Mercedes C-111-III


We could write a weighty tome on the Mercedes C-111’s test-bed chops.

This has to be one of THE most influential cars of the late 20th century. The achievements of the last two iterations (pictured here), are gobsmacking.

Originally the 1977 Mercedes C111-III was powered by a 230 horsepower straight-5 turbodiesel. Combining that with all those elongations and cowerings – it gave an amazingly low drag coefficient of .191.

slippery; .191 drag coefficient...
slippery; .191 drag coefficient…

At the Nardò in 1978, this frugal projectile hit 200 mph and averaged an astonishing 14.7mpg at an average of 195.4 mph over a 12 hour session.

The later V8 500 hp version with a stabilizing tail fin (see cutaway) set another record with an average lap-speed of almost 251 MPH.

Now that is some serious diesel performance – and one that set the standard for the aspirations of an entire industry.

Bravo Benz.