It’s not just the futuristic lines, the wing doors and the special beams that act as C-pillars that are fascinating. The figures of the plastic Mercedes C 111 II also capture the imagination. From a 4-disc shaky engine with 2408 cc, it picked up a power of 350 hp. It was only 1.12 meters high and reached a top of 300 km/h, according to Mercedes.
BLANK CHECK FOR MERCEDES C 111-II FATTEST MERCEDES C-CLASS.
The fact that the Mercedes C 111-II has never actually driven faster than 270 km/h should not depress the fun. Certainly not in 1970, because several enthusiasts offered Mercedes-Benz hundreds of thousands of marks to buy the C 111 II. There were even people who sent blank checks to Mercedes’ headquarters. However, the manufacturer was adamant: the C 111 II was not for sale and it never would be, it later emerged.
‘SMALL SPORTY MERCEDES FOR YOUNG PEOPLE’
The history of the Mercedes C 111 II begins as early as 1963. Then mercedes comes up with the plan to build a small, affordable sports car under the then SL (Pagoda). Would the NSU Spider, also equipped with a shaky engine, have been the inspiration?. In any case, it never came from a ‘small sporty car that mainly had to appeal to young people’, as it was described in the Mercedes plans.
In 1969, however, Mercedes showed off the first Mercedes C 111 at the IAA in Frankfurt, a dream car with a 1.8-liter three-disc shaky engine. Power: 280 hp, top speed 260 km/h. With its extreme shapes and wing doors, the study model aroused associations with the 300 SL Flügeltür. FATTEST MERCEDES C-CLASS.
GREATLY IMPROVED STREAMLINE
The original C 111 did all the major car shows in the world and was relieved in 1970 by a further developed version, the C 111 II. Mercedes designers Bruno Sacco and Josef Gallitzendörfer had greatly improved the visibility around and the C 111’s streamline, among other things. Furthermore, the three-disc shaky engine gave way to the aforementioned, four-disc one with 350 hp. Exactly 50 years ago, in March 1970, the result of their efforts was at the Geneva salon.
Mercedes showed that the Mercedes C 111 II was not just for the show with a number of demonstration rides for journalists at the nearby Circuit de Monthoux.
“WHETHER UHLENHAUT COULD IMMEDIATELY BAKE SCHNITZELS IN THE TRUNK AFTER THE BUTTER TEST DOES NOT TELL THE STORY …”
C 111-II: THE CAR THAT CAME OUT OF THE COMPUTER
What also captured the imagination in 1970 was that the Mercedes C 111 II was the first car designed entirely using computers. Remember that a computer was the size of an apartment building at the time, but slower than a Tata Nano.
MERCEDES C 111-II UNDERGOES BUTTER TEST
What was not involved in a computer was testing the luggage compartment above the engine. To check that the temperature here did not rise too high, Rudolf Uhlenhaut, head of the development department, ordered the ‘butter test’. It looked at whether the insulation of the trunk was sufficient to prevent a packet of butter from melting during a sporty ride. The story does not tell whether Uhlenhaut could immediately bake schnitzels in the trunk after the ride, or whether the butter was still suitable for lubricating a Kaiserbrötchen with it …
SHAKY MERCEDES C 111 ENGINE GIVES WAY TO V8 FATTEST MERCEDES C-CLASS.
Due to the damage and shame that NSU had experienced with the Ro 80, Mercedes spooned a traditional piston engine into the C 111 II in 1970. It became a V8 with a capacity of 3.5 liters. Doesn’t sound wrong, were it not for the fact that the power (200 hp) was rather behind that of the shaky version. The converted C 111 II can still be admired at the Mercedes Museum in Stuttgart.
C 111 STRINGS TOGETHER RECORDS
Mercedes eventually built six copies of the C 111 II. The cars mainly served to show off and to test with. Serial production was never an option, but the technical expertise gained was indeed used for street models. In 1976, Mercedes supplied one of the six C 111s with a five-cylinder turbo diesel engine. This 190 hp C 111 II-D set a whole bunch of distance and speed records on the Nardo kombaan.
327 KM/H WITH A DIESEL… FATTEST MERCEDES C-CLASS.
This unleashed an outright record hunger at Mercedes. In 1978, for example, a heavily modified C 111 II-D crashed to a speed of 327 km/h. A year later, Mercedes sent a virtually unrecognible, heavily polished and winged C 111-IV to Nardo. This time equipped with a 500 hp V8. With a top of 404 km/h, the C 111 was able to tick off yet another record.