Please someone buy this Mercedes AMG CLK GTR
Merc's 1998 mid-engined GT1 challenger is up for auction
There are some exceptionally special cars up for auction at next month’s Pebble Beach Concours. Cars like the Ford GT40 that finished third at Le Mans in 1966 (as part of Ford’s historic 1-2-3-finish), and a Ferrari 250 GTO that might just become the most expensive car ever sold at auction. And naturally there’s some more modern stuff. This Mercedes AMG CLK GTR, for example. Which is nothing short of tremendous.
The CLK GTR was designed to compete in the FIA GT Championship alongside the Porsche 911 GT1 and McLaren F1 GTR. But to be eligible for the then-new series, manufacturers had to build and sell 25 road-going examples of their race cars. This CLK GTR is number nine of those 25 – 20 Coupes, and five Roadsters. Originally sold in Germany, then exported to Hong Kong in 2005, nowadays it lives in the USA. Despite its three owners, it’s covered less than 1,500km from new and is immaculate in every way.
These things are a bit like the Ford GT, insofar as the race car existed first. Not like the McLaren F1, which was a road-car first. Road-going versions of the CLK had ABS, air conditioning and two small storage compartments, but were otherwise largely identical to the cars Mercedes entered into the GT1 series. That meant a 6.9-litre, N/A V12 mounted mid-ship, a six-speed sequential, paddle-shift transmission and more spoilers, skirts and wings than your average commercial aircraft. Conversely, they shared little more than a set of head- and taillights with the normal Mercedes CLK.
Developed in record time ahead of the season opener at Hockenheim (it took just 128 days between pen being put to paper, and the first physical car commencing testing), the CLK GTR dominated its first season. Mercedes won the Constructors’ Championship, and its driver Bernd Schneider the Drivers’ title.
The auction is on August 25th in Monterey – just up the road from Pebble.