As two of the most successful teams in motorsport, people tend to take notice when Mercedes-Benz and McLaren work together. With each having an enviable racing record, few partnerships in the automotive world have been more fruitful. Mercedes-Benz had been supplying engines to McLaren in Formula One since the mid-1990s, and over the course of the following 15 years, McLaren F1 cars racked up numerous wins. Mercedes-Benz eventually acquired 40 percent of the McLaren Group, and at this time, the two companies produced their first road car together, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren. When introduced in November 2003, the Ferrari Enzo was set to do battle with the Porsche Carrera GT, and accordingly, the car's performance and 206-mph top speed firmly put it into the upper echelon of supercars. Yet, there was much more to the story.
Rather than creating an all-out, no-compromises supercar, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren decided to go a slightly different route. Instead of placing the engine in behind the cabin, the car had a front-mid-engine layout, with the engine sitting behind the front wheels and just ahead of the cabin. This not only helped to improve the SLR's handling by giving it near-perfect weight distribution, but this also gave the car a rather spacious boot and cabin, which was not common in cars boasting such performance credentials. As it was supremely engineered and built to incredible standards at McLaren's facilities in Woking, it boasted a very high level of fit and finish, the kind befitting any Mercedes-Benz. To many, it was the perfect automobile for cruising across Europe at a very high speed. In order to attain its top speed, the SLR McLaren was powered by a hand-built 5.4-litre V-8 fitted with a Lysholm-type twin-screw supercharger. As the car could produce 617 brake horsepower at 6,500 rpm, it goes without saying that acceleration was phenomenal, with a dash from 0 to 60 mph taking just 3.8 seconds, leading to a quarter-mile of 11 seconds. Of course, a car with such impressive speed credentials also requires an equally impressive braking system. An automatic airbrake and Mercedes-Benz's Sensotronic "brake by wire" system assist the massive carbon-ceramic disc brakes and help bring the SLR McLaren down from 120 mph to a stop in less than 240 feet.
The highly desirable Roadster version of the SLR came out in September 2007, with a state of the art metal folding roof which took 10 seconds to fold away electronically. This left-hand drive, one owner from new SLR roadster was purchased in 2008 and has since covered a mere 20,000 km in its short life. As you can imagine for such a special car the vendor has meticulously looked after it resulting in a full and comprehensive service history. The car comes with a NOVA number and the current vendor has sent off the V5 to the DVLA at the time of writing this script in order to obtain a UK registration.
These special cars deliver in terms of value and collectability. Though the partnership between McLaren and Mercedes-Benz to produce a road car was a brief one, it was also a spectacular moment that may never occur again. Given the significance of this venture and the skyrocketing appeal of the SLR's direct competitors, namely the Ford GT and Porsche Carrera GT, there is no doubt that this is the moment in time when a Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren should be considered for one's collection.