This model represents a significant piece of automotive modeling history, built by one of the best of the 'old guard' of model makers. It defines the term "old world craftsmanship," and is certainly exceedingly rare.
It is an early Michele Conti piece, and is a true one-of-a-kind model. During his career, Conti built only two SSKL models.....both are very different - essentially each being unique and one-of-a-kind. The SSKL is also not at all the type of car he is known for building. It is not only unique, but very desirable. It was a privately commissioned piece, and we bought it from the son of the man who commissioned it directly from Conti.
This model was built sometime between 1960 - 1963. It could possibly even be late 1950s. We have also located an article from an old Italian magazine dated 1963 that has a great photo of Conti at his workbench with a couple of other models in progress, and this exact SSKL model is shown complete and sitting on the forefront of his workbench! The man who commissioned Conti to build it, owned a number of collector cars including a slightly different Mercedes SSK.
The model is in excellent overall condition, especially for its age. The paint on the hand formed all metal body shows a little of its age as is expected with a piece over 50 years old, but this model truly wears its patina very well. Windshield panes have yellowed with age, but can be replaced with new clear panes if requested. We tend to lean more towards conservation with any significant piece such as this.
This SSKL is more detailed than any Conti model of any type of car we have ever seen! Hand spoked wire wheels, highly detailed cockpit with leather trimmed seat and convertible boot cover, undercarriage/chassis detail, working suspension (though we wouldn't play with it much) posable front wheels, engine detail with double hinged hood both sides. We have also spoken with two other very knowledgeable 'authorities' on Conti models. The existence of this model and its detail level came as a shock to both of these fellows.
This original Conti model is a fantastic piece of modeling and automotive history.
Price: $ Please inquire. SOLD
About Michele Conti, Italy:
In the early 1950's Conti gained his full scale training as an apprentice at the well known body manufacturer, Stabilimenti Farina, which employed craftsmen who created shapes principally by hand. His father was also employed there as a specialist in assembling doors, hoods, and trunks of cars. When Stabilimenti Farina closed their doors in 1953, Michele along with his father was immediately hired by Pininfarina. It was at this juncture, during his free time and evenings, that he started what would eventually become his future full time career of building custom, scale automobile models.
Because of his reputation, craftsmanship, and dedication to realism, many of the auto manufacturers entrusted Michele with actual factory drawings from which to build his creations.
His early models were made from wood, which then evolved into aluminum, and then copper and brass. Ultimately, he used similar materials to those used in the construction of the full scale cars, in order to recreate the realism of the original cars. The bodywork was shaped over a scale wooden body buck, the interiors were reproduced in upholstery materials, including leather, and the tires were cast from rubber from miniature molds he made of the originals.
Over the years, countless articles on Michele Conti and his miniatures have appeared in automobile magazines around the world. He passed away in 1996.
On May 18, 2003, Michele Conti's achievements were formally recognized at the 2003 Reading Ferrari Concours d'Elegance. His son, the late Maurizio Conti was in attendance to posthumously accept the 'Enzo Ferrari Hall Of Fame Award' for his late father.