1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe

With its eight-cylinder, 2982-cc engine developing up to 310 horsepower, this Silver Arrow was capable of a maximum speed in excess of 300 km/h – enough to power it to glory in all the top road races of 1955. The Mille Miglia, Targa Florio, Tourist Trophy, Eifelrennen and the Swedish Grand Prix – the 300 SLR won them all.

The spirited lines of the body, with its elongated bonnet, were complemented by the striking proportions of the side-mounted exhaust pipes, the air vents and the wire-spoke wheels. The cockpit, with its curved wraparound windscreen, was elegantly sculptured. Rudolf Uhlenhaut referred to his latest automotive work of art as a ‘hot-heeled touring car’, and the 300 SLR Coupé lived up to its billing. Weighing only 1117 kilograms yet developing 310 horsepower, the Uhlenhaut Coupé accelerated to a maximum speed approaching 290 km/h in testing (the manufacturer’s data showed a top speed of 284 km/h). This made the two-seater the fastest car of its time to be registered for use on public roads, as well as ‘one of the most exciting cars that Mercedes-Benz has ever built,’ as motorsport guru Karl Ludvigsen later observed.

However, the lightning-fast SLR Coupé never made it into series production. The Stuttgart-based car maker felt that the mid-1950s was not the right time to bring out a powerful sports tourer of this kind, leaving the road version of the SLR to fall into oblivion. As Mercedes pulled out of motorsport in 1955, the SLR Coupé project was put on ice. Only two prototypes of this masterpiece of power and elegance were ever built and yet this wonderful car had still become a legend in its own right.

In Detail

tags gullwing, 300sl, w198
submitted by Richard Owen
type Series Production Car
engine Type M 196 S, Twin Spark Inline-8 w/Dry Sump Lubrication
position Front Longitudinal, 53 Degree Inclination To The Right
aspiration Natural
valvetrain DOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl w/Desmodromic Valve Gear
fuel feed Mechanically Controlled Petrol Direct Injection
displacement 2982 cc / 182.0 in³
bore 78 mm / 3.07 in
stroke 78 mm / 3.07 in
compression 9.0:1
power 231.2 kw / 310.0 bhp @ 7400 rpm
specific output 103.96 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 277.53 bhp per tonne
torque 317 nm / 233.8 ft lbs @ 5950 rpm
redline 7800
body / frame Elektron Body over Steel Tubular Space Frame
driven wheels RWD
front tires 6.00×16
rear tires 7.00×16
front brakes Inboard Duplex Drum Brakes w/Power Assist
rear brakes Inboard Duplex Drum Brakes w/Power Assist
front wheels F 40.6 x 15.2 cm / 16.0 x 6.0 in
rear wheels R 40.6 x 17.8 cm / 16.0 x 7.0 in
steering Worm & Sector
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Torsion Bar Springs, Telescopic Shock Absrobers,
r suspension Swing Axles w/Longitudinal Torsion Bar Springs, Telescopic Shock Absrobers
curb weight 1117 kg / 2463 lbs
wheelbase 2370 mm / 93.3 in
front track 1330 mm / 52.4 in
rear track 1380 mm / 54.3 in
length 4350 mm / 171.3 in
width 1750 mm / 68.9 in
height 1210 mm / 47.6 in
transmission Rear Mounted 5-Speed Manual
gear ratios 2.67:1, 1.75:1, 1.43:1, 1.07:1, 0.83:1
final drive 2.222:1
top speed ~284 kph / 176.5 mph