The ultimate Porsche-designed Mercedes-Benz, the ’S’ or ’W-06’ class cars were powered by a supercharged, in-line six cylinder engine with overhead camshaft, two updraft carburetors, and dual ignition. Approximately 372 of these Sport models were produced between 1927 and 1934. Forty-two of them were SSKs (for Super Sport Kurz or Short), short chassis two-seaters which could reach 115 MPH with the Sindelfingen factory body. The first vehicle specifically created to be driven on the road and on the racetrack, it proved to be remarkably successful at such venues as LeMans, Monaco, and the Mille Miglia.
When this chassis was completed in 1930 the factory racing program was over, leaving available a few special components for use on the last of the road cars. Two examples on this engine were higher compression pistons and the renowned ’elephant blower’ or supercharger. The factory commission papers show that this chassis (without a body) was first shipped to Tokyo, where it was not able to attract a buyer. After returning briefly to the factory, it traveled to Milan where Mercedes-Benz agent Carlo Saporiti sold it to Count Carlo Felice Trossi. During our research for the restoration, the Trossi family archives yielded two renderings from an unknown, independent coachbuilder which were composed from the Count’s personal sketches of the open roadster without top (aperto) that you see here.
At the 1993 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, this joint effort was rewarded with Best of Show. The Count Trossi SSK has since been honored with a Best of Show decision at the Meadow Brook Hall Concours d’Elegance and by its inclusion in the ’Moving Beauty’ exhibit at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, both in 1995, and with the Star of Excellence Trophy at the 1996 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.