The Mille Miglia’s reputation has far outlived the Italian road race itself. In fact, the event ran just twenty-four times between 1927 and 1957, and while run as a regularity event since, it’s the original road race people still hold in reverence.
Mercedes is among those who still wax lyrical about the event’s history – not least because its car won the event in 1955 at the hands of Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson.
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The modern Mercedes-Benz SL 550 Mille Miglia 417 is named after a different vehicle. Driven by American privateer John Fitch and co-driven by Kurt Gessi, a 300 SL numbered 417 started the race at 4:17am, completing it 11 hours, 29 minutes and 21 seconds later in fifth place.
Around 310 horsepower sent Moss to his victory (and Fitch to his fifth place) back in 1955; today, the Mille Miglia-themed SL develops 429bhp from its V8. Mechanically, that’s the same as other SL 550s, though it’s the details that differ.
Presented in ‘designo night black magno matte’ paint – matt black, to you and us – the Mille Miglia edition features red detailing on the front spoiler, a red trim strip on the rear spoiler, red brake calipers and red surrounds to the 19in (front) and 20in (rear) alloy wheels.
Inside, the 417 uses AMG Line seats and red detailing graces the black centre console. ‘SL Mille Miglia’ is embroidered into each headrest, red seatbelts clasp you in place and door panels and armrests are lined with red edging. Trim elements get a matt carbon finish and black floor mats (once again edged with red trim) sport embroidered ‘1000 Miglia’ logos.
So far, Mercedes has confirmed the car only for the U.S. market, where it will debut this autumn.