Mercedes-Benz SSK

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Mercedes-Benz SSK
1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK 34.jpg
Overview
Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Production 1928–1932
Assembly Bremen, Germany
Designer Ferdinand Porsche
Body and chassis
Class Sports car
Body style 2-door roadster
Layout FMR layout
Powertrain
Engine supercharged 7,069 cc (7.1 L) SOHC I6
Dimensions
Wheelbase 116 in (2,950 mm)
Length 167 in (4,240 mm)
Width 67 in (1,700 mm)
Height 68 in (1,730 mm)
Curb weight 3,750 lb (1,700 kg)
Mercedes-Benz SSK salon

The Mercedes-Benz SSK is a roadster built by German automobile manufacturer Mercedes-Benz between 1928 and 1932. Its name is an abbreviation of Super Sport Kurz, German for "Super Sport Short", as it was a short wheelbase development of the earlier Mercedes-Benz S. The SSK's extreme performance and numerous competitive successes made it one of the most highly regarded sports cars of its era.[1][2]

Design and achievements[edit]

The SSK was the last car designed for Mercedes-Benz by the engineer Ferdinand Porsche before he left to found his own company.[3][4] The SSK was based on the earlier Mercedes-Benz S, but with the chassis shortened by 19 inches (480 mm) to make the car lighter and more agile for racing,[5] especially short races and hillclimbs.[6]

Fitted with a supercharged single overhead camshaft 7-litre straight-6 engine[6][7] producing 200–300 metric horsepower (150–220 kW) and over 500 lb·ft (680 N·m) of torque (depending on the state of tune),[7] the SSK had a top speed of up to 120 miles per hour (190 km/h), making it the fastest car of its day.[8] The supercharger on the SSK's engine was operated by a clutch that was engaged by fully depressing the throttle pedal and then giving the pedal an extra push. Backing off the throttle pedal disengaged the supercharger clutch.[6]

The SSK was driven to victory in numerous races, including in 1929 the 500 Miles of Argentina, the 1929 and 1930 Cordoba Grands Prix, the 1931 Argentine Grand Prix, and, in the hands of legendary Grand Prix racing driver Rudolf Caracciola, the 1929 British Tourist Trophy race, the 1930 Irish Grand Prix, the 1931 German Grand Prix, and the 1931 Mille Miglia.[9][10]

The S/SS/SSK line was one of the nominees in the penultimate round of voting for the Car of the Century award in 1999, as chosen by a panel of 132 motoring journalists and a public internet vote.[11]

Authenticity and value[edit]

Fewer than 40 SSKs were built during its production span, of which about half were sold as Rennwagen (racing cars).[12] Many were crashed while racing and subsequently cannibalised for parts, and as a result there are now almost 100 replicas using components donated from original vehicles.[citation needed] Only four or five entirely original models remain, and their scarcity and rich heritage make them among the most sought after cars in the world; a 1929 model was auctioned at Bonhams in Chichester in September 2004 for £4.17 million (US$7.4 million), making it the second most expensive automobile ever sold at that time.[12][13] Another SSK, a streamlined "Count Trossi"-bodied version (see photo at top of page) owned and restored by fashion designer Ralph Lauren,[14] has won best of show at both the 1993 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and the 2007 Concorso D’Eleganza Villa d’Este.[15][16][17]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Donovan, Sandra (2007). Sports Cars. Lerner Publications. pp. 48pp. ISBN 0-8225-5928-5. 
  2. ^ Lozier, Herbert (1967). The Car of Kings: The Mercedes "K" and "S". Chilton Book Co. 
  3. ^ Kelly, Prescott V. (1998). "Ferdinand Porsche, 1875 – 1951". John's Porsche 964 Web. John Miles. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  4. ^ "PEOPLE: FERDINAND PORSCHE". GrandPrix.com. Inside F1. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  5. ^ Biggs, Henry. "Top 10: greatest-ever Mercedes", MSN Cars
  6. ^ a b c Hill, Phil (April 1990). "Salon: 1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK Grace that belies its size". In Bryant, Thos L. Road & Track (Newport Beach, CA, USA: Hachette Magazines) 41 (8): 124–129. ISSN 0035-7189. "The factory brochure promised, 'This modification has made it lighter, faster, and more flexible; the short model thus of short races, especially in the mountains...'" 
  7. ^ a b "1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK Trossi Roadster". Supercars.net. Supercars.net Publishing. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  8. ^ Adler, Dennis (2001). Mercedes-Benz: Silver Star Century. MotorBooks/MBI Publishing Company. ISBN 0-7603-0949-3. 
  9. ^ "Mercedes SL Heritage". Unique Cars and Parts. The SS and SSK. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  10. ^ "1931 Mille Miglia". ddavid.com. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  11. ^ Dornin, Tim. "Car of the century voting narrows", AAP General News, 15 March 1999.
  12. ^ a b "1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK Roadster "A Rembrandt of iron and rubber"". Keith Martin's Sports Car Market. Portland, OR, USA: Sports Car Market Magazine. 2003-08-31. Retrieved 2011-10-09. 
  13. ^ Lombard, Stefan (2006-07-28). "Most Expensive Collectible Cars". Forbes.com. the second page in the slide show. Retrieved 2011-10-13. 
  14. ^ Grant, Annette (6 March 2005). "ART: CLOSE READING; Art With Lousy Mileage but Shiny Celebrity Gloss". The New York Times (New York, NY USA). Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
  15. ^ "Timeless vehicle of Ralph Lauren", October 26, 2007
  16. ^ "Lauren SSK steals Villa d’Este limelight", Classic & Sports Car, June 10, 2007[dead link]
  17. ^ Melissen, Wouter (26 December 2007). "Mercedes-Benz 710 SSK 27/240/300 hp Trossi Roadster". Ultimatecarpage.com. Ultimatecarpage.com. Retrieved 2011-10-17. 
Preceded by
Bentley 4½ Litre
Fastest street-legal production car
210 km/h (130 mph)
Succeeded by
Bentley 4½ Litre Supercharged

External links[edit]