It only makes sense that Mercedes would choose Detroit in January to debut the windowless and topless SLR Stirling Moss edition, right? This snow-in-your-hair super roadster will make its first public showing at the North American International Auto Show.
The last and most extreme version of the Mercedes SLR will be limited to 75 units and cost €750,000 (about $1.07 million at direct current rates.) The only thing separating the drive from nature in this speedster is the sleek carbon fiber bodywork, and a tonneau cover that can be applied over the passenger area à la old school topless racers.
The SLR Stirling Moss comes with the 5.5-liter supercharged V8 from the 722 SLR, which makes 650 hp. Without a windshield, this roadster can still hit a rip-your-face-off top speed of 217 mph.
More pics and press release after the jump
Mercedes-Benz and McLaren are adding the crowning glory to their range of successful SLR super sports cars by launching a new, spectacular, and uncompromising model. With neither a roof nor a windscreen to separate the driver and front passenger from nature, allowing them to enjoy sheer high-speed excitement with all the attributes of a speedster. Further traits of the new SLR Stirling Moss include highly sophisticated technology and breathtaking design that provides a new take on the legendary 300 SLR. A V8 supercharged engine developing 478 kW/650 hp accelerates the SLR Stirling Moss from zero to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds and is good for a top speed of 350 km/h – performance that no other standard-production open-top car can match. This extreme concept makes it a legitimate bearer of the name of British motor-racing legend and Mille Miglia record holder Stirling Moss, who piloted the Mercedes-Benz SLR race cars to a succession of victories in 1955. The exclusive SLR Stirling Moss, which marks the end of the current SLR family, is a 75-model limited edition priced at 750,000 euros (excl. VAT). Production of the SLR Stirling Moss starts in June 2009. Production of the SLR Roadster will cease, on schedule, at the same time.
Three letters are all it takes to make car fans go into raptures: SLR. In the 1950s, the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLRracked up victory after victory, winning Mille Miglia, the Eifel race, Targa Florio, and the Tourist Trophy, piloted by some of the biggest stars in motorsport at that time: Juan Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and, above all, the British racing driver Stirling Moss, who still holds the Mille Miglia record of ten hours, seven minutes, and 48 seconds. This is why the latest reincarnation of the legendary SLRbears the name "Stirling Moss". The new SLRStirling Moss combines the character of the modern-day SLRmodels with the allure of the SLRof 1955. Core values at the heart of both the historical and the current SLRmodels include a breathtaking new design, innovative technology, first-class materials that have been perfectly handcrafted and, above all, a unique driving experience that appeals to all the senses.
Extremely puristic concept with no roof and no windscreen
Following the lead set by the 300 SLR in every respect, the new Silver Arrow is of extremely high quality yet puristic when it comes to equipment, dispensing with the side windows and the roof. All that protects the driver and front passenger from the wind are air deflectors measuring two centimeters in height. Two scoops integrated in the body serve as roll-over bars. This extreme concept also clearly distinguishes the new SLR Stirling Moss from all other vehicles in the elite-sports-car class on a visual level.
Like the legendary race cars of yesteryear, the SLR Stirling Moss impresses with its scintillating performance. With the power to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 350 km/h, the puristic high-performance sports car brings a whole new dimension to open-top driving. Not just because of the impressive performance figures, but also since every drive in the SLR Stirling Moss appeals to the senses with a new intensity and conveys the driving experience in its purest and most sensuous form. Hence this automotive thoroughbred offers an open-air experience that is unique for a road-going car.
Alluring design as a reminiscence to the SLR race cars
The entire body of the SLR Stirling Moss is made from lightweight carbon fiber and features a unique design. When the Mercedes-Benz designers came to design the body of the new SLR Stirling Moss, they never lost sight of the fact that they were designing a car with a top speed of 350 km/h. At the same time, however, this top athlete is a convincing reminiscence to the design idiom of the SLR race cars of the 1950s, which still sends people into raptures to this day.
The strikingly arrow-shaped, exciting form of the SLRStirling Moss is characterized by an elongated hood and a compact, muscular rear end. Since there are no windows, the exterior and interior merge into one another. By way of example, the hood appears to flow from its distinctive nose right into the interior, making the car body seem much longer than it is. Even when stationary, therefore, the sports car exudes a dynamism that immediately casts a spell over the observer.
