There may be no better way to pay tribute to the end of the modern SLR - as well as its racing forbears - than with the new 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss.
As the presence of Sir Moss' name suggests, the latest iteration of the SLR is a direct tribute to the 300 SLR raced by the likes of Moss and Juan Manuel Fangio in the late 1950s. Certainly, it looks like a road racer - apart from two small screens on the cowl, there is no windshield. Likewise, there are no windows and no top, unless you consider a split tonneau cover to be valid protection from the elements.
But the SLR Stirling Moss is more than just a topless SLR. We're most impressed at just how many design cues from the original 1955 300 SLR made their way into the new car. The double-bubble headlamps are replaced with single ovoid units, which - along with exhausts exiting through fender vents and stylish rollover bars - are fairly faithful to the original racer. So too is the spartan interior, which eschews techno-baubles like an audio system and navigation in favor for aluminum accents and plaid seat inserts.
Though it looks like the racer of yesteryear, Mercedes notes it's not exactly a race-prepped vehicle. That's not to say the Stirling isn't quick - using the same 650-hp supercharged 5.4-liter V-8 found in the SLR McLaren 722 Edition, it moves from 0 to 62 mph in a scant 3.5 seconds.
Wanting one is natural, but acquiring one will be difficult. After production of the SLR Roadster ends in May 2009, the production line in Woking, England, will shift to building the SLR Stirling Moss. Only 75 examples - each carrying a sticker price of approximately $1 million - will be built between June and December, but sales will be reserved for "loyal" SLR customers outside of North America.
To read more about the 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss, go to our 2009 Detroit auto show blogs coverage. All the latest blogs from the Editors of Automobile Magazine can be found HERE. We've got our whole staff wandering the floor at Cobo Hall bringing back live photos and more information about all the new debuts from Detroit.
For complete coverage of the 2009 Detroit auto show, click HERE.