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The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren turns 20 years old, and we’re still madly in love

It was the collaboration that was ignited by total motorsport domination and led to some of the finest supercars to ever hit the streets. As we look back at the SLR’s two-decade history, we couldn’t help but see what’s on offer in the Classic Driver Market.

First revealed as the ‘Mercedes-Benz Vision SLR’ way back in 1999, with styling that clearly honoured its predecessors from the fifties, the German brand certain struct a cord with lifelong Mercedes lovers around the world. At the time, the concept was a two-seater that was based on the R129 era of SL-Class and embodied the best of both Mercedes-Benz and McLaren, who were busy winning multiple Formula One races with the great Mika Hakkinen. 

Although the pair collaborated well when it came to producing the SLR, allowing each party to bring their own ideas and visions to life, there was one element where the knowledge from McLaren took the lead. The SLR houses a hand-built, front-mid mounted supercharged, V8 engine from AMG, a wonderful engine that was immensely powerful, and yet somewhat subtle and useable. McLaren took the original concept car, and moved the engine a whole metre back, to now sit behind the front bumper, allowing it to sit around 50 centimetres behind the front axle, giving it a much more improvement centre of gravity, and thus, better handling.

Over the years the SLR has worn various guises, even dabbling in some competition racing like its predecessor, earning itself a special spot in Mercedes-Benz’s vast history of cars. Since then, no other car has worn the name "Sport Leicht Rennsport" (Sport Light Racing), and it’s unlikely to again for some time, making the SLR a true piece of modern-day royalty. If the birthday celebrations have got your ears itching for that iconic V8 burble, we’ve curated five examples from the Classic Driver Market. From the iconic Crystal Laurite Silver Metallic original SLR, right through to the ultimate cross country cruising drop-top, the 722 Roadster, we’re as in love now with this super gran tourer as we were back in 2003!


Here's five Mercedes-Benz SLR McLarens currently for sale