Thursday, December 10, 2009

Last of the SLR's WoW

The 'MILLE MIGLIA' DNA IS CLEAR: The Mercedes-McLaren SLR family with the 478kW Stirling Moss in front and an original 300 SLR at the back

The last few Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss models are now being built, bringing to an end the awesome era of the SLR supercar.
Back in 2004, 2000 SLR's in five variants were produced - two coupés, two roadsters and, finally, the uncompromisingly purist SLR Stirling Moss, of which only 75 will be made.

It has neither roof nor windscreen to separate the driver and passenger from nature as a 478kW supercharged V8 engine accelerates the car from 0-100km/h in less than 3
.5sec and on to 350 km/h – performance that the maker claims no other production car can match.

The Stirling Moss made its public debut at the 2009 Mille Miglia in the hands of the former Mercedes Formula 1 drivers Mika Häkkinen and David Coulthard, with Sir Stirling Mos a spectator at Brescia.

The SLR project was conceived for a limited period from the start but its spirit will live on in the members of the SLR Club, who share driving events on the most demanding race circuits, participation in the Mille Miglia and tours covering the most picturesque routes in Europe.

The SLR legend was born in 1955 when Rudolf Uhlenhaut, then head of car testing and in charge of racing-car development at Mercedes-Benz, combined the design of the spectacular Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing coupé with the underpinnings of the 300 SLR - the most successful racing machine of its era
McLaren provided the Formula 1 carbon-fibre technology

It dominated all the major road races, especially the notorious Tourist Trophy in Northern Ireland and the two Italian classics, the Targa Florio and Mille Miglia.

Stirling Moss and motoring journalist Dennis Jenkinson won the 1955 Mille Miglia in a record time that still stands but they weren't the only ones - Juan Manuel Fangio, who went on to become F1 World champion five times, and works driver Karl Kling also achieved notable race wins in SLR roadsters.

Today's McLaren SLR brings together innovative technology and carefully hand-crafted, high-grade materials in the tradition of the classic Gran Turismo cars. For example, McLaren provided the F1 technology for the carbon-fibre front structures and the front mid-engine layout concentrates mass near the centre of the car for a low moment of inertia, delivering exceptional agility and handling.

The 5.5-litre V8 was developed at Mercedes-AMG and delivers 460kW in the coupé and roadster models, there's an an extra 18kW on tap in the Stirling Moss.

It's a classic sports-car design, with stretched bonnet, rear-set passenger cell and short rear deck, incorporating racing-derived features such as a diffuser, an enclosed underbody, a spoiler and even an air brake.

But the SLR was never conceived as a stripped-out track-day special – the cockpit is all about carbon fibre, aluminium and the highest quality leather to emphasise the car's unique nature