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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

The C101 prototype was a missing part of the Mercedes' new era

Unique ONES Indeed, there is not much information regarding this Mercedes-Benz made concept vehicle, although in fact this was the first contact those German automotive manufacturer had with the rotary piston engine, aka the Wankel engine, shortly after the less known SLX project was discontinued in 1966.
From the late 1960s through the 70s, Mercedes-Benz engineers worked on an experimental Wankel engine technology program, and this was possibly the first car to be used as the C101 test mule of 1968. (Picture from: mb143.ru)
The story begins in 1961, when discussions about the new engine concept of the rotary piston engine came more and more to the fore at Mercedes-Benz top brass circles. At the time, numerous intense discussions about the new engine concept based on the idea of Felix Wankel, brought up the pros and cons, when it came to the possibility of realizing it in those days.

In short, Mercedes-Benz decided to conclude a license agreement with Felix Wankel that allowed the use of his engine. At the same time, the company should be researched to develop the rotating combustion engine, and the first thoughts came to fruition internally as to which cars would be equipped with the Wankel engine in the future.
The C101 Wankel-engined test mule did its first test drive at the Hockenheimring on July,15 in 1969. (Picture from: mb143.ru)
Although the Mercedes-Benz technicians mastered a number of technical hurdles and developed forcefully, they did not succeed in handling the major difficulties such as ostensibly the high fuel consumption and the poor exhaust gas values. 

As quoted from Nasshan, the company was made a decision that the new engine should be tested for the first time in a small sports car in the end 1968. The project internally name was the abbreviation C101. The car was powered be a three-disc engine with a displacement of 600 cc each and a total output of 280 hp. 
The C101 Wankel-engined test mule which physically like it was a weird sports car with flat bed at rear. (Picture from: mb143.ru)
And the Mercedes-Benz crew did the first test drive at the Hockenheimring on July,15 in 1969. Actually, the car's shape that was the first to undergo a test drive related to the C101 project has never been seen officially until today. Even in various official documents from the manufacturer bearing the three-pointed star logo was never shown off its shape.
The 1968 C101 successor known as the Mercedes-Benz C111 research car series, ie 1969 Mercedes Benz C111-I (left), 1970 Mercedes Benz C111-II (middle), and 1969 Mercedes Benz C111-I first prototype (right) posed together. (Picture from: Pinterest)
Thankfully we currently live in modern times full with sophisticated gadgets so we can immediately find out. As seen in a few documentation photos scattered in internet today, the car that was originally used as a test mule to carry the Wankel engine is somewhat unique and seems sober, which physically like it was a weird sports car with flat bed at rear.
Presumably test drive was the first step to public for the until then secret development. This then invites curiosity of a professional photographer from Leica-Studio Wörner to came to the race track on this particular day, then took several phenomenal photos of this such weird looking Mercedes-Benz prototype.

Then related to its current mysterious whereabouts, it looks like the original car was either scrapped or further developed its design for later project of C111. At least that's the only logical reason to explain about its whereabouts. What do you think? *** [EKA | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | MB143.RU | AUTOWP.RU | NASSHAN ]
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