The iconic Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR was conceived to join the brand in the racing history of 1954. It combined the engine and technology of a Grand Prix car with the body of a road racer, helping it to secure major victories for the company and earning it its fame. Originally intended to race in the 1954 Le Mans 24-hour race, the car needed a few extra months of preparation. However, the resulting prototype was well worth the wait. At a dry weight of 860 kilograms, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR was a monument of power and agility - as robust as a tank but as fast as a jungle cat.
The 8-cylinder engine of the W 196 S was modelled after that of the contemporary Grand Prix Silver Arrow, producing 296 horsepower (218 kW). Creative engineering allowed the engine to reach 7400 rpm with an adjustable tank size, all while weighing only 235 kilograms. Its endurance was further tested by being run on a dynamometer at racing revs for over 9800 kilometres without any issues.
Furthermore, the engine used a combination of commercial petrol, methanol and benzene to fuel it, and it canted to the right at an angle of 57 degrees - 4 degrees closer to the horizontal than the W 196 R. Despite the lower angle, ground clearance remained much higher than the single-seater car, needed for the tough races fought on public roads. The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR certainly proved to be a reliable and powerful racing machine.
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