1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Uhlenhaut Coupe
Above Images ©IMAGE CREDITS - DaimlerChrysler
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 CoupÃ© lived up to its billing. Weighing only 1117 kilograms yet developing 310 horsepower, the Uhlenhaut CoupÃ© 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 CoupÃ© 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 CoupÃ© 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.