The Record-Breaking Mercedes-Benz C111 Prototype
During the 1960s and 1970s, Mercedes-Benz created a series of C111 experimental vehicles to test out new technologies. This included Wankel (rotarty) engines, diesel engines, and turbochargers. These cars also had luxe interiors with leather, air conditioning, and gullwing doors. They may have been built for practical reasons, but they certainly had as much form as function. The first C111 was finished in 1969 featuring a mid-mounted, three-rotor Wankel engine and fiberglass body shell. The next was in 1970 with a four-rotor engine that made 370 horsepower and had a top speed of 180 mph. This was followed by the C111-IID which marked a move to diesel engines that eventually broke speed records. RELATED: See More of the 1976 Mercedes-Benz C111-II D
Engineers used a turbocharger with an 80-horsepower 5-cylinder engine and managed 190 horsepower. They took the car to the Nardo circuit in southern Italy in 1976 where it set some impressive records. It spent an hour on the track with an average speed of 157.69 mph and continued setting speed records in successive tests.
Later iterations of the C111 managed to hit 200 mph in 1978 with a 500 horsepower version achieving an average lap speed of 250.958 mph on May 5, 1979. The success of the C111 led Mercedes to introduce the C112 at the 1991 Frankfurt Motor Show. The V12 car was so well-received that 700 people put down deposits, but unfortunately Mercedes never put the car into production.
RELATED: See the 1991 Mercedes-Benz C112
RELATED: See the 1969 Mercedes Benz C111