The Goodwood Festival of Speed (FoS) may be months away, but thanks to the Goodwood Press Day this week, we got a look at what cars will be driven and showcased. Mercedes-Benz will bring one of the more interesting fleets to the event, including a rare race car that ranks as one of the most valuable in the world.
The highlight of Mercedes' Goodwood presence is sure to be the 300 SLR "Uhlenhaut Coupé." A closed, gullwing version of the 300 SLR race car, the coupé was built with the intention of racing in 1956. After Stirling Moss and John Cooper Fitch won the British International Tourist Trophy in 1955, however, Mercedes withdrew from the 1956 season and never raced either of the two 300 SLR coupé examples made.
Instead, Mercedes engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, father of the 300 SLR, took one of the coupés for use as a company car. It was fitted with a silencer on its side exhaust pipe to make it road legal. As a lightweight, 310-hp coupé designed for racing, the Uhlenhaut was the fastest road-legal car of its time, capable of speeds of more than 280 km/h (174 mph). The rare car is considered one of the most valuable cars in the world but appears unlikely to be sold from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Collection.
A car of the Uhlenhaut Coupé's caliber would be more than enough to firmly anchor a company's Goodwood participation, but Mercedes will accompany it with an even older race car: a special saloon built for the 1910 Prince Heinrich Tour, where it took 11th place. The car has been elaborately restored,
Other cars in the Mercedes Goodwood fleet will include the W 154 from 1938 and 1939, the W 196 from 1954 and 1955, an 1834 S racing truck from 1993, and a Benz patent motor car. The 1834 S truck took home three European Championship in its day, under the control of drivers Steve Parrish (1994 and 1996) and Slim Borgudd (1997).
Mercedes also expects to be joined by legendary F1 race car driver Jackie Stewart. He will drive a W 154 specially decorated with a "Stewart Racing Tartan" on the seat cover.
The 2013 Goodwood Festival of Speed will be held in the grounds of Goodwood House in West Sussex, England, from July 11 to 14.