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First look: Final SLR is a Stirling idea

Stirling silver: Mercedes-McLaren SLR Stirling Moss echoes the great racer's 1955 Mille Miglia-winning car.

Limited edition $1.5 million speedster to send Mercedes-McLaren off in style

30 Dec 2008

MERCEDES-BENZ will bring the curtain down on the McLaren SLR supercar with a high-priced speedster version that will make its public debut at the Detroit auto show in two weeks.

Only 75 examples of the lightweight ‘SLR Stirling Moss’ will be built in the second half of 2009 and they will be priced at 750,000 euro (about $A1.5 million) each – about double the price of the regular SLR.

Named after the legendary British driver who famously won the 1955 Mille Miglia road race in Italy driving one of the original 300 SLRs, the SLR Stirling Moss similarly has no roof and makes do with small air deflectors rather than a windscreen.

It features a dramatically restyled carbon-fibre body that – again like the 1950s version – has the engine exhausts protruding from between the front wheels and the doors.

4 center imageLike the recent limited edition SLR 722, which was also made in tribute to Moss’s heroic record-breaking Mille Miglia triumph, the 75 speedster versions will be powered by a supercharged 5.5-litre V8 engine (up from the standard car’s 5.4-litre unit) developing 478kW of power and 820Nm of torque, driving through a five-speed automatic transmission.

That produces acceleration from 0-100km/h in “less than” 3.5 seconds (at least 0.1s faster than the SLR 722) and a top speed of some 350km/h (about 13km/h more than the 722 and 16km/h up on the regular SLR).

According to Mercedes-Benz, which says the car is the crowning glory of the SLR program with McLaren, “no other series-production car is at the same time so open and so fast”.

“There is neither a roof nor a windscreen to separate the driver and passenger from the outside world they enjoy unadulterated high-speed excitement with all the attributes of a speedster,” said the company.

“This extreme concept makes the new high-performance sports car a legitimate bearer of the name of the British motor racing legend and Mille Miglia record-holder Stirling Moss, who drove the legendary Mercedes-Benz SLR racing cars from victory to victory during the 1950s.” To assist high-speed handling, stability and braking, the SLR Stirling Moss comes with a so-called ‘airbrake’ that is automatically raised during powerful braking at speeds above 120 km/h, and which can also be manually operated by the driver when seeking extra aerodynamic downforce.

It features swing-wing doors, ’50s-style fairings behind the occupants and comes with special tonneau covers that are stored in the boot.

McLaren has been building the front-engined SLR in coupe and roadster form at its Woking base in the UK since 2003, totalling about 3500 units, and the last one is due to roll off the line in May 2009.

Production of the new SLR Stirling Moss will commence in June and run through to December 2009, with the cars bearing chassis numbers from 1 to 75.

The next-generation SLR is expected to be built by Mercedes-Benz rather than McLaren.

Mercedes-Benz believes that the 75 speedsters will be a coveted collector’s items and says they will only be offered to its elite customers.

“Not only does this exclusive vehicle represent the conclusion of the current SLR family it also serves as a very special thank you to the most loyal of SLR customers, for they are the only ones able to acquire a Stirling Moss,” the company said.

“The new SLR Stirling Moss unites the character of the current SLR models with the fascination of the SLR of 1955. The core values of both the historical and the present-day SLR models include an exciting new design, innovative technology, high-class materials displaying perfect craftsmanship and, above all, a unique driving experience for all the senses.

“Remaining totally true to the specifications of the 300 SLR, the new Silver Arrow’s equipment is extremely sophisticated and yet at the same time decidedly spartan, doing without both a roof and side windows. There are just two wind deflectors a couple of centimetres in height to protect the driver and passenger from the airflow. Two air scoops integrated into the bodywork serve as roll-over bars.

“With this extreme concept the new SLR Stirling Moss is visually very different from all the other vehicles which belong to the elite sports car class.

“Every time drivers take to the wheel of the SLR Stirling Moss, their senses are addressed with a previously unheard of intensity, conveying a driving experience in its purest and most sensual form. This automotive thoroughbred thus facilitates the kind of open-air feeling that is utterly unique for a road-going vehicle.

“The SLR Stirling Moss represents a stand-alone design concept. The designers were fully aware they were creating a vehicle with a top speed of 350 km/h while at the same time being highly reminiscent of the SLR racing cars from the 1950s.”

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