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It's not your average Gullwing

This could be the most valuable of all cars existing

20/08/2013 11:57 | Comments: 


The guy behind the idea of the English-language Totalcar site, the, also serving as an editor at the Hungarian , our mother site. Serial collector of sorry old things that have internal combustion engines in them, as a newfound religion, Zsolt is keeping a family under the terror of rust. Being in the business for the best part of the last 19 years, he landed at Totalcar after serving at a huge round of printed automotive magazines. Has a wife, two small(ish) children and a pet rabbit.

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  • Mercedes-Benz 220 D (1973)
  • Mercedes-Benz 200 D (1972, ex-family car)
  • Mercedes-Benz 180 C (1962)
  • Autobianchi Bianchina Panoramica (1966)
  • Steyr-Puch 500 (1957, under construction)
  • Kawasaki Z750 Twin (1978)
  • Yamaha XJ900F (1983)
  • Honda Spacy 250 (1987)
  • NSU OSL 251 (1938)
  • Moto Morini Sbarazzino (1956)
  • Honda SS50 (1971, under construction)
And after 57 years there was one lucky bloke to drive it too. Oh, they also made a short movie on that stint. Just listen to the noise it makes...

Last time the media could get to it was in 1956. This isn't your average Gullwing 300 SL, oh no. It's a 310 PS, eight-cylinder, direct-injected, desmodromic valve train-engined mongrel on the basis of the earlier W196 race cars built for the 1956 season, but never raced, since the mother company left all of its racing business in 1955, after the accident of Pierre Levegh at Le Mans. Having fallen out of the role that was intended for it, they put on some mufflers to make the exhaust system road legal, then the car was taxed and licenced instead, becoming the company vehicle of development chief Rudolf Uhlenhaut. Hence the nickname for it: 300 SLR 'Uhlenhaut'.

Imagine this car in the traffic that could travel for sustained periods at 250kph and it was believed that on a good day it was capable of speeds nearing 300kph in the traffic 50-55 years ago, easily making it the fastest road-legal car on the planet in its time. How Rudi filled it up is a mystery, because this car was running on a special mix: 65 percent nearly unleaded petrol and 35 percent benzene. It was already on the road when Russians were invading Hungary with T-34 tanks, when the Suez Crisis was booming, your family sedan was happy to wind itself to 100kph and the Ponton Mercedes with its new ohc engine was lightning on wheels with its 135kph top speed, determinedly crunching its miles up on the autobahn. And then appeared Uhlenhaut with this bullet in the rearview mirror, blowing everything to smithereens.

This very car was recently filmed being driven by Simon Kidston, world-famous classic car dealer, avid petrolhead and absolute car nut. Kidston has driven a few old cars in his life that can easily be called interesting, and he also has his own Miura SV in his garage, so there's real judgment behind the words when he shouts in the video, "this is the loudest car I've ever driven!". Listen to the noise and don't forget, this isn't a lousy, carb-fed V8 you're hearing, it's a hybrid between ancient and supermodern technology: a straight-eight ohc with mechanical direct injection. Just a sideline: Fangio's W196 racer was recently sold for 19.6 million British pounds at a Bonhams auction at the Goodwood Festival of Speed. This SLR could be worth even more than that, but of course, Mercedes is not selling. Crazy car, that is.


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