Earlier this year Geoffrey Horton kindly forwarded some of today’s photos taken by Otto A Rentsch a tool and die maker at Adam Stamping in Union, New Jersey.
Adam Stamping was owned by Geoffrey’s uncle George Tilp who was selected by Mercedes Benz to run a highly successful team of works built and supported 300 SL’s driven by Paul O’Shea and Phil Hill from 1955 to 1957.
In 1958 Mercedes Benz shipped a 1955 World Sports Car Championship winning type 300 SLR complete with the “Blue Wonder Rennwagen Schnelltransporter” to Georges facility in New Jersey prior to the vehicles being loaned to the Ford Museum in Michigan, Otto A’s son Otto R is seen above at the wheel of the car with it’s distinctive sign writing down the side.
It turns out that the 300 SLR sent to the USA for the loan to the Ford Museum was none other than the original 300 SLR chassis no.1.
No.1 was used for extensive pre 1955 season testing and later for practice on the Mille Miglia, where of course there was no qualifying, but according to Mercedes this car was never raced.
Along the side of the car the five one – two victories scored by no.1’s siblings are recorded; the Stirling Moss / Denis Jenkinson partnership beat the solo Jaun Manuel Fangio on the Mille Miglia, Fangio then beat Moss at the Eifelrennen where Karl Kling finished fourth in a third 300 SLR behind a Ferrari 750 Monza driven by Marsten Gregory, Fangio also finished ahead of Moss in the Swedish Grand Prix.
Moss partnered by John Fitch beat Fangio and Kling at the Tourist Trophy where Kling was joined by Wolfgang von Trips and André Simon in the third placed 300 SLR, before Moss teamed up with Peter Collins to beat Fangio and Kling again on the Targa Florio where Fitch and Desmond Titterington finished fourth behind the Ferrari 857 S driven by Eugenio Castellotti and Robert Manzon.
The one omission from these results being of course the 1955 Le Mans race where the 300 SLR driven by Fangio and Moss was leading the Jaguars by two clear laps when it was withdrawn on the orders of the board of the Mercedes board of directors after parts of the sister car driven by Levegh ploughed into the spectator enclosures killing 82 spectators and injuring 100 more following an accident involving a slower car.
My thanks to Geoffrey Horton for initially forwarding Douglas Rentsch’s photographs and to Otto R Rentsch’s son Douglas for kindly giving me permission to use them, the remaining photo’s of no.1 were taken at Goodwood Festival of Speed.
Thanks for joining me on this “Development & Publicity” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at a Renault. Don’t forget to come back now !