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Mercedes-Benz C11 Replica Took 18 Months To Build

Key Takeaways

  • Johan Ackermann built a convincing replica of the Mercedes-Benz C11 using traditional metal shaping techniques in his home garage.
  • Ackermann’s street-legal replica features components sourced from the same manufacturer to maintain accuracy, such as a W140 chassis and an M119 engine.
  • With a curb weight close to the original, this 18-month build is a remarkable tribute that is selling for $70,000.

A South African Mercedes-Benz enthusiast has produced a very convincing replica of the Mercedes-Benz C11 Group C racecar, and the handbuilt creation is now for sale at a fraction of the cost a real one would command (somewhere north of $30 million, if one ever came up for sale). Listed for just $70,000, Johan Ackermann’s amazing tribute to one of the most successful racecars in the world was built in a home garage without any access to blueprints or technical specifications, which makes its close resemblance to the real thing all the more remarkable. And just like the Sauber C9 replica he built, this is a street-legal beast.

How Did He Do It?

Perusing Mr. Ackermann’s extensive coverage of his builds on Facebook, it becomes clear that Johan is a true enthusiast who loves design, and not just design from Stuttgart, either. Roughly a year ago, he completed a very special four-door Alfa Romeo Brera hatch using the bones of a 159. As you can imagine, there are no designs for such a car anywhere, but Ackermann is patient. For his C9, this C11, and other crazy replicas based on iconic racers, Ackermann purchases a detailed scale model of the car and then visualizes what those parts would look like scaled up.


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Given the highly competitive nature of motorsport, automakers do not reveal exact specifications or measurements, so a lot of Ackermann’s work is done by eye, using traditional metal shaping techniques like coachbuilders of old. And without the original chassis, either, he has to start with a vehicle whose underpinnings provide enough space and structural integrity for his plans. Naturally, that means a small level of imperfection, but even if he had access to the original drawings, this build would remain an astounding showcase of what patience and determination can achieve.

Not Your Average Replica

We’ve seen several shoddy replicas in our time, with many of them based on totally unrelated cars and exhibiting awkward proportions. What makes Ackermann’s builds different is that the majority of (available) components are at least sourced from the same manufacturer, allowing him to make the final replicas as accurate as possible. In the case of the C11, that means a custom chassis with the front and rear suspension from a W140 Mercedes-Benz S-Class, six-pot brake calipers from a W218 Mercedes-Benz CLS 63 AMG (with 360-millimeter rotors), and an M119 engine. In the real C11, the M119 was a 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8. In production cars, it had a capacity of either 4.2, 5.0, or 6.0 liters. This replica uses the 5.0-liter version just like the original and also gets a pair of turbochargers, albeit in a less highly strung setup.

On low boost for reliability and drivability, the car develops a healthy 406 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. More could surely be extracted, but with a curb weight close to the real C11 at around 2,204 lbs (the five real C11 racers weighed around 200 lbs less), that’s more than enough go to match the show. It’s also impressive when you consider that the real car was fashioned out of carbon fiber (the Sauber C9 that preceded it was aluminum-bodied). With a digital rearview camera, there are some modern considerations to practicality, but even without it, this car would be worth the inconvenience just for the shock value. If you’re interested in this particular build or would like a custom replica of your own, Johan can be contacted via his Facebook page.

#MercedesBenz #C11 #Replica #Months #Build

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