“Imagine strapping a jet engine on full afterburner to your back and you’ll get the idea. The 722 claws its way up to 100mph with the kind of vicious, neck-straining acceleration that makes a BMW M5 or Porsche 911 feel like a milk float with a flat battery” – Car magazine tries the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition in February 2007
With a design overseen by Gordon Murray, a German-built, 600bhp+ engine and lovingly constructed in the UK by McLaren using carbonfibre and Kevlar, like the immortal F1, the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren was a standard-setting hypercar.
This car, one of 10 ‘Crown Edition’ versions of the potent ‘722’ commissioned specially for Middle Eastern royalty, is a stand-out example and, in its special-order Sienna Pearl, a black-brown metallic of great subtlety, one of the most striking we have seen.
The Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722
As handbuilt production of the McLaren F1 was winding down, in early 1998 at the North American International Auto Show Mercedes revealed the Vision SLR. It was inspired by the 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR Ühlenhaut Coupé – often considered one of the world’s most valuable cars were it ever to be offered for sale – and featured Grand Prix technology courtesy of the German company’s then partners in F1, McLaren.
In late-2003 a production-ready car was presented by McLaren, who now had the Norman Foster-designed McLaren Technology Centre in Woking ready for small-series manufacturing. McLaren’s famous ‘Unit 2’ in Portsmouth made the chassis, and under the long sloping carbonfibre bonnet of the new super-GT sat an AMG-built supercharged V8.
As standard, the 5,439cc dry-sumped motor turned out 616bhp. Mated to an AMG Speedshift R five-speed automatic transmission, the combination was good enough for a 200mph maximum. Car and Driver achieved a zero to 60mph time of 3.4secs and the quarter-mile was run 11.2secs (130mph).
The chassis was so stiff that when a Roadster was launched it needed little extra strengthening.
In 2006, Mercedes-Benz introduced the SLR McLaren 722 Edition. The ‘722’ referred to Stirling Moss/Denis Jenkinson’s victory on the 1955 Mille Miglia in a 300 SLR. Power was up to 641bhp, enabling the revised car to hit 209mph. The 722 Edition had new 19in, black-painted light alloy wheels to allow the fitment of bigger (390mm) front brake discs. A stiffer damper set-up and lowered ride height, together with a new carbonfibre front spoiler and rear diffuser, made the 722 a more focused driver’s car. Altogether, over 300 components were modified for the 722 Edition and it was also some 50kg lighter than the regular SLR.
Out of the 2,000+ Mercedes-Benz SLR McLarens built, regular-production 722 Editions ran to 150 examples.
This Motor Car
As confirmed by a copy of correspondence from McLaren Automotive dated 8 August 2017, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren chassis WDD1993761M001675 is a ‘Crown Edition’ SLR, chassis five of ten. The letter states that the car was finished at the McLaren Technology Centre in Woking on 30 June 2008 and sold direct to Daimler AG, as was the case with all SLRs.
Master technician Walter Choritz – a leading member of the AMG team at Affalterbach who has featured in AMG promotional films – hand-assembled the engine.
The Crown Edition cars were based on the high-performance ‘722’. Ten cars were commissioned by the ruler of one of the Gulf states as gifts for fellow royalty, some of whom owned holdings in the sovereign wealth funds that invested in both the Stuttgart industrial titan and the McLaren Group itself.
These rarest-of-the-rare SLRs featured discrete crown logos and unique colour schemes. Rather than black, the standard 722 Edition alloy wheels were highly polished.
Our client has owned this car from new. In 2009, while on a visit to Woking, he asked McLaren to repaint the exterior in the subtle yet dramatic shade of Sienna Pearl in which it is presented today. This work was completed at Woking in June of that year at a cost of £19,650.00 that included removing and refitting the interior. Since delivery, the car has covered just 2,599km. It is UK registered and comes with all its original accessories.
Kept in immaculate condition and barely run in, for those waiting for just the ‘right’ SLR McLaren, this head-turning 722 Crown Edition is surely it.