Incredible Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR heading for auction

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Words: Matthew Hansen
22 Jul 2021

These days it seems like a new hypercar is revealed every day, particularly as we approach full electrification. But it was a different story in the 1990s. Back then, any whiff of a new hypercar was something special.

The McLaren F1 is probably the decade’s most revered hypercar, but it’s also worth remembering the cars that did battle with the F1 at events like Le Mans. Most notably the Porsche 911 GT1 and the Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR.

A spotless example of the latter is set to go up for auction with Gooding & Company, as part of the auction house’s Pebble Beach festivities. It’s early days, but Gooding estimates the car will sell for US$8.5-$10million (or $12.2-$14.3million).

Built to homologate its race-car equivalent, just 25 CLK GTRs were produced for the road; 20 coupes and five roadsters. This particular car is GTR number nine, sold to a buyer in Hong Kong in 1997.

Under the rear clamshell is a 6.9-litre naturally aspirated V12 (later fitted to the Pagani Zonda) producing 450kW of power and 775Nm of torque. This meant the GTR was capable of hitting 100km/h in just 3.8 seconds. If you held the pedal flat for longer, you could reach speeds up to 344km/h.

Lola Composites developed the chassis. The GTR’s connections to its CLK brethren are limited to the shape of its lights and not a lot else. It’s fascinating peering into the cabin, which looks as ordinary and plain as the exterior looks extraordinary and jaw-dropping. This was a pure race car, function well and truly overtaking form.

“In 2017, the Mercedes-Benz was purchased by Cheval Trust, based in Seattle, and imported to the US utilizing the NHTSA Show or Display exemption,” notes Gooding. “The consignor bought this CLK GTR in 2018, and at the time of cataloguing, the odometer displayed just 1,442 km."

“Accompanying the Mercedes-Benz at auction are a plethora of important and fascinating items originally delivered with the car, " they add.

"In addition to its manuals and the original carbon front undertray, which was at some point replaced, the car is offered with its hard shipping case containing its numbered battery charger, a torque wrench and socket for the wheels, and wooden blocks to rest the car on while using its onboard hydraulic jacks.”

The Pebble Beach auctions will be held on August 13-14. Those interested better have deep pockets.

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