The first thing to know about Mercedes' SSKs was that only forty were built. Today's replicar models are called Gazelles and, although there is some disagreement over which company built the first Gazelle replicator, Tiffany Motor Cars appears to be the first company to publish them. SSK was an abbreviation for Super Sport Kurz or Super Sport Short.

Today, it is believed that only five of these original Mercedes SSK models survive. As you can imagine, they are at the top of car collectors. These are some of the most revered sports cars in the world and are as close to priceless as you can get.

The Mercedes SSK was designed by Ferdinand Porshe with a supercharged six-cylinder engine, delivering 300 horsepower. This made the Mercedes SSK one of the fastest cars in the world. The SSK models were essentially a shorter and lighter version of the Mercedes S model. In addition to being one of the fastest sports cars in the world, it was also one of the most beautiful in the world. The car was a masterful job at Porshe before he finally started his own auto company.

Daimler-Benz and Ferdinand Porsche During the 1920s

The creation of the Mercedes SSK as shown in the 1929 Mercedes Gazelle replicator, featured in this article, dates back to Daimler's racing efforts in the mid-1920s.

In 1923, Ferdinand Porsche left the Austro-Daimler organization and moved to Stuttgart, where he joined the German company Daimler. Daimler in Germany had entered a supercharged pilot in 1923 Indy 500, which he did not perform. It wasn't so bad that Porsche took on the task of fixing the overcharged car so that Daimler wouldn't have to go through that constraint again.

Strange as it may seem, Germany had about eighty-six separate auto companies in 1924. That was just five years after the end of the First World War.

The only possible result would be consolidation and that involved Daimler. Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft and Benz et Cie signed a “Mutual Interest Agreement”. Two years later, in June 1926, this association became an official merger that formed the new company Daimler-Benz Aktiengesellschaft. The hyphenated Mercedes-Benz brand was created after the merger.

Probably the biggest boost to Porshe's efforts was when the management of Daimler-Benz in 1926 decided to sink the two-cylinder engines in favor of the 6.0-liter engines. In addition, cost was not a consideration. This gave Porsche a lot of creative freedom.

The birth of Mercedes-Benz S models

The Mercedes S, SS, SSK and SSKL models were expensive cars and were limited edition models. Just as today's surviving models are priceless, limited edition models built in the late 1920s were only for the wealthiest individuals.

Porsche was directly responsible for the S, SS and SSK, while SSKL left after Ferdinand Porsche left Daimler.

The new Mercedes-Benz S models with their large supercharged engines became big on the racing circuit from 1928 to 1931. The cars weighed almost 4,000 pounds, which made driving a physical challenge, although they were a huge success in the races.

History records that Porsche's departure from Daimler had to do with his desire to manufacture cars for the worker (family of sedans), while the Daimler board was happy to only manufacture and sell expensive cars. Although the board tried to keep Porshe close and point him in a different direction, his well-known temperament did not make it remotely possible. Ferdinand Porshe left Daimler and joined Steyr in Austria.

1929 Mercedes-Benz SSK Specifications

The Mercedes SSK had a 7-liter in-line supercharged six-cylinder engine. The maximum speed was rated at 120 MPH.

Transmission was a four-speed manual.

Brakes were four-wheel drum.

The suspension included a sold front axle and a torque tube rear axle and front and rear semi-elliptical leaf springs.

The dimensions of the cars include a wheelbase of 116.0 inches, a total length of 167.0 inches, a width of 67.0 inches and a height of 68.0 inches. The curb weight was 3,750 pounds.

As mentioned above, only forty of the Mercedes-Benz SSK models were built and half of them were sold as race cars. Many of these racing models ended up in collisions and some of them were used for parts. This shows how rare these five surviving vehicles are.

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