Further prominent features include two scoops behind the driver and front passenger, which carry additional roll-over bars and likewise create a blend of the traditional and the modern. The wings are powerfully contoured, while facetted, black-painted ventilation grilles inserted at the sides and on the hood are unequivocal references to the legendary SLRmodels. Expressive lines create an beguiling interplay between light and shade, which emphasizes the dynamic overall impression.
Like its historic forebears, the new SLR Stirling Moss boasts extremely high side skirts, which is why the designers opted for forward-opening gullwing doors.
The car is closable using two carbon-fibre covers – known as tonneau covers – which are carried in the trunk. When both tonneau covers are fitted and the doors are closed, the SLR Stirling Moss resembles a fine sculpture.
In keeping with the car’s puristic exterior, the interior has been pared down to the bare essentials. Interwoven surfaces on the dashboard and doors create a gripping ambience and convey perfectionism. Here high-quality and authentic materials such as carbon fiber, aluminum, and high-grade leather define the style. An aluminum plaque bears the engraved signature of Stirling Moss and covers the area around the shift lever.
Innovative technology and sophisticated aerodynamics concept
For the technical basis – sophisticated carbon-fiber design, high-performance chassis and robust V8 supercharged engine – the designers of the SLRStirling Moss were able to draw on their experience gained with the SLRCoupé and Roadster models. The Stirling Moss shares the same aerodynamics concept as the other members of the SLRfamily, featuring a closed underbody and a diffuser in the rear bumper to maximize downforce at the rear axle, although this diffuser is much larger than the one for the Coupé and Roadster models.
Thanks to painstaking work in the wind tunnel, the SLRStirling Moss always generates enough downforce for extremely reliable handling; however, the driver can raise the airbrake manually in order to further increase downforce – for extremely sporty driving. In addition, the airbrake is raised when the brakes are applied at speeds above 120 km/h in order to further stabilize the car and maximize deceleration.
Limited edition of just 75 models – the crowning glory of the SLR range
The new SLR Stirling Moss is a high-caliber speedster designed to appeal to lovers of the genre. It also marks the crowning glory of an era and, for the foreseeable future at least, a farewell to the SLR. Production of the SLR Roadster models will cease as scheduled in May 2009. A limited edition of just 75 Stirling Moss models will be produced between June and December 2009, with each chassis being individually numbered from 1 through 75. As well as being the final member of the current SLR family, this exclusive car is a thank you to the most loyal SLR customers, since they are the only ones who will be able to purchase a Stirling Moss model.
Three letters are all it takes to make car fans go into raptures: SLR. Racing driver Stirling Moss is one of the reasons behind the legend that surrounds these three letters. Moss, considered to be one of the best racing drivers of all time, achieved many of his greatest successes in the 1950s behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. His outstanding victories with co-pilots Denis Jenkinson, John Fitch and Peter Collins at Italy’s two traditional events – Mille Miglia and Targa Florio – and at the equally notorious Tourist Trophy in Northern Irelandlaid the foundations for winning the sports car world championship in 1955. He completed Mille Miglia in a time of ten hours, seven minutes, and 48 seconds – a record which still stands to this day - at an average speed of 157.65 km/h.
But the Brit was not the only one to achieve success in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Juan Manuel Fangio – who went on to win the Formula-1 World Championship five times – and Karl Kling drove the sports car produced in Untertürkheim to many a podium finish. At that time, the 300 SLR was the master of the racetrack. But the master of the 300 SLR was Stirling Moss.
New interpretation of the legendary 300 SLR race cars
This is why the latest reincarnation of the legendary SLR bears the name Stirling Moss. After all, the new SLR Stirling Moss produced by Mercedes-Benz in collaboration with Formula-1 partner McLaren is not just an exciting, stylistic, new interpretation of the Brit’s former race car, it also blends the character of the modern-day SLR models with the excitement generated by the SLRof 1955 – precisely 75 years after the appearance of the first Silver Arrow, incidentally. The SLR Stirling Moss model’s illustrious line of ancestors also includes the Mercedes W 196 Formula-1 cars from the 1950s, which were also available in streamlined form, as well as the Mercedes-Benz SL and the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes Formula-1 cars.
With its unusual concept, the new SLR Stirling Moss is a most emphatic reminder of the glorious history of the SLR models from the 1950s – a fusion of the core values of the historic and the current SLR models. These include a captivating new design based on a concept and numerous details that evoke memories of its predecessors, innovative technology, first-class materials displaying faultless craftsmanship and, above all, a unique driving experience.
