The Mercedes Benz C 111
August 20, 2007
The revolutionary enigmatic Mercedes Benz C111 was a concept car embodying complex technologies, elegance, power, speed and loads of futuristic appeal to consumers.
The body consisted of glass fibre re-inforced plastic, and further prototypes were built which never went into production or saw the showroom floor.
The real purpose of the C 111 was as a test bed for new engineering and technologies aimed at enhancing the vehicle’s driving dynamics and safety.
When it made it’s debut at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in 1963, consumers were instantly enamoured with it’s engineering and innovative design elegance and mystique.
The colour, a blinding atomic orange, also attracted a fair amount of intrigue. Although 50 years later it is part of a bygone era, it still looks spectacular from a design point of view.
Speculation abounded as to the origin of the car when it was launched, and whether it derived from the 300 SL Gullwing due to it’s classic gullwing doors which opened vertically, hinged at the roof.
The C111 was only ever intended to be a laboratory experiment but proved to set the standards for the design of modern sports cars, and for showcasing Mercedes prowess in setting world record breaking speeds.
There is definitely something about the design of the ‘research car’ reminiscent of the Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren.
The C111 was powered by an unconventional ‘ Wankel’ engine, based on a rotary engine piston, giving the car incredible acceleration capacity. But the Wankel engine was plagued with problems, one being high pollutant emission problems and high fuel consumption exacerbated by the 1973 world oil crisis. It’s successors were powered by diesel engines.