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Merc revives Stirling Moss roadster

2008-12-19 10:39
No roof. No windows. No windscreen. No ownership p

No roof. No windows. No windscreen. No ownership possibility if you don’t own an SLR yet either. Powered by a 478kW, supercharged V8, the Stirling Moss SLR is simply epic.

Vehicle Specs
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Model SLR Stirling Moss edition
Engine 5.4l, supercharged V8
Power 478kW
Zero To Hundred 3.5 seconds
Top Speed 350km/h
Mercedes-Benz is set to end its partnership with McLaren on a nostalgic note with a Stirling Moss commemorative SLR speedster.

The Anglo-German supercar partnership is due to end - allegedly amicably – in 2009; thereafter all high-performance Mercedes-Benz products will be designed and produced in-house, by AMG.

Beyond the F1 team, the Mercedes-McLaren partnership has yielded a brutish supercar, the SLR. The zenith of this range has so far been the 722, not monikered to indicated power output in horsepower, but to commemorate Stirling Moss and his halcyon days racing at the Mille Miglia – which he won with a 300 SLR numbered 722 in 1955.

No windscreen, helmet mandatory?

To do justice to the great man – or have a great excuse for an overpriced, limited-edition model – 75 SLR Stirling Moss models will be built. Styling is refreshingly minimalist – there’s no front windscreen – and utterly perfect in detail and proportion; it’s a far busier design than the brutish SLR, yet seems purer.

The front is in classic speedster style, with narrower, stacked light clusters, and a bonnet with large vents and styling creases. Along the flanks are nearly crevice like panel creases, aesthetically anchored by dual outlet exhausts – we suspect they passed EU roadworthy regulation simply due to the Stirling Moss edition being such a low volume vehicle.

Beyond the traditional long-nose speedster side-profile, the aft deck area sports two fins running from the back of seat headrests; these ‘humps’ are classic 300 SLR, and house the individual roll hoops for both driver and passenger.

Other interesting design details around the rear are a manually operative air brake and considerably larger diffuser compared to those found on the rest of the SLR range.

Supercharged 478kW V8

Without a roof, and sporting a stripped out interior, the Stirling Moss edition tips the scales at just over 1 400kg. Power is from the 5.4l, supercharged V8, which powers the SLR range; producing 478kW in the speedster application.

Unsurprisingly it’s unwittingly fast; 0-100km/h in 3.5 seconds and 350km/h at the long end of the gearbox’s ratios and engine rev limit.

Unless you enjoy imagining you’re the Stig, and drive everywhere with a helmet on; we think you’ll end up arriving at each appointment with insanely windblown hair, and bug encrusted teeth, as the two front deflector screens are less than 25mm in height when deployed.

For once a mainstream manufacturer has built a limited edition supercar which is truly hardcore, and should provide an ownership experience of utter frustration to image-addled supercar buyers. Purists will be thrilled no end at it’s untainted execution, and obvious heritage.

It’s a worthy successor to the legend of Stirling Moss and his daring racing exploits. We could say the signature engraved shifter-top is tacky; but Moss, the greatest driver never to win an F1 driver’s title is a man who transcends such trivialities.

If you have a spare $1 000 000 around, and don’t have a Mercedes SLR already, you needn't bother; Merc is only selling the 75 unit production to existing SLR customers - outside of the US only, strangely enough. Assembly will begin in June 2009, after the last SLR roadsters roll-off the production line in May.

Oddly, for such a pure performance car, the SLR Stirling Moss is being unveiled at the grittiest motor show of all - Detroit in January next year…


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