Unique standing among super sports cars thanks to white-knuckle concept
Following the lead set by the 300 SLR in every respect, the new Silver Arrow is puristic when it comes to equipment, dispensing with the side windows and the roof. All that protects the driver and front passenger from the wind are air deflectors measuring two centimeters in height. As in the case of the historic Mille Miglia version of the 300 SLR, there are two scoops integrated in the car’s body to the rear of the occupants, each of which carries a roll-over bar. When the front-passenger seat is not in use, it can be covered by a tonneau cover – likewise just like its predecessor – to further improve aerodynamics. On a visual level, this radical concept clearly distinguishes the new SLR Stirling Moss from all other vehicles belonging to the elite-sports-car class.
350 km/h for a new dimension in open-air driving
Like the legendary race cars of yesteryear, the SLR Stirling Moss generates excitement by virtue of its outstanding performance. With the power to accelerate from zero to 100 km/h in less than 3.5 seconds and reach a top speed of 350 km/h, the new, puristic high-performance sports car brings a whole new dimension to open-top driving. Not just because of the impressive performance figures, but also since every drive in this Speedster appeals to the senses with a new intensity and conveys the driving experience in its purest form. Hence this automotive thoroughbred is able to offer an open-air feeling that is truly unique for a road-going vehicle.
The SLR Stirling Moss features a unique design. For the technical basis – sophisticated carbon-fiber design, high-performance chassis and robust V8 engine – the designers of the Stirling Moss model were able to draw on their experiences gained with the SLR Coupé and Roadster models.
Limited edition of just 75 models – the crowning glory of the SLR range
The new SLR Stirling Moss is a high-caliber classic for everyday driving, which is just what lovers of exotic sports cars want. Only 75 models, with their chassis numbered from 1 through 75, are being built. And only the most loyal of SLR clients will be able to purchase them. Hence the SLR Stirling Moss marks the crowning glory of the SLRera.
By launching the new SLR Stirling Moss, Mercedes-Benz and McLaren are writing one final chapter in the success story of the SLR family, which has produced five variants in five years. So well have the SLR models been received by enthusiasts that all the model variants have easily outsold all other cars in their respective classes. A total of around 1700 SLRmodels have been sold to date.
Top speed of 350 km/h requires a special design
When the Mercedes-Benz designers came to design the body of the new SLR Stirling Moss, they never lost sight of the fact that they were designing a modern-day car with a top speed of 350 km/h using the very latest technologies. At the same time, however, they produced a reminiscence to the design idiom of the SLRrace cars of the 1950s, which still arouses excitement to this day. Like these illustrious forebears, the SLRStirling Moss displays the accentuated asymmetry of an extreme sports car with the focus firmly on the driver.
Silhouette defined by elongated hood and muscular rear end
The silhouette of the SLR Stirling Moss is characterized by two major structures which infuse the car with dynamism: the elongated, prominent hood and the compact, muscular rear end. Because there is no windscreen, the car’s body appears to flow directly into the interior, making it seem much longer. Even when stationary, therefore, the sports car exudes an immense dynamism that immediately casts a spell over the observer.
Further prominent features include two scoops behind the driver and front passenger, which carry additional roll-over bars and likewise create a blend of the traditional and the modern. Two air deflectors – embedded in aluminum borders, scarcely the height of a matchbox, yet aerodynamically optimized – direct the wind past the occupants, although it is still advisable to wear the supplied helmet and racing goggles.
Powerfully contoured hood and fenders
The fenders boast powerful contours. Behind the front axle are two rhombic exhaust tailpipes on either side, each surrounded by a facetted, black ventilation grille which, in turn, is bordered by powerful contours. These expressive lines create a beguiling interplay between light and shade, which emphasizes the dynamic overall impression.
Likewise the hood features two black-painted ventilation grilles bordered by prominent, powerful edges. These are by no means trim elements; they are located at those points where vacuums occur during driving. The slipstream they create helps to dissipate the engine heat.
Eight quick-release locks hold the elongated hood securely in place, even at speeds of up to 350 km/h. For maintenance purposes, the bonnet can be fully raised to afford easy access to the mechanical components beneath.
Gullwing doors and tonneau covers
Like its historic forebears, the new SLR Stirling Moss boasts extremely high side skirts, which is why the designers opted for forward-opening gullwing doors.
