1955 Mercedes-Benz ‘722’ 300 SLR. History in miniature

For those of you who enjoyed The Greatest Race starring Sir Stirling Moss’ 1955 Mercedes-Benz ‘722’ 300 SLR comes another collectible from the CMC-modelcarshop.

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Those of you who read our recent interview with The Little Red Racing Car author Dwight Knowlton will presumably have your copies of The Greatest Race on pre-order. Of course most of us would rather spend time with the TGR headlining ‘722’ 300 SLR itself, but unless you have a spare $48m rustling around your pocket, that’s where the dream stops. CMC-modelcarshop has an alternative solution, however…

Yes, it’s $340. While that may seem an outrageous kick in the teeth for a 1:18-scale collectable, there are several reasons why this CMC #722 300 SLR is worth forking over your hard-earned loot. Firstly, there’s the attention to detail. As well as the replication dashboard and ‘roller-map’ as used by legendary motoring journalist Denis ‘Jenks’ Jenkinson, each model – which comprise 1500 individual parts – comes  with removable wheels via three-winged locking nuts. You’re unlikely to find more detail outside the 722 car itself.

Then of course, there’s the 300 SLR’s illustrious – and occasionally tragic – heritage. Conceived by Mercedes-Benz technical mogul Rudolf Uhlenhaut (who would later have two coupe 300 SLRs built in his honour), the 300 SLR was a warning shot across the bows of Ferrari, Aston Martin and Jaguar, with team manager Alfred Neubauer insistent that Merc’s latest track weapon be capable of demolishing any and all competition. Thanks to enormous aero/engine experience built up during the war, Mercedes’ new model comprised an innovative spaceframe and lightweight magnesium alloy bodywork (the whole car weighed just over 900kg), drum disc brakes for greater stopping power, and a newly developed five-speed transmission. Even the 3.0-litre eight-cylinder mounted longitudinally at the front – a step up from the team’s 2.5-litre Formula 1 unit – was canted by 33-degrees in an effort to improve the aerodynamics. Hence the 722’s distinctive bonnet bulge.


Despite sharing the name of its 300 SL namesake, the Sport Leicht Rennen was actually derived from Mercedes’ W196 Formula 1 car, which successfully took eventual five-time F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio to the crown in ’54 and ’55. Punching out 310hp and 234lb ft from its 2982cc unit meant the 300 SLR could hit up to 300kph. As history and pretty much every automotive magazine across the last 50 years now states, Britain’s Sir Stirling Moss proved the car’s competitiveness by taking victory – at an unprecedented 160kph average speed – at the 1600km Mille Miglia in 1955. That ‘722’ (chassis 0004, but everyone forgets this) also took endurance victory at the Nürburgring just a week later is a remarkable achievement that to this day is consistently swept under the rug.

1955 would not prove the banner year for either Mercedes-Benz or the 300 SLR, however. At that year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Pierre Levegh’s infamous somersault into the crowd – an accident that killed not only the Frenchman but more than 80 spectators – brought an end to both Mercedes-Benz’ and the 300 SLR’s motorsport campaigns.

– Shots courtesy of CMC-modelcarshop

Mercedes-Benz '722' 300 SLR (as of 1955)
Engine: Type M 196 S / Twin Spark Inline-8 with dry sump lubrication / 2982cc
Power: 310hp @ 7400rpm
Torque: 233.8lb ft @ 5950rpm
Transmission: Rear mounted five-speed manual
Front suspension: Double wishbones with torsion bar springs / telescopic shock absorbers
Rear suspension: Swing axles with longitudinal torsion bar springs / telescopic shock absorbers
Brakes: Inboard duplex drum brakes with power assist (front) / inboard duplex drum brakes with power assist
Wheels: 16-inch front and rear
Tyres: 6.00 x 16 (front) / 7.00 x 16 (rear)
Weight (kerb) 900kg
0-100kph: N/A
Top speed: 300kph

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