You may remember when Mercedes-Benz worked with McLaren to develop the SLR McLaren in the early 2000s. The supercar birthed from those creative loins trumped most everything else on the market upon its debut. As expected, it was very rare and very expensive. But did you know there was a further development of the car that was even rarer, and off-limits to all but a select few?
Presenting the SLR Stirling Moss.
Toward the end of standard SLR production, the German-British team behind project SLR dreamed up a swan song. Their inspiration was the Mercedes 300 SLR racing driver Stirling Moss drove in the 1955 Mille Miglia. A stunning victory for man and machine, that original SLR took on Ferrari and won the race by an incredible 30 minutes. Fittingly, the tribute car needed to be very special.
Mercedes hired two new designers to change the exterior and interior of the SLR into the Stirling Moss. The exterior was reimagined as a speedster (sans roof and windshield) for the sake of racing looks and lightness. The interior was redesigned as well, distancing it from the standard car while adding some vintage racing touches.
Changes underneath included carbon fiber construction, which meant a weight decrease of 441 pounds over the standard car. Power also increased: the supercharged 5.4-liter SLR AMG engine was massaged from 617 to 651 horsepower. That immense power, combined with lighter weight, meant 62 miles per hour arrived in just three seconds, and the speedster traveled on to a top speed of 217.
Introduced at NAIAS in 2009, production began in June that year — a month after the standard SLR’s discontinuation. The plan was for 75 of these special cars, and all were completed efficiently and on time by December 2009. Meanwhile, offers went out to prospective buyers who were hand-selected by Mercedes for the special opportunity. Requirements were two-fold: A bank account to cover the $1 million-plus cost of the car, and current ownership of a standard SLR McLaren.
The cars were of course snapped up immediately by collectors. With just over 300 miles on the odometer of today’s example, it sold at auction in Abu Dhabi last November. Estimated sale price was between $2.5 and $2.75 million. A small price to pay for such precision-crafted exclusivity.