The Mercedes Benz SLR model design began in the 1950s with the 300 SLR, an incredible sports car that was unlike anything ever seen on the road before. Now, in 2008 Mercedes Benz has recaptured their retro sportster in the SLR McLaren Roadster. The car that began as an innovator continues the tradition today. However, the list price has certainly changed. The 2008 SLR is listed for a mind-blowing $497,750, more than the cost of most people's homes. Nevertheless, the car that looks like a Corvette wrapped in a Porsche with a sprinkle of Lamborghini will certainly impress anyone who lays eyes on it, if they can catch it flying by.
The 1955 original boasted 310 horsepower; however, the remake is an absolutely incredible 617 horsepower. The 300 SLRs implemented aviation-style air brakes. Though the 300 SLR was considered a race car at the time, it was equipped with two seats. In 1955 two seats were mandatory in automobile racing. During a tragic accident on the racetrack in 1955, the 300 SLR racecar crashed; killing 82 spectators and the driver. This crash marks the highest fatalities ever recorded in racing history. After the accident, Mercedes Benz stopped racing and did not revisit the track until the 1980s.
Mercedes Benz's second attempt at the SLR comes in the form of the SLR McLaren Roadster. The McLaren can reach up to 206 mph, an incredible speed for a sports car. The entire body is made of carbon fiber, which makes the car both lightweight and aerodynamic. Also, Mercedes has upgraded the original engine to an amazing AMG-built supercharged 24-valve V8. Mercedes first released this beast in early 2008. Obviously, at such a high cost the SLR McLaren is only available by special order. However, a few dealerships in wealthy areas are investing in one or two for their showrooms.
Even with a fifty plus year gap in the manufacturing of the Mercedes Benz SLR, it still hasn't lost its touch. Critics are raving about the futuristic swing doors and fully retractable soft top. This car not only pays homage to its 1950s predecessor, it is paying respect to the sports cars of the future. Though most cannot afford it, those that can will be hard to find going 206 mph.