Mercedes-Benz Biplace Course 300 SLR from 1955, eight cylinders, 2982 cc, 300 HP, 280 km/h. This 300 SLR car enabled Mercedes to win the Mille Miglia with Stirling Moss.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S) is a two-seat sports racing car that took part in the 1955 World Sportscar Championship before a catastrophic crash and fire at Le Mans later that year ended its domination prematurely. The car was designated “SL-R” (for Sport Leicht-Rennen, eng: Sport Light-Racing), which was later condensed to “SLR”. Technically, the W 196 S is based on the W 196 R, but has a slightly different engine, displacing 3 litres.
Just as the W 196 R Formula One racer’s M 196 R engine, the 300 SLR’s M 196 S engine is a direct-injected 3-litre straight-eight engine (but with a 78 mm bore and stroke); its rated power is 302 PS (222 kW).
The W 196 S’s monoposto driving position was modified to standard two-abreast seating, headlights were added, and a few other changes made to adapt a strictly track competitor to a 24-hour road/track sports racer.
Two of the nine 300 SLR rolling chassis produced (nicknamed the “Uhlenhaut coupé”) were converted into 300 SLR/300 SL hybrids. Effectively road legal racers, they had coupé styling, gull-wing doors, and a footprint midway between the two models.
When Mercedes-Benz cancelled its racing programme after the Le Mans disaster, the hybrid project was shelved. Company design chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut, architect of both the 300 SLR racer and the hybrids, appropriated one of the leftover mules as his personal car. Capable of approaching 290 km/h (180 mph), the Uhlenhaut Coupé was by far the fastest road car in the world in its day.
A 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupé has become the most expensive car to ever be sold after being auctioned off for €135 million. The car, previously owned by Mercedes-Benz, was sold by RM Sotheby’s to an unknown collector at the Mercedes-Benz Museum on May 5, 2022.