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Classified of the week: Merc 300 SLR
Sir Stirling Moss is not the type of man to be shackled by the sheer weight of that oft-quoted line, wheeled out whenever Formula One eulogies spring up.
You know the one: “the greatest Formula One driver to never win a world championship”. Well, he doesn’t care. And anyway, when we spoke to him earlier this week, it reminded us of a win that helped cement his - and Mercedes’ - status in motorsport: the 1955 Millie Miglia.
And he did it using the car you see above. Sort of.
It’s actually a fully blown replica of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR designed by Rudolph Uhlenhaut that powered Sir Stirling - and journalist Denis Jenkinson - to an overall victory across 1000 miles, hitting an average of some 100mph on public roads. No mean feat, but then the SLR evolved from the rather astonishing W196 monoposto GP car that conquered all in 1954, helping Juan Manuel Fangio lift the Formula One world championship trophy.
This replica then, was constructed by some chaps named Clive Smart and Jim Marland, who were given “unprecedented access” to the original 300 SLR that now resides in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Germany. You should go there to see Rudy’s 300 SLR coupe, too. Marvellous thing, that.
The body for this 300 SLR is finished in lightweight double-skinned aluminium, with a single door, twin head fairings and chrome plated brass mouldings, sitting on top of a tubular steel spaceframe chassis in the design of the original W196 S. There’s double wishbones up front with coil springs and adjustable dampers, and a double link setup at the rear. Just like Daddy.
Sadly, Mercedes’ racing 3.0-litre inline eight-pot with 310bhp doesn’t feature in this replica; in its place sits a 2.8-litre Mercedes unit with around 180bhp, replete with aluminium inlet manifolds like on Sir Stirling’s motor. It runs a standard four-speed manual Merc gearbox, sending power through a 3.54 ratio diff to the rear wheels. There’s even an option to replace the Mille Miglia screen with a full wraparound perspex one, ditch the racing seats for leather touring seats, and remove the head fairings. But you won’t want to tick this box.
Naturally, finding a genuine 300 SLR from the ‘50s is pretty impossible: none exist in private ownership, and even if you did find one you’re looking at the heart-stopping end of many millions of pounds to purchase. Thus, this looks a bargain at a mere £300,000. Just think: £300,000 buys you a ticket that represents immortality. Plus, it looks bloody gorgeous. Click here for the link.
This, or the 300 SLR coupe Uhlenhaut used as his daily driver?