Before leaving Mercedes Benz to set up his own design studio Ferdinand Porsche oversaw the development of a Super Sports Short (Kurz) SSK version of the Mercedes-Benz S Tourer and SS Super Sport models specifically for competition purposes.
The SSK was 19 inches shorter than the S and SS models and fitted with the same 7068 cc / 431 cui super charged 6 cylinder overhead valve engine that produced up to 200hp, depending on the degree of tuning required, as found in the longer SS Super Sport.
Only 35 SSK’s were built between 1928 and 1932 and they experienced a good degree of success between Rudolf Caracciola’s Irish GP Eireann Cup win aboard Capt Malcolm Campbell’s example in 1930 and Jose Fantó’s Argentinian 500 mile Rafaela race win in October 1950, nineteen fifty.
Most significant of the SSK victories would have been on the 1931 Mille Miglia where Rudolf Caracciola and Wilhelm Sebastian won driving an SSKL (Leicht) and the 1931 Spa 24 Hour Race victory for Goffredo Zehender and Dimitri Djordjadze, Rudolf Carraciola’s third place finish in the 1929 Monaco Grand Prix, where more nimble Bugatti’s locked out all six of the remaining top seven places was equally remarkable.
It was left to exiled Russian Imperial Guard Boris Ivanowski to enter an SSK for the Le Mans 24 Hours, he shared his car with Frenchman Henri Stoffel and finished second to a much smaller capacity super charged Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 LM driven by Bentley exiles Earl Howe and Sir Henry Birkin in 1931.
The following year Henri Stoffel entered an SSK for Marcel and Paul Foucret in the Le Mans 24 Hours, but it retired after just 22 laps with piston failure.
An SSK driven by Italian Goffredo Zehender and Russian Dimitri Djordjadze did however win the 24 Hour race at Spa in July 1931.
The exact history of the 1928 SSK driven by Karl Wendlinger and owned by Mercedes Benz Classic as seen in these photographs taken last year at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, is not known at this time, if you can fill in any of the gaps don’t hesitate to chime in below.
Thanks for joining me on this “Letzte Porsche Daimler” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres, I hope you’ll join me again for an ear splitting Mazda Monday. Don’t forget to come back now !