Stirling Moss won the 1955 Mille Miglia in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR with a combined average speed of 97.96 mph over the courses 990 miles. Years later he would look back on the 300SLR and call it “the single greatest sportscar ever built, really an unbelievable machine”.
The 300SLR was years ahead of it’s time in 1955, it had a full space frame chassis and an ultra lightweight body that had been hand fabricated out of a magnesium based alloy. The front-mid-engined layout gave almost perfect weight distribution and the 8 cylinder in-line engine came directly out of the Mercedes Formula 1 car, it had been bored out from 2.5 to 3.0 litres and and such, produced 310hp and 319Nm of torque.
Mercedes used an “air-brake” on the 300SLR, the first time an aerodynamic brake had been used outside of the aviation industry, the rear mounted flap could be deployed by the driver and would assist with both braking and cornering. The aero-brake had an accidental Bernoulli effect that resulted in higher cornering speeds, a discovery that didn’t go unnoticed in the world of motor racing.
Read more about the incredible yet fatally flawed 300SLR here.