In 1928 another Mercedes-Benz sports car made its debut at the Nurburgring, an improved version of the S. It had a 7068 cc straight six engine and carried an ‘SS’ tag, for ‘Super Sport’. Ten days later there was  second premiere at the Gabelbach Race with the introduction of the SSK (Super Sport Kurz).  Whereas the SS wheelbase was 3400 mm, the SSK’s was shortened to 2950 mm. The SSK was not the last of the successful S-series. In 1930 The S-types were becoming out-dated, the new Bugatti type 51 and Alfa Romeo 2.3 litre were becoming strong contenders. In 1931, the worst year of the Great Depression, the 720 SSKL ( Super Sport Kurz Leicht ) was introduced.

     How was the SSKL developed? The SSK chassis lost 200kg in weight after being bored through several times. This was typical of Daimler-Benz, and had already been applied to the Benz Tropfenwagen. Porshe’  successor, Hans Nibel, was happy to continue the Benz traditions. The engines swept volume remained unchanged, but the compression ratio was increased to 7:1. The power output of 300 hp was quite remarkable.

     The legendary driving talents of Rudi Caracciola cannot be ignored. Having to buy and run the car himself  when Works support ended following  the Wall Street crash, he became the first non Italian to win the Mille Miglia. The SSKL/Caracciola team went on to win every race they entered in 1931.

     The 1931 Geman Grand Prix was held over the 14 ¼ miles of the Nurburgring circuit in the Eifel Mountains, the total race distance being 310 miles. The crowd of over one hundred thousand spectators watched the cars race over one of the most difficult circuits in the world, and they saw many retirements and two crashes as well.

     Caracciola qualified 4th, starting from the inside of row two on the grid. He came through to win the 22 lap race in a time of 4:38:10, recording an average speed of 67.29. Second was Louis Chiron, 1 min 18 sec behind, in a Bugatti, recording an average speed of 66.92 m.p.h. Achille Varzi (who also set fastest lap of 11m48s) was third at the wheel of another Bugatti his average speed being 66.24 m.p.h.

     Of interest to the British racing fans that day was a First place in the 1500 cc class taken by Dudley Froy in a British Riley car, his speed being 58.03 m.p.h. A great boost considering the Brits in the GP ( ‘Tim’ Birkin and Earl Howe) finished in the last two places, and Grover-Williams car expired on lap2.

                                                                                                1/32nd scale conv'.

                                                                           Built by Ian.

     Inspired by a photo the car was converted from the 1931Mille Miglia winning car. Mostly a case of taking off the road going parts, like lights and mudguards, and cutting down the windscreen to make a grand prix car. The spare wheels were also omitted.

    Painted with Halfords car paints and Humbrol enamels. Dry brushing with Citadel acrylics has also helped bring the car to life.