For the 1955 running of the RAC’s Tourist Trophy at Dundrod, Ireland, Moss and co-driver John Fitch managed to emerge victorious over Jaguar-mounted Mike Hawthorn and Desmond Titterington despite late-race rain and an exploding tire,—the visible legacy of which is the missing fender shown here.
My personal record with the Mercedes 300 SLR was six starts, three wins, two 2nd places and one “withdrawn when leading”…under protest. That was at Le Mans after the big crash when one of our cars was involved and the Mercedes board in Stuttgart decided to withdraw the other cars.
The SLRs were really sports-bodied versions of the W196 Grand Prix car, which first appeared in 1954, but with a 3-liter cast-block engine very similar to the Grand Prix straight-eight desmodromic valve unit. Mercedes tested these cars before their debut in the 1955 Mille Miglia. In preparation for that race, we had done the most comprehensive reconnaissance I ever experienced. Mercedes were determined to win the Mille Miglia and spared no expense to do so. There was a three-month period of practice, testing and development for this one race. In addition to flogging round Italy in 220 saloons and 300 SLs, the first two 300 SLRs were flogged mercilessly over the route as well.
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