Only 40 Mercedes-Benz SSKs were ever built, all based on a shortened S chassis, wîth the SSK standing for Super Sport Kurz. Designed by Ferdinand Porsche, it has a supercharged, 6-cylinder, 7-liter engine producing between 200 and 300 hp. In 1929 the SSK was the fastest road car in the world, capable of over 130 mph. This particular SSK, wîth coachwork by Barker of London, was first owned by the Hon. Dorothy Paget, famed for financing Tim Birkin's 'Blower' Bentley team in 1929. While supporting the 4.5-liter Bentleys she herself drove this car. It was later owned by Briggs Cunningham, and then it was bought by Miles Collier in 1987.Source - Historical notes courtesy of The Collier Collection
This unique Mercedes-Benz SSK was delivered unbodied to its first owner, Major John Coates, who added a body built by the Carlton Carriage Company in London. Known as 'the fastest sports car in the world' at the end of the 1920s, the SSK's reputation was gained on the racing circuits of the world in the hands of drivers such as Rudolph Carraciola. After ten different owners, this car was sold in 1941 for 400 British Pounds to English sports car enthusiast and farmer George Milligan and was driven enthusiastically by him for over 60 years. Famous in Vintage Sports Car Club circles, the car has been driven all over the United Kingdom and Europe in various rallies, including the Mercedes Jubilee celebration at Stuttgart.
In 1928 the Mercedes SSK was introduced and commonly referred to as 'The Mighty Mercedes' and 'The Fastest Sports Car in the World'. The name SSK stands for Super Sport Kurz, German meaning short. The naming convention for the SSK typically has numbers associated with them, such as 700 and 710. This represents the engine capacity, 7.0 liter and 7.1 liter respectively. It used a modified version of the Ferdinand Porsche designed S-type chassis that, when compared with the S and SS models, was about 19 inches shorter. The K-Type was mechanically identical to the four-seat 'touring' car, the SS. The vehicle had been lowered and the engine moved back to capitalize on better weight distribution. The vehicle was powered by a variety of engines including the 7.1 liter supercharged engine that produced 225 horsepower, and later 250 horsepower. There was room for a driver and passenger, spare tires, and tools.
The bodywork was mostly handled by the factory but often outfitted by European and American coachbuilders such Murphy.
The final series was the SSKL. By drilling holes in the chassis, the weight of the vehicle was decreased even further, although weakened the frame causing many to break. The engine became more powerful, now producing 300 horsepower. It was successfully campaigned in 1931 but a year later was unable to challenge modern vehicles like the Alfa Romeo 8C 2300.
During its production run, lasting from 1928 through 1932, between 31 and 35 examples were built with around half being factory-designated Rennwagens, or race cars. By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2006
Voting is now open in the Car of the Year category in the International Historic Motoring Awards, in association with EFG International and Octane magazine. To have your say in what should be celebrated...