The vehicles shown on this website are no longer available for purchase. The illustrations and instructions are intended for informational purposes only. Mercedes-Benz SLR Coupé, SLR 722 Edition, SLR Roadster, SLR Roadster 722 S, SLR Stirling Moss – Fuel consumption (urban/ extra-urban/ combined): 20,9 l/ 10,8l/ 14,5 l/100 km, CO2 emissions (combined): 459-295 g/km.
300 SLR (W 196 S)
For the World Sportscar Championship, the rules of which permitted engines with larger displacements, Mercedes-Benz developed the 300 SLR (known inside the company as the W 196 S), which was based on the W 196 R with an engine that had been increased to three litres displacement. The 300 hp car - namesake of the new SLR - became just as much a legend as Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson's victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia.
Moss won the 1597-kilometre race across Italy at an average speed of 157.65 km/h - faster than anyone before or since. Motorsport journalists wrote unanimously of "a masterpiece of automotive engineering". The SLR and its drivers were unstoppable, occupying the front places in every race. Come the end of the season, Mercedes-Benz was the World Sportscar Champion.
300 SLR Coupé
The W 196 S three-litre racer developed in 1955 also spawned two models with closed bodies. Rudolf Uhlenhaut wanted to give "his" racing drivers improved protection against wind and rain, especially in long-distance races such as the "Mille Miglia". With its gullwing doors, the body was reminiscent, at least on the outside, of the 300 SL. Known to car fans as the "Uhlenhaut Coupé", the grand tourer was adored around the world by automobile aficionados.
Daimler-Benz having decided to pull out of motor racing with the end of the 1955 season, the road-going 300 hp coupé never made it to the race track. Incidentally, Uhlenhaut himself used one of the exclusive models every day as his company car - presumably the fastest of its kind. Today's Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren is a reminder of the iconic Uhlenhaupt Coupé - the 300 SLR Coupé.
The Englishman Stirling Moss joined Daimler-Benz in 1955 to contest the racing season in the new 300 SLR. He was a passionate racing driver. Already as a 16-year-old, he had bought himself an Austin Seven and converted it into a two-seater. When, during the 1955 Argentinian Grand Prix, he suffered a bout of faintness from the heat, like many other drivers before him, his car was pushed back to the paddock. Moss staggered back to the pits.
A little later, Hans Herrmann also suffered a collapse, whereupon Karl Kling took over from him at the wheel. Towards the end of the race, having come round again, Moss chased back to the track to take over again from Kling for the final two laps. He finished fourth, together with Herrmann and Kling. Graham Hill spoke these words of praise: "For me, Stirling Moss is the greatest driver of them all. Greater even than Fangio."
Argentinian Grand Prix
The 16th of January 1955 was one of the hottest days of the year in Buenos Aires. The temperature was to exact its toll on the teams. The 375-kilometre race on a roasting-hot track lasted over three hours. Only the Argentinian Fangio seemed able to cope with the heat, which brought one driver after another to the verge of collapse.
Having gone on to victory ahead of Gonzales in a Ferrari, he was frenetically celebrated by his compatriots. Hans Herrmann, Karl Kling and Stirling Moss shared fourth place.
The 300 SLR was on everyone's lips in the 1955 Grand Prix year: its ruggedness surpassed all expectations, and its handling was no less than compelling. A key role in a season that was to end in such glory for Mercedes-Benz was played by the young Englishman Stirling Moss. At the side of British journalist Denis Jenkinson, he finished the Mille Miglia from Brescia to Rome and back in the sensational time of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds.
Neither driver nor car was spared - and the record still stands to this day. To denote the start time of 7:22 a.m., the vehicle sported the number 722 – and it was to become a legend. The 300 SLR with the very same starting number is today the most valuable automobile in the world.
Belgian Grand Prix
The 1955 Belgian Grand Prix was held on 5 June in Spa-Francorchamps. Mercedes-Benz fielded three W 196 Rs. Juan Manuel Fangio, the young Stirling Moss and the veteran Karl Kling were lined up on the starting grid. The outcome was clear-cut: Fangio led the field ahead of Moss from the first minute.
After 36 laps, nothing had changed: a double victory for the Silver Arrows.
English Grand Prix
The 1955 English Grand Prix at Aintree was the penultimate race of a season that was to end in triumph for Mercedes-Benz. After a somewhat mediocre start to the season, Spa saw a change in fortunes, after which the clear superiority of the W 196 R racer, which had undergone revision for the 1955 season, made itself felt. On 16 July, enthusiastic spectators looked on as four Silver Arrows outclassed the rest of the field: 1st place went to Stirling Moss from England, 2nd place to Juan Manuel Fangio from Argentina, 3rd place to Karl Kling from Germany and 4th place to Piero Taruffi from Italy.
All were driving a W 196 R. With 41 points, Juan Manuel Fangio was 1955 World Champion, with Stirling Moss finishing second on 23 points.
For Mercedes-Benz's Stirling Moss, the Tourist Trophy on the Dundrod circuit in Northern Ireland was yet another highlight of an outstanding 1955 racing season. With home advantage, it came as no surprise when Moss finished the race a full lap ahead of the field in his SLR along with co-driver John Fitch.
Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling came home second. Third place went to Wolfgang von Trips and André Simon, also in a 300 SLR.
On the fourth lap of the 72-kilometre mountainous course in Sicily, Stirling Moss and his 300 SLR plunged down an embankment, to be stopped only by a boulder. Although the driver was uninjured, his Mercedes-Benz was seemingly a write-off. Yet the appearance was deceptive, as enthusiastic spectators pushed the car back on to the road and, after arriving at the pits, Moss was replaced behind the wheel by Collins.
The duo of Moss/Collins again went on to take first place, in front of Fangio and Kling. John Fitch, another Mercedes-Benz driver, later commented in amazement: "This machine, while built like a tank, has the speed of reaction of a jungle cat."
Withdrawal of Mercedes-Benz from motorsport
From 1952 to 1954, Mercedes-Benz racers and sports cars proved their credentials time and again. Mercedes-Benz dominated not only the illustrious Grand Prix tour, but also Europe's tough long-distance races and touring car championship as well as the sportscar championships in Italy and the United States of America. Now, 1955 was to bring a glorious close to the foray onto the race track. For, with racing still in progress, it began to emerge that this would be the final season of the Silver Arrows and that the company was planning to withdraw all its teams from motorsport.
It is often wrongly claimed that the tragedy at Le Mans in 1955, when Pierre Levegh's 300 SLR accidentally collided with the Austin Healey of Lance Macklin, killing over 80 spectators, was the reason behind the company's complete withdrawal. Yet the Board of Management had already decided in the spring to focus on developing new passenger car models for the Mercedes-Benz brand. Victory in the 1955 Constructors' World Championship was to close the chapter on motorsport for more than three decades.
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