In the 1950s, the design of the 300 SLR redefined standards around the world. It not only caused a sensation as one of the great classics of automotive design but also as the ideal combination of form and function
The prototype, named after Rudolf Uhlenhaut, the engineer who designed it, was based on the highly successful 300 SLR race car – the famous Silver Arrow. Drivers, including Sir Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel Fangio and Karl Kling, enjoyed their greatest victories at its wheel. In races such as the Mille Miglia, the Tourist Trophy in Northern Ireland and the Eifel Race on the Nürburgring, the legendary racing car left virtually all its rivals behind. Uhlenhaut built on the success of the Silver Arrow. He developed a roadworthy sports car with the power and performance of a racing car. Even though the prototype never actually went into production, its extremely low weight, powerful engine and elegant form with the characteristic gullwing doors turned the Uhlenhaut Coupé into a legend.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Coupé embodies the same passions as its predecessor. The extended, flat, wide bonnet, the distinctive air outlets on the flanks and the short tail end – the 1950s Uhlenhaut Coupé shines through in all of its elements. The soul of the car echoes its forerunner too, with the lightweight construction extracting an exceptional performance from the SLR Coupé. In the current model, however, carbon has taken the place of light alloy.