Stirling Moss and his navigator Denis Jenkinson piloted this 300 SLR to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia in a record time that has remained unbeaten to this day.
The cars left the start line in Brescia at one-minute intervals – car number 722 stood for the start time of 7:22 a.m. The success of the 300 SLR ensured that Mercedes-Benz would have the 1955 sports-car world championship title to add to its triumph in Formula 1.
The Mille Miglia victory was one of the greatest ever achievements in motor sport history, but the legend of the win was cemented by co-driver Denis Jenkinson’s remarkable article written for the June 1955 issue of Motor Sport magazine about the experience. This is a short extract from the feature:
‘At no time before the race did we ever contemplate getting into the lead, for we fully expected Fangio to set the pace, with Kling determined to win at all costs, so we were out for a third place, and to beat all the Ferraris. Barely 10 miles after the start we saw a red speck in front of us and had soon nipped by on a left-hand curve. It was 720. Pinzero, number 721 being a non-starter. By my right hand was a small grab rail and a horn button; the steering was on the left of the cockpit, by the way, and this button not only blew the horn, but also flashed the lights, so that while I played a fanfare on this Moss placed the car for overtaking other competitors. My direction indications I was giving with my left hand, so what with turning the map roller and feeding Moss with sucking sweets there was never a dull moment. The car was really going well now, and on the straights to Verona we were getting 7500 in top gear, a speed of 274 k.p.h., or as close to 170 m.p.h. as one could wish to travel …’
The 300SLR, model designation W196S, is front-mid-engined with a straight-eight 3-litre engine, producing 298bhp at 7500rpm. Its top speed is 186mph. The Moss/Jenks car, 722, is displayed at the Mercedes-Benz Museum.