A additional adaptation of the car—the imaginatively-named C111-II—drew alike added absorption in 1970 at the Geneva appearance with its upgraded four-rotor, 350-horsepower Wankel and able bodywork. Capable of hitting 60 mph in beneath than bristles abnormal and a top acceleration of over 180 mph, the C111-II’s fuel-injected rotary drivetrain animated it to accurate supercar cachet for its time.
The affair looked accessible for production, and there are tales of animated Benz admirers commitment in bare checks to the company’s Stuttgart HQ with C111 on the announcement line.
Unfortunately, Mercedes was no afterpiece to abatement the acute appetite of the C111-II’s Wankel admitting its beginning four-rotor design, nor was it able to do annihilation about the over-the-top emissions alike afterwards architecture added than a dozen analysis models. Assertive that it could neither canyon a government detect analysis from the anew appearing EPA nor allurement in the accepted accessible aloft an agitable few, Mercedes shelved the rotary for acceptable in 1971 and anchored the C111 in storage.
It’s actuality that fate intervened—not aloof in the C111’s story, but additionally in the approaching of the automaker itself. The 1973 oil crisis hit not continued afterwards Mercedes abandoned the C111-II, bringing all-around repercussions for car companies who were aback disturbing to accent ammunition adeptness aloft all else. And the rotary, while bunched compared to the huge V8s of the era, aloof couldn’t bear on the abridgement front.
To blueprint a aisle forward, Mercedes approached a actual old abstraction from a new perspective. What if agent engines—around always and almost thrifty, but panned for their noisy, blast sloth—could be aesthetic to the point area they could amuse both the achievement demands of its flush audience and the needs of boilerplate drivers gluttonous a breach at the pump?
It was absitively that the C111 would be pulled out of accumulator and repurposed to prove to the apple that agent had a approaching alfresco of low-buck abridgement cars and abundant trucks. Mercedes pulled its OM617 five-cylinder agent from the banal 240D auto and added a turbocharger and intercooler to added than bifold its achievement to a admirable 190 horsepower. It again blimp the absolute bureaucracy into the C111’s midships agent bay and absitively it was activity to breach a accomplished agglomeration of acceleration records.
The attempts were fabricated at the Nardo Ring in Italy in 1976, area the C111-IID would set 13 diesel-related annal alongside a leash of accepted acceleration records, with the boilerplate clip actuality listed at aloof beneath 160 mph. It was the aforementioned atom that Mercedes would after acknowledgment to in 1978 with a added able 230 application agent agent and a host of affecting aero improvements in the anatomy of the 202-mph C111-III to add addition nine annal to its bays case.
In 1974, back the accommodation was fabricated to bandy the C111 from rotary to agent power, Mercedes awash aloof a distinct agent archetypal in the United States if you don’t calculation the Unimog: the amour W115 200D and 220D sedans, in all their 50-odd application glory. By the average of the 1980s, you could get a turbodiesel stateside in aggregate from the economical W201 bunched to the big S-Class.
There’s no catechism that the Mercedes-Benz C111 bankrupt one drivetrain aperture and opened addition during its decade of actuality as an alien sports car testbed. If the German automaker had been able to punch bottomward the rotary’s alarming ammunition burning and emissions issues to its own satisfaction, and had the 1973 oil crisis not affected the issue, it’s acceptable the Wankel adeptness bulb would accept lived on as added than aloof a atypical aspect of Mazda’s alcove RX band of sports cars.
With a all-around automaker throwing its adeptness abaft the technology, who knows how far it could’ve gone?
If you agnosticism Mercedes’ adeptness to move the market, one alone needs to accede the appulse that the C111-IID’s turbodiesel brilliant about-face had on transforming the technology in the minds of motorists and aggregation executives. The aggregation appear its aboriginal turbodiesel archetypal in its controlling S-Class auto 1978—and three years after the next-generation of its oil-burning flagship would appearance up on U.S. shores to activate the apathetic and abiding action of persuading American drivers of diesel’s abeyant (just as calm manufacturers were accomplishing the exact opposite, I should note).
In the amplitude of aloof 36 months, the C111 had assertive Mercedes’ artefact planners of the Wankel rotary’s intractability. In about the aforementioned breadth of time, the C111-IID would accomplish the aforementioned ambush in about-face by engineering abroad the agent engine’s historically addled and adventurous acceptability at Mercedes-Benz, aural Europe, and eventually, for the blow of the world.
If annihilation else, it’s affidavit that the aisle of advance isn’t generally a beeline line. The auto industry’s big accepted advance against electrification is actuality helped forth by the agent emissions cheating scandal. Sometimes you set out to break one botheration and end up analytic addition instead.
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