Mercedes Renntransporter - The Fastest Racing Car Hauler in the World
Obviously, most of the glamour was shared between the aluminium streamlined cars and their drivers, since superstars like Rudolf Caracciola, Hermann Lang and Manfred von Brauchitsch - together with iconic team manager Alfred Neubauer - were constantly the talk of the town. Since Daimler-Benz also had the biggest racing budget of all its competitors, those times were also a period of ground-breaking innovation, from almost every point of view you can imagine.
A less talked about, or should we say less remembered innovation, was the introduction of racing car transporters. Mercedes-Benz' racing department was the first to come up with these special kind of trucks, which also acted as mobile workshops. The "Silver Arrow Rapid Deployment Team" - as we like to call them - consisted of specially modified blue Mercedes-Benz trucks, meant to ensure a fast and reliable supply chain from the factory where the racing cars where built to the circuit where they were supposed to win races.
Truth be told, most vehicles used for this purpose didn't exactly stand out except when carrying their precious cargo and maybe for their distinctive blue color, but something happened after World War II. After a few years of recession, Germany quickly recovered and so did Mercedes-Benz, who restarted their motorsport program in a spectacular fashion, also under the supervision of Alfred "The Don" Neubauer. Juan Manuel Fangio, Stirling Moss, Hans Herrmann and Karl Kling were the wind beneath the wings of the newly developed W194 and W196 racing cars, which quickly became as legendary as the original Silver Arrows.
To aid their cause, the racing car carriers also had to make a comeback, only this time few suspected it was to return with a huge bang. Among numerous other crazy but effective ideas, Alfred Neubauer was dreaming of fast racing car transporters to be used instead of regular modified Mercedes-Benz trucks. With this in mind, he demanded the construction of what was to become the fastest racing car transporter in the world - a title which it still carries today.
With a chassis that was based on the x-shaped tubular frame from a Mercedes-Benz Typ 300, the new renntransporter was both a joint engineering effort between different teams under the supervision of Rudolf Uhlenhaut and a melange of different Mercedes car parts. The engine and gearbox, for example, were transplanted from the 300 SL "Gullwing", while most interior fittings were borrowed from the Typ 180.
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Five or six hours later, after a great jam session w/ some musician friends of mine... wish I was a musician... I'm a drummer...
I saw the most BEAUTIFUL Mercedes from the rear. It was a gorgeous black roadster with two small humps behind each seat. I was several cars behind and was trying to see what it was. It was unbelievable FROM THE REAR! I have a fairly decent knowledge of classic and vintage cars and knew it was something that I had never seen before. From the rear it was VERY OBVIOUS it was something VERY SPECIAL. Finally I got close enough to see the large star and model designation. IT WAS AN 300 SLR (1955). There was an area at a parking lot that was roped off, were he parked, apparently there was going to be a show. There were a couple of American classic hotrods there at that time. (Big deal...) I HAD to check out the car and talk to the owner. It was the most beautiful car I had ever seen! The gentleman told me HE HAD BUILT IT!! He didn't have an original engine, but he had a custom German Ford Capri 2.6 (or 2.8 ?) V6 built for it! Balanced, blueprinted, etc. The block looked like it was only about 24" or 60 cm long. The car was an absolutely gorgeous! The body was a work of art, with a flawless finish you could see yourself in with OPTICAL clarity. The gentleman artisan told me how Stirling Moss was the only person to win the Mille Miglia in a non-Italian car. He said that if this was the original Stirling Moss 300 SLR ... There would have to be guards!! I can only guess was his could be worth... He also reminded me of the unfortunate luck Mercedes had in that year of 1955, incidentally the year of my birth...
The unbelievable coincidence about this whole matter after my rambling story? I didn't know what a SLR 300 was, though familiar with the 300 SL Gullwing and roadsters, and the day after seeing my first one ON THE ROAD, okay a replica and only ten originals ever built (according to the gentleman I was so fortunate to meet) and the next day I run into a picture of a 300 SLR on the RennTransporter on the internet! Coincidence or a marvelous plan by someone who choreographs fate? You'll have to decide for yourself!