The spirited lines of the body, with its elongated bonnet, were complemented by the striking proportions of the side-mounted exhaust pipes, the air vents and the wire-spoke wheels. The cockpit, with its curved wraparound windscreen, was elegantly sculptured. Rudolf Uhlenhaut referred to his latest automotive work of art as a ‘hot-heeled touring car’, and the 300 SLR Coupe lived up to its billing. Weighing only 1117 kilograms yet developing 310 horsepower, the Uhlenhaut Coupe accelerated to a maximum speed approaching 290 km/h in testing (the manufacturer’s data showed a top speed of 284 km/h). This made the two-seater the fastest car of its time to be registered for use on public roads, as well as ‘one of the most exciting cars that Mercedes-Benz has ever built,’ as motorsport guru Karl Ludvigsen later observed.
However, the lightning-fast SLR Coupe never made it into series production. The Stuttgart-based car maker felt that the mid-1950s was not the right time to bring out a powerful sports tourer of this kind, leaving the road version of the SLR to fall into oblivion. As Mercedes pulled out of motorsport in 1955, the SLR Coupe project was put on ice. Only two prototypes of this masterpiece of power and elegance were ever built and yet this wonderful car had still become a legend in its own right.