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Who is Rudi? How did this gorgeous car become his ride?
The open-top versions of the 300 SLR sports racers were raced very successfully by Mercedes in 1955. The coupe version of the SLR were further evolutions of this 300 SLR racing model being developed for the 1956 sports car racing season. The tragic mass-accident at the 1955 LeMans race resulted in Mercedes withdrawing from further competition at the close of the 1955 season.
That left the two SLR Coupes under development for racing up for grabs as company cars…..one became Rudi Uhlenhaut’s (MB Motorsports Director) occasional driver. The other example was thought lost to the sands of time. Too high strung and loud to be a daily driver, Rudi’s was best for high speed intercity trips.
While the SLR had some visual similarities to the production 212 hp six-cylinder 300 SL sports car, the specifications were radically different. The racer boasted a 310 hp straight eight cylinder engine, with desmodromic valve actuation and direct fuel injection. The long hood allowed for a mid-engine placement in the SLR. In board brakes were featured. The body structure in the SLR is an aluminum space-frame cloaked with a magnesium alloy body.
A surviving SLR Coupe is housed in the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart. Several pundits regard it as the most valuable car in the world, a theory unlikely to ever be tested in my lifetime, as the car is one of the family jewels for MB. I had the good fortune to crawl around the car for a good thirty minutes at the Mercedes Museum in 2014. (The Porsche Museum is across town….also a must-see.)
The “Uhlenhaut Coupe” was my choice to represent Germany in the Seven Nations-Seven Cars exhibit at the Quail Gathering in Monterey. So many great choices to choose from for that country, but in the end, it wasn’t an onerous decision.
Surprisingly, Mercedes did sell a 300 SLR coupe into private hands (very privately) in May 2022. The sale wildly re-set the record for most expensive car sold to $142,000,000 USD. See the contemporaneous article by historian Karl Ludvigsen in Collier’s Automedia, https://www.collierautomedia.com/mercedes-benz-300slr-coupe.
The Bardiglio marble is a deep grey, with black, grey and white veining. It is a challenging marble to finish…….hugely time consuming, but very satisfying to complete. The brightwork is by collaboration with metal artist Sean McKenna.