The car is closable using two covers – known as tonneau covers – which can be carried in the trunk. When both tonneau covers are fitted and the doors are closed, the SLRStirling Moss has a truly sculptural feel. Furthermore, unauthorized access to the car from outside is not possible when it is sealed in this way.
In the event of a sudden downpour, for example, an additional, simple fabric soft-top can be used to protect the interior.
The enormous performance capability of the super sports car is emphasized by newly designed 19-inch wheels that afford an uninterrupted view of the silver painted brake calipers and the large brake discs.
Extremely pronounced V-shaped front end and high-tech headlamps
The front section of the new SLR is characterized by an extremely pronounced V‑shape and a front apron with large air inlets for cooling the engine and brakes. The prominent Mercedes star is integrated in the tip of the hood. It is flanked by sharply upturned headlamps – purposely kept simple and technical – located in extremely wide positions at the body edges to emphasize the dynamic character of the car. In addition to being resistant to smaller stones, the extremely light yet scratch-resistant covers offer a glimpse of the high-tech components inside the headlamps. These include white LEDs arranged in an arc form to produce an unmistakable night look.
Rear end dominated by powerful diffuser
The potent and wide appearance of the rear end is defined by the roll-over bars, a powerful diffuser, and slender tail lights which incorporate high-output LEDs and flow around into the car’s flanks. A third brake light is integrated in the aerodynamically optimized spoiler lip, while a square rear fog lamp reminiscent of those used in Formula 1 sits in the center bar at the rear.
Interior displaying puristic perfectionism
Because there is no windscreen, the transition from the exterior to the asymmetrically designed interior is exceptionally smooth-flowing: the body merges directly into the dashboard via the plenum. In keeping with the car’s puristic exterior, the interior has been pared down to the bare essentials. Interwoven surfaces on the dashboard and doors create a gripping ambience and convey perfectionism.
High-quality and authentic materials
Another style-defining characteristic of the interior is the mix of materials – including carbon fibre, aluminum and leather – all of which are highly authentic and of the highest quality. The finish of the leather-trimmed surfaces in particular is inspired by the world of motorsport. By way of example, the stitching on the seat covers is derived directly from the classic checkered pattern of historic fabric seats. The contrasting leather, the jet-black nappa leather, and the colored Silver Arrow leather, together with the expressive double-lapped felling, enhance the dramaturgy of the interior. The door handles are cut from aluminum and covered with suede, while the center console and lower door sections are made from carbon fiber. The air vents are likewise made from solid aluminum, with those on the left and right also serving as fixtures for the tonneau covers. Further aluminum fixtures in the center of the dashboard and the center console are used for fixing the center bar – the bridge that supports the roof sections.
The new-look instrument cluster is clearly driver-focused, providing the essential information. Plus the black dials of the classic circular gauges with white numerals make this information very easy to read. The speedometer in the SLR Stirling Moss goes up to 390 km/h. In the cockpit, the driver sits behind a three-spoke steering wheel with a flat-bottomed design, an easy-grip rim trimmed in suede, and aluminum shift paddles.
At the base of the shift lever is an aluminum plaque bearing the engraved signature of Stirling Moss. This is also where the start button is situated.
As in the race cars to which this new SLR owes so much, ’less is more’ is the motto for the puristic equipment. Both the radio and the telephone have been omitted to reduce weight. Manual seat adjustment has been chosen for the same reason.
Sophisticated aerodynamics for maximum possible speed
Many hours of painstaking work in the wind tunnel were required to optimize the SLR Stirling Moss with respect to handling and aerodynamics. But the effort was worth it. Even at 350 km/h, the car does not require an extendable rear spoiler, thanks mainly to the longer rear end which has been lowered by around 130 millimeters and assures a smooth, uninterrupted flow of air around the car’s body.
The Stirling Moss shares the same aerodynamics concept as the other members of the SLR family, featuring a closed underbody and a diffuser in the rear bumper to maximize downforce at the rear axle, although this diffuser is much larger than the one for the Coupé and Roadster models.
There is also an airbrake fitted, which the driver can raise manually in order to further increase downforce – for more sporty driving, for example. In contrast to the other SLR models, the airbrake is only raised automatically to an angle of 65 degrees for braking at speeds above 120 km/h and if the brake pedal is pressed hard, making it an airbrake in the truest sense of the word. As a consequence, the rear-axle downforce increases within a fraction of a second and partially compensates for the dynamic axle load distribution during braking, which has a tendency to press towards the front axle. The result is greater braking power, directional stability, and road adhesion when decelerating.
