Mercedes-Benz Showcase History At Launch Of Goodwood Festival Of Speed

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Two special aluminium-bodied rear wheel driver Mercedes-Benz took to the Goodwood Hill to mark the launch of the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Built 58 years apart, the first of the two cars was the 1955 300 SLR “Uhlenhaut” Coupé, as driven by Jochen Mass at Goodwood, which was joined by its modern successor, the SLS AMG GT, the first of its kind to visit the UK.

Despite their age difference, there are a wealth of similarities between the two cars extending beyond the obvious of being front-engined, rear wheel drive and having roof-hinged doors. Both cars features extensive use of aluminium, making the car stronger but lighter. Both models are also fitted with hand-built, eight-cylinder engines and were designed by a small, skilled and dedicated team.

The 1955 model, named after legendary engineer and creator of the 300 SLR, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, was based on the highly successful racers, including the Mille Miglia victory of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson.

Only two of the Coupés were ever created, both using the 3-litre, 310hp engine as found in the 300 SLR race car. The car was the fastest closed roof vehicle of its time, reaching 178mph on its autobahn runs. Having been fitted with less than effective silencers to make it road legal, Uhlenhaut famously used it as his everyday car for his commute to Stuttgart.

The modern SLS AMG GT is also capable of extreme high speeds, going from 0-62mph in 3.7 seconds and 0-124mph in 11.2 seconds before reaching the electronically limited maximum speed of 198mph.

Based on the SLS AMG, the GT features a hand built 6.3-litre V8 engine developing 591hp, while the AMG Speedshift DCT-7 gearbox has been uprated to allow even quicker gear changes. On the outside, visual modifications to the SLS AMG GT include new front and rear lenses, matt black AMG wheels and a black gloss finish to the grille, bonnet fins and wing mirror casings.

Both cars made three trips up the Goodwood Hill with the SLS AMG GT proving popular every time as it stormed off the line.

Mercedes-Benz will showcase an extensive collection of cars, both new and old, at the 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed on the 11-14 July.

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