Some of us may remember the Mercedes-Benz C111 from back in the glory days. For those of you who haven’t the slightest clue, the C111 is one of the most famous concepts ever produced from Mercedes. It showcased components such as the turbocharged inline-5 diesel engine that established Mercedes as king of the indestructible engines (which also debuted in the 1970s W116 S-Class, making it the first ever turbocharged production diesel sedan ever and the first with a 5-cylinder of any kind), original suspension designs that were continually used for decades by Mercedes (giving them their signature handling, ride comfort, stability) and much more. The C111 also broke numerous land speed records. But I could write for hours expressing the importance of the C111 to Mercedes-Benz. And despite being constructed individually by Mercedes for nearly a decade, it never made it to production and ended up staying framed up in photos on car enthusiasts’ walls. So if you ever thought about owning a C111, you might actually have the chance to do so now.
GWA Tuning of San Antonio, Texas, has introduced and created a one-off prototype based off of the C111 called the Ciento Once (which is Spanish for 111, if you didn’t know). Featuring the first ever V12 built by Mercedes, the M120 V12—also made famous for its use in the Pagani Zonda tuned to 7.3L versus the original 6.0L (think 1990s 600 models)—the Ciento Once produces 408hp and is mated to a 6-speed Cima H transaxle. The handmade aluminum body is constructed of a tubular-space frame chassis and although is slightly shorter than the original 103 inch wheelbase, weighs virtually the same. Brakes are lifted directly from the S55 AMG for face-ripping stopping power. The suspension is a fully-adjustable coilover system with massive GWA Type A wheels, rated at 19×9 in 265/35/19 and 295/30/20 shoes. The Ciento Once also features a fully-adjustable electronic rear spoiler, rear diffuser and front splitter with a large intake.
So although it is not the original C111 at heart, it still will potentially allow anyone who ever wanted a C111 to virtually own a C111. GWA is unsure as to produce the Ciento Once or not. But if tuning companies have been successful in selling similar products such as carbon-copied Lancia Stratos’s (Strataii?), GWA should be able to find a niche where the Ciento Once could be successful.
– By Chris Chin