The Cars That Money Can’t Buy – Mercedes-Benz C111

Wed 9th Jan 2019

Sometimes your wallet won’t stretch to purchasing your dream motor. But don’t worry too much, there are some cars that even the biggest bank balances can’t buy, the dream cars that will forever remain a dream. These are the concept cars that never go into production.

Mercedes-Benz C111
It’s the late 1960s and German sports car manufacturer Mercedes-Benz is looking for a platform to test the latest revolutionary Wankel Rotary Engine technology. The vehicle they created, the C111 would go on to enjoy a decade of research innovation for Mercedes and in the process prove to be a record-breaker on test circuits around the world.

Rotary engine technology was all the rage in the 1960s and many thought that it would be the engine bed of the future. The German brand took their C111 to the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1969, complete with gullwing doors, glass-fibre bodywork and bright orange paintwork, the car was a dream to behold.

The second generation C111 was a good mover as well as a looker, the 350hp Wankel engine could send the orange bombing down the track at a top speed of 300km/h. But the rotary engine failed to convince the top brass at motor producers and as the 1970s got into full swing, and with it the petrol crisis, Mercedes shifted their focus from engine innovation to fuel economy.

With the third generation now fuelled by diesel engine tech, the C111 set about proving that it could drive fast, for longer than any other sports car and on the famous Nardo Ring circuit in Italy went out and broke record after record.

Those records included taking the 230bhp C111 up to 200mph in 1978 and then with a beefy 500bhp V8 variant one year later, legend has it that the C111 reached an impassable 250mph.

Mercedes-Benz produced 16 C111s in total, 13 first and second generation Wankel engine inspired cars were followed by the two diesel engine third generations and finally the V8 which reach the 250mph mark.

The German manufacturer showcased a C112 at Frankfurt in 1991 and actually took 700 deposits for production, but decided to can the project and leave the legend of the C111 to be a track star only.