To be OFFERED AT AUCTION at Auctions America’s Fort Lauderdale event, April 1-3, 2016.
Chassis No. AZ227904
Estimate: $ 60,000 - $ 70,000 US
The authentic Mercedes-Benz 300SLR racecars are legendary by having competed in, won in, then capturing the World Sportscar Championship (now known as the World Endurance Championship) in the 1955 season by winning three of the four races they entered during the six-race season. The most acclaimed of these victories is the 1955 Mille Miglia with driver Stirling Moss and his navigator, the highly respected motoring journalist, Denis Jenkinson. His article, “With Moss in the Mille Miglia” is generally acknowledged as a classic of motor racing journalism. His course notes on a specially designed scroll for this event were pioneering. This approach to using pacenotes is now commonplace in rallying.
The Mille Miglia, meaning “Thousand Miles,” was an open-road endurance race which took place in Italy 24 times from 1927 to 1957. It encompassed one lap of 992.332 miles on a course made entirely of public roads. The geographic area was mainly around the outer part of the country based on a round trip between Brescia and Rome with the start/finish in Brescia. For the 1955 edition of the Mille Miglia, there were 661 cars entered, of which 534 wound take the start representing 12 different performance classes.
Daimler AG sent four 300SLR’s to compete in the top class, Sport oltre 2000. England’s Stirling Moss, Argentinian Juan Manuel Fangio, and Germans Hans Hermann and Karl Kling would be the drivers employed to take on this immense contest. At the end, 281 cars were classified with the Moss/Jenkinson combination taking the victory at a speed of just under a 100-mph average in a time of 10 hr. 07:48 with the two-time World Champion Fangio (by the time of his retirement, Fangio was a five-time WC) in second place over a half-hour behind. The Ferrari 118LM Scaglietti entered by Scuderia Ferrari and piloted by Umberto Maglioli was 45 minutes behind after a spirited drive. Kling and Hermann would crash out in their respective 300SLR’s; Hermann while in second place. Although the race would be run in this open format through 1957, the obvious dangers and consequences would see its end. Moss’ time stands to this day; he and “Jenks” would try again in 1956 and 1957 in Maserati 350S’s, but would crash out in their futile attempts, in 1957 a broken brake pedal was the culprit.
After Mercedes-Benz announced their retirement from motorsports at the end of the 1955 season, these cars have been in the care of Mercedes-Benz and are usually displayed in their Stuttgart facility. At the 2015 Mille Miglia retrospective, Mercedes-Benz celebrated the 60th anniversary of its famed overall win by sending three of the original cars for Sir Stirling Moss, Hans Hermann and modern era German star, Ralf Schumacher. Despite many Mercedes-Benz successes in the Mille Miglia, the appearance of the mighty 300SLR is always the highlight of this touted event, so well it is remembered.
As one would rightly expect, even if one of these original cars were available, the number able to pursue it would be few. Built by Thoroughbred Coach Builders in Florida, this Mercedes Benz 300SLR replica is an extremely handsome representation of this renowned machine. It is reported that approximately 12 of these cars were built before Mercedes-Benz requested they conclude offering this model.
The Thoroughbred 300SLR has a custom-made square tube chassis with a fiberglass body that features the distinct individual headrests on the rear deck. The power is derived from a Ford 302-cid V-8 engine that is paired with a C4 automatic transmission with a B&M shifter and Ford nine-inch rear end. The engine has an Edelbrock four-barrel carburetor and Ford Cobra valve covers. Other features include rear coil-over suspension, functioning headlights and indicators, power disc brakes, tachometer, VDO speedometer, hood “speed clips,” remote door opener, wire wheels, Goodyear radial tires and chromed Mercedes-Benz badging and emblems. This is a car that is easy to enjoy; enthusiasts who relish the looks of a racecar will also be pleased with the drivability, details and craftsmanship that set this re-creation apart. 1956 Thoroughbred Coach Builders 300SLR Replica