2004 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
Minichamps - 436033020 (diecast)
Taking inspiration from the past W196S Uhlenhaut coupe and current F1 cars, in the 1999 North American International Auto Show Mercedes-Benz presented to the automotive world the Vision SLR concept, as the “Tomorrow Silver Arrow”. The concept was very well received by press and public, so Mercedes, in a joint venture with their (at the time) F1 partner McLaren, went ahead with the project, and in November 2003 the final production version of the car was ready. SLR stands for Sport Leicht Rennen (“Sport Light Racing”) and is homage to the iconic 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR, that won that year’s World Sportscar Championship. Produced from 2003 to 2010, a total of 2157 untis left the factory.
The AMG engine (M155 SLR) was a 90º V8 displacing 5439 cm³ with 24 valves. It had a screw-type supercharger that helps to deliver 616 hp. Power transmits to the ground via AMG’s SPEEDSHIFT R five-speed automatic transmission with three manual modes. The car also features active aerodynamics, to decrease wind resistance, boost down force and complement the braking system. Braking is handled by carbon-ceramic disks controlled by a Sensotronic Brake Control system. To keepd things light, the body of the SLR uses carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP) construction. But despite the lightweight materials the SLR weighs a not-so-feathery 1750 kg. Still, it can go from 0 to 100 km/h in fast 3.3 seconds and up to 330 km/h.
Generally speaking, I’m not a big fan of the SLR McLaren (I’m more of a SLS kind of guy). However, I do think it looks very well proportioned. In fact, from the side I think it looks very good, with that massive aircraft carrier-sized bonnet. My issue with the car is only that pointed nose. In my eyes the designer, Gorden Wagener, went too far. I guess he wanted to give the car a F1 resemblance, but that detail kind of marred the car for me. Reminds me too much of the Wicked Witch of the West’s nose, minus mole.
Bad nose job or not, the SLR was Mercedes first modern supercar. Consequently, I had to have one for the Garage. At first I thought of going with the ubiquitous silver color… But being a sucker for white sports cars, I ended up with a white one. Well, different enough, no need to go overboard, right? In 1:43 it’s a “basic Minichamps”, from their Bianco Line. Consequently, that has very decent value-for-the-money.