In the hands of drivers like Rudolph Caracciola, the SSK was the dominant race car of its era, and came to symbolize all that was wonderful and scary about racing during the “Roaring Twenties”
Known in period as simply, “the mighty Mercedes,” advertisements for the SSK justifiably screamed, “the fastest sports car in the world.”
George Edward Milligen became this great car’s 11th owner in 1941, and had it registered in his name on June 10. He paid £400 for the privilege of ownership, a considerable sum in those dark and uncertain times, with bombs falling every night as the wartime “Blitz” gathered pace.
The SSK was a product of an enemy industry, one whose technological ascendancy was threatening the very survival of the United Kingdom itself. Yet Milligen had high regard for Mercedes-Benz engineering and manufacturing standards, and he was delighted with the driving challenge and prodigious performance of his SSK. The long, empty straights and fast, open curves of his local Norfolk roads provided the ideal stage upon which he could enjoy the performance of its 7.1-liter engine.
This Model SSK was originally supplied unbodied from Germany. The coachwork it has worn all its life was fitted by the Carlton Carriage Company Ltd., of Willesden, London, a specialist concern which carried out much bespoke work at the time. The car has never been stripped and restored in the currently accepted meaning of that phrase, but Milligan did encounter difficulty with the car in the early 1950s. At that time, the block, pistons and cylinder liners were replaced with those from another car.
The Milligen Mercedes-Benz Model SSK is a celebrity in British motoring circles, the most compellingly preserved, perfect provenance example to have survived anywhere in the world.