To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the production sports car win by a Mercedes-Benz 300SL in Italy's grueling 1955 Mille Miglia (1,000 mile) road race, the German automaker debuts in Geneva  a limited edition model called the "Mille Miglia 417" that will go on sale in the U.S. later this fall. The original 300SL that won its class in 1955 was piloted by American John Fitch and left the starting gate at 4:17 a.m. in the morning with co-driver Kurt Gessl aboard. Fitch SL's fifth overall finish and class victory has been overshadowed by the record run by Sterling Moss and Denis Jenkinson, which completed the 1,000 road race from Brescia to Rome and back in 10 hours. That duo's overall win came in a competition-only Mercedes-Benz SLR.

The anniversary model is based on the 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL550 coupe equipped with a 429-horsepower twin-turbo 4.7-liter V8 engine mated to a 7-speed transmission. Primarily an appearance package, the Special Edition "Mille Miglia 417" is painted black like Fitch's 300SL Gullwing, but it's a matte finish with contrasting red on the front and rear spoilers, brake calipers and rims on the sport alloy wheels, which measure 19-inches in the front and 20-inches in the rear.

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Cabin highlights

Interior upgrades include AMG Line sport seats, black center console with contrasting red inlays and edging as well as headrests embossed and embroidered with "SL Mille Miglia." Red is also used to outline the door panels and arm rests, while red seatbelts contrast with the black leather seating. The sport steering wheel is wrapped in red and black Nappa leather. Other trim bits are finished in matte carbon, while the black floor mats are edged in red and embroidered with a "1000 Miglia" logo.

The SL Special Edition "Mille Miglia 417" will be available as an SL550 in the U.S.  in the fall of 2015, and pricing will be announced closer to the market launch. Current starting price on the standard 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL550 is about $107,000.

Check out our Small Luxury Sedan Buyer's Guide to see what's new and what's next.


 

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