Mercedes-Benz C111 (Dinky Toys 224)

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Mercedes-Benz C111 (Dinky Toys 224)

BTMM map 021.gif
Arch Two , Area 21
Classic Dinky Toys (John Durrant Collection)
Shelf 2
1970 - 1973

A dark red Mercedes Sports Car (Dinky Toys 224) with beige interior and gull-wing doors, produced from 1970-1973. With number plate.

About the C111

The Mercedes-Benz C111 was a concept car that went through various evolutions from its introduction in 1969 at the Frankfurt International Motor Show into the 70s. One of its main innovations was to use glass-fiber-reinforced plastics for the bodywork to improve its aerodynamics, designed well enough to give the vehicle an air drag coefficient of .191. For a scientifically inaccurate but illustrative comparison, a bullet’s air drag coefficient would be around .295, and a human's would be between 1 - 1.3. The design led to its multiple diesel and gas record speeds, culminating in a lap circuit record of over 250 mph.

Firstly the car was used as a means to test Wankel engines before producing a road series using the engine, starting with a three-rotor model, before upgrading to four rotors for the C111-II in 1970. However, the inefficient engines combined with the high pollutant exhaust it emitted were deemed unacceptable, even by sports car standards, and dropped the engines before producing a C111 powered by a diesel engine in 1976.

The switch to diesel was possibly motivated by the 1973 Oil Crisis, the international oil embargo triggered by American support of Israel after it was attacked by Egypt and Syria. Several major oil supplying countries refused to sell to the U.S, significantly raised the price of their oil by as much as 70%, and throttled overall output to other countries.

As far as this event’s influence on automobiles goes, the soaring prices caused manufacturers to see the need for more efficient cars, and a diesel sports car was a good way to overturn opinions against high-performing diesel engines. Hitting an average speed of 156 mph, and breaking thirteen records on its first 60 hour outing, a second diesel powered C111 broke another nine world records the following year too.

The last version purely went for breaking speed records, and switched to a turbocharged V8 gasoline engine with radically redesigned bodywork. This car managed to reach a track record speed of 251 mph.

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