9. MERCEDES SS/SSK
BEST RESULT: 2nd (1931) The rival ‘Blower Bentley’ is better known, but the 7.1-litre supercharged Mercedes is more worthy of this list.
Firstly, the solo 1930 entry driven by Rudolf Caracciola and Christian Werner put up a heroic fight against two teams (supercharged 4.5-litre cars and unsupercharged 6.6-litres) of Bentleys before expiring with a flat battery, leaving the British firm to secure a one-two with its unblown Speed Sixes.
“Such is the reputation of the famous German marque for speed and stamina that elaborate team tactics were adopted by the two Bentley groups,” said Motor’s 1930 race report. “They took it in turns in luring the German on to unwise speeds.”
Secondly, unlike the famous Bentley, the shortened SSK returned to finish second the following year, albeit defeated by the smaller (but legendary) Alfa Romeo 8C 2300.
in ’31... Runner-up spot came ...after heroic fight against Bentley in 1930 event