Friday, December 25, 2009

Mercedes C111 Wankel - 300 km/h in 1970

The car was a sensation, maybe that's not even the full story. 300 km/h was a lot, most people drove a Volkswagen Beetle at that time, with 30 HP from a four cylinder boxer engine, not 350 HP from a Wankel engine. The Mercedes C111 was the first German supercar after the 300 SL Gullwing. And it was quite revolutionary. Wankel engine, 1'240 kg, 0-100 km/h in 4.8 seconds - that was lighter and quicker than the Lamborghini Miura, the car that was to be beaten at that time. It probably was also the first fiberglass car built by Mercedes. And the first mid engine car as well. It was a race car for the road. 50 cars Mercedes wanted to build, some even said 500. The price would have been around DM 60'000, 10-15 of what a Beetle or Kadett was. The energy crisis changed these plans.
The car was never produced and it's only the prototypes that are left. Too bad, the car must have been damned good. At least when you believe what the journalists at "hobby" wrote in No 7 1970. They drove C111/70. If you compare this engineering highlight with the McLaren SLR or even the new AMG Mercedes SLS then you really wonder where all this creativity and innovation spirit has gone.

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