty that the 300SL Gullwing offered in 1954, was not a minor one. But in 2009 Mercedes-Benz did just that and unveiled the SLS AMG at the Frankfurt Motor Show, with sales commencing in 2010. Apart from the performance (the wonderful M156, 6.2-litre V8 was fitted), the styling and gullwing doors were two elements that grabbed the attention. 

A number of these cars were exported out of South Africa when their values were very low a few years ago. However, interest in these cars quickly started to climb and so did their prices.

Automotive enthusiast Sana-Ullah Bray’s history with Mercedes-Benz goes back several decades, and he even had to wait several years before an SLS, and the right SLS, crossed his path. 

A family of petrolheads

“My family has had several cars over the years and some of them were really iconic. My one uncle had a Ford Capri Perana V8 and my other uncle had a BMW E36 M3. As a youngster you always remember these cars fondly. Seeing these cars and talking about them with friends and family cultivated the environment in terms of what I like about cars. 

“At one stage my dad had a W114 Mercedes and my uncle a W108 280SE. I always had this aspirational idea of a Mercedes. Then in 1999 I bought my first Mercedes-Benz, it was a 300CE AMG. My passion for the brand and their cars grew from there as I then bought a 1994 E320 AMG. The passion continued as I then started collecting classic cars by purchasing a 1958 220S Ponton.

“For me it is about the hunt and finding the right car. I then also bought one of my dream cars, a 1968 280SE Coupé. I still own that car and have owned it for more than 10 years. In terms of classic cars, that shape is really special to me.”

Sana-Ullah’s path through classic and modern classic cars took several turns as he also owned and still owns some R129-series models. 

“My father had a Mercedes-Benz 190E which we had for many years. It is still in our family and I look after the car. Classic Mercedes-Benzes are really part of our life.” Sana-Ullah is also part of the Mercedes-Benz Club where he can share the passion and information about these cars with fellow enthusiasts.

“The idea of owning an SLS AMG was always an aspirational dream for me. The first time I saw one in the metal was at Mercedes-Benz Century City during the launch of the car. I decided that evening that one day I would like to own one. 

“I looked for the right one at the right time for many years, plus, I wanted to buy one from a Mercedes-Benz dealership. Then, about a year ago my local Mercedes-Benz dealer in Paarl sent me a picture of an SLS parked on their showroom floor. I was on my phone and told him “Ek is nou daar!”. 

classic mercedes-benz for sale south africa


“I wanted a car with full-service history and all the books. A deal was done and I now have this SLS which I am very proud of. Pulling up to the fuel station is always an occasion as you soon have a crowd of people around the car. Also, everywhere you go people want to hear the engine and exhaust note!”

Sana-Ullah is also quick to point out that he is thankful that his wife, children and extended family share a similar passion for cars and Mercedes-Benz.

During the final couple of hours following the day’s shoot, his daughter joins us to watch the sun set, as the team takes the final video clips of the SLS AMG.

Soon thereafter father and daughter get into the SLS and roars down Du Toitskloof Pass in what is now firmly a true modern classic ‘Benz. 

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published