Mercedes-Benz 1954 W 196 R Gran Prix
At the 2013 Festival of Speed Bonhams auctioned off an original Mercedes-Benz W 196 R Grand Prix racing car for a record sum, the equivalent of US$ 31.6 million.
In 1954, Mercedes-Benz returned to Grand Prix with a completely newly developed racing car. The W 196 R complied with all the conditions of the new Grand Prix formula of the CSI (Commission Sportive Internationale): 750 cubic centimetres displacement with supercharger or 2,500 cubic centimetres without, no restrictions on fuel composition. From its 2,496 cubic centimetres displacement the W 196 R delivered 188 kW (256 hp) at 8,260 rpm in 1954 and 213 kW (290 hp) at 8,500 rpm in 1955
In the opening race, the French Grand Prix on 4 July 1954, Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling drove W 196 R streamlined racing cars to a double victory. Fangio finished the season as World Champion. With a further improved version of the streamlined car he won the Italian Grand Prix in 1955 and by the end of the season he was again World Champion.
Stirling Moss with Denis Jenkinson Mercedes-Benz 1955 300 SLR winning the 1000 Miglia.
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing sports car (W 196 S) was basically a type W 196 R Formula 1 racing car with a two-seater sports car body. The main technical difference is to be found in the three-litre, eight cylinder in-line engine running on premium petrol rather than methanol-based racing fuel used for Gran Prix racing.
Its output, 222 kW (302 hp), and its durability and reliability made the 300 SLR far superior to its competitors of 1955, and the car was a clear winner at the Mille Miglia, the Eifel race, the Swedish Grand Prix, and the Targa Florio (Sicily). At the 1955 Mille Miglia, Stirling Moss and his co-driver Denis Jenkinson (start number 722) came in first with the average speed, unequalled to this day, of 157.65 km/h. The track record of this sports car remains unique: the W 196 S won every single race the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR entered and finished.