2015: Mercedes-Benz celebrates 60th anniversary of the Mille Miglia victory of 1955.

Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR.
  • 2015: Mercedes-Benz celebrates 60th anniversary of the Mille Miglia victory of 1955.

  • Three of the greatest heroes are returning.

    Some 60 years after Mercedes-Benz’s triumph at the Mille Miglia, three of the greatest heroes of the thousand-mile race in 1955 are returning to the route between Brescia and Rome: together with the legendary Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S) racing car, Mercedes-Benz racing drivers Stirling Moss and Hans Herrmann are remembering the 1955 race Mille Miglia event.

    Back then the young Brit Moss won this furious Italian road race with his co-driver Denis Jenkinson in the fastest ever time of 10 hours, 7 minutes and 48 seconds over a distance of around 1,600 kilometres.

    Mille Miglia, Brescia in Italy, 1 May 1955. Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson won the race in record time driving a Mercedes-Benz Type 300 SLR (W 196 S) racing car.

    Hans Herrmann, on the other hand, was the hapless hero at Mille Miglia 60 years ago as he was in an excellent second place at the wheel of his 300 SLR, likewise with a chance of victory, when an unfortunate defect ended his race on the Passo di Futa.

    The conquering and hapless heroes.

    At the Mille Miglia 2015, the conquering and hapless heroes of 1955 are returning to the scene of one of the greatest races of all time at the wheel of original Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR racing cars. Sir Stirling Moss is a guest at the wheel of the very same original car with starting number 722 in which he won the legendary Italian road race from Brescia to Rome and back in the best ever time 60 years ago.

    At his side is then team-mate Hans Herrmann – who six decades ago was likewise a hot contender for victory in the thousand-mile race. The third Mercedes-Benz Brand Ambassador to line up on the Mille Miglia route is former Mercedes-Benz DTM racing driver Ralf Schumacher, also in the 300 SLR. The authentic racing cars are making their unique guest appearances in Brescia, Sirmione, San Marino, Rome and Siena during the course of the historic regularity race.

    Hans Herrmann at the wheel of the 300 SLR with starting number 704 at the Classic Insight “1955 success stories,” 23 April 2015 in Italy.

    Illustrious guest appearance of the 300 SLR racing cars.

    Around 430 cars from some 70 different brands are taking part in the Mille Miglia this year – the 60th event to be held under this name since 1927 – including almost 40 Mercedes-Benz cars, the supercharged SS and SSK touring sports cars from the late 1920s plus the 300 SL (W 198) and 220 “Ponton” (W 180) models unveiled in 1954.

    Sir Stirling Moss at the wheel of the 300 SLR with starting number 722 at the Classic Insight “1955 success stories,” 23 April 2015 in Italy.
    Mille Miglia, Brescia in Italy, 1 May 1955. Winners in the production sports car class: John Cooper Fitch and Kurt Gesell (start number 417) in a Mercedes-Benz Type 300 SL (W 198) touring sports car.

    Special moments.

    Each of the vehicles is associated with its own special moments in the history of the Mille Miglia. The supercharged sports cars, for instance, are a reminder of Rudolf Caracciola’s victory in the Mercedes-Benz SSKL at the Mille Miglia 1931. At the time, this was the first overall win achieved by a non-Italian driver. The 300 SL “Gullwing” Coupé was a standard-production sports car derived from the 300 SL racing model (W 194) with which Mercedes-Benz returned to international motor sport in 1952,

    achieving second (Karl Kling) and fourth (Rudolf Caracciola) places overall at that year’s Mille Miglia. The standard-production sports car then enjoyed its finest hour in 1955 when John Cooper Fitch led a triple victory for the 300 SL in the category for standard-production sports cars with a displacement above 1.3 litres.

    Mille Miglia, Brescia in Italy, 1 May 1955. Winner in the diesel class: senior engineer Helmut Retter (Daimler-Benz representative in Innsbruck) with co-driver Wolfgang Larcher in a Mercedes-Benz Type 180 D (W 120), start number 04, at a checkpoint.

    A triple victory in its category.

    Similarly the 180 D (W 120) diesel-powered Saloon achieved a triple victory in its category in 1955, adding the perfect finishing touch to the resounding overall victory achieved by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Despite the racing department’s withdrawal from motor sport, Mercedes-Benz supported the entry of several 300 SL standard-production sports cars in 1956, although the main emphasis was on preparing three 220 “Ponton” Saloon models for the Mille Miglia.

    A triple victory in its category.

    Similarly the 180 D (W 120) diesel-powered Saloon achieved a triple victory in its category in 1955, adding the perfect finishing touch to the resounding overall victory achieved by Stirling Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. Despite the racing department’s withdrawal from motor sport, Mercedes-Benz supported the entry of several 300 SL standard-production sports cars in 1956, although the main emphasis was on preparing three 220 “Ponton” Saloon models for the Mille Miglia.

    Mille Miglia, Brescia in Italy, 1 May 1955. Winner in the diesel class: senior engineer Helmut Retter (Daimler-Benz representative in Innsbruck) with co-driver Wolfgang Larcher in a Mercedes-Benz Type 180 D (W 120), start number 04, at a checkpoint.

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