Prime examples of the subtle aerodynamic measures include the cooling openings, which are designed to take up minimum surface area. Electrically operated flaps even close parts of the brake ventilation system at high speeds, but open these cooling ducts immediately as soon as the driver applies the brakes. Those wishing to reach the top speed of 350 km/h will notice just how important the car’s aerodynamics are since, in order to achieve this, the tonneau covers must be fitted on the front-passenger side and the air deflector has to be removed using the supplied tool kit.
Outstanding handling and safety thanks to carbon-fiber technology
On a technical level too, the SLR Stirling Moss has inherited the very best genes from the SLR family, and it benefits from the many years of experience gained by Mercedes-Benz and Formula-1 partner McLaren. Its body is likewise made solely of carbon-fiber composite (CFRP), with the exception of two aluminum engine frames. This design makes all SLR models unique among high-performance sports cars. Specially for the Stirling Moss model, the carbon monocoque has been redeveloped at the rear due to the absence of the roof, and the resulting changed requirements in terms of aerodynamics and safety technology. Thanks to the use of sophisticated carbon-fiber technology, energy absorption is exemplary, which means an extremely high level of occupant safety and a degree of torsional stiffness that is unmatched by any other open-top car, allowing outstanding handling qualities that would normally only be possible in a super sports car with a rigid roof.
What’s more, the SLR Stirling Moss is the lightest member of the SLR family, tipping the balance at a curb weight of just 1551 kg, making it around 200 kg lighter than the other SLR models. Yet the new SLR– while having the same wheelbase length of 2700 mm, assuring optimal straight-ahead driving – is 164 mm longer and 7 mm wider than the other SLR models.
A high level of safety is assured by carbon-fiber crash structures and two fixed roll-over bars. Also on board are adaptive airbags, seat-belt tensioners, and a tire pressure monitoring system.
High-performance powerplant produced at the AMG Motoremanufaktur production facility
At the heart of the SLR Stirling Moss is a powerful 5.5-litre V8 supercharged engine that is assembled by hand at the Mercedes-AMG Motorenmanufaktur engine production facility in Affalterbach, Germany. Hallmark strengths of the high-performance power unit – with an output of 478 kW/650 hp and a peak
torque of 820 Nm for power in abundance – include extremely spontaneous response to accelerator pedal movements, high pulling power and an unmistakable V8 sound.
All of which enables the SLR Stirling Moss to post an astonishing set of performance figures, even by high-end sports-car standards: the sprint from zero to 100 km/h takes under 3.5 seconds, while the top speed is 350 km/h.
The Mercedes-Benz-developed five-speed automatic transmission has also been specifically designed for high performance and extremely high torque. Likewise the interaction between the engine and the transmission has been optimized: there is a choice of two selectable transmission modes: M ("Manual") or S ("Sport"); if M mode is selected, the driver can change gear using the paddles on the steering wheel or the shift lever. In Sport mode, the automatic transmission deals with the gear changes.
Even more dynamic chassis
Other key factors that further enhance the performance of the SLR Stirling Moss include a retuned chassis with taut spring rates and shock-absorber characteristics, enabling the car to scale new heights in terms of directional stability, road adhesion, and handling dynamics.
The lightweight 19-inch forged-aluminum wheels afford a clear glimpse of the silver-painted brake calipers for the high-performance carbon-ceramic brake discs, which provide outstanding deceleration. Internally ventilated six-piston brake callipers are fitted at the front, while the likewise carbon/ceramic discs at the rear have four brake pistons. This brake system allows superb deceleration that is fully in keeping with the exceptionally high performance capability of the SLR Stirling Moss.
Prospective SLR Stirling Moss clients involved in the car’s development
The development phase was as remarkable as the car itself. That’s because SLR owners were able to observe and take part in the development of the car, and even put forward their own ideas. As early as May 2008, the SLR owners were able to assess a design model of the new SLR flagship. Later they experienced the car live in initial test drives. The new SLR Stirling Moss is a car that was built for and, above all, with its clients.
Consequently, practically all of the 75 Stirling Moss models built have already been reserved by clients. Furthermore, anyone wishing to buy one of the other SLR models will have to make haste as the Stirling Moss marks the end of the SLR era.