1998 – 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR AMG Road Versions

McLaren’s entrance into the FIA GT1 class required that its already outstanding McLaren F1 road car be outfitted in racing trim. By contrast, the AMG solution to homologation was quite the opposite. Instead of building a race car from an existing sports car, AMG set about creating an all new GT1 contender whose homologated variants were essentially nothing more than road going race cars.

As per FIA regulations, Mercedes ensured construction of 25 of these legendary machines, typically painted the historical German racing color: silver.  An initial road car was built in 1997 in order to meet initial FIA requirements, but this car was retained by Mercedes. For the other 25 road cars, each was built by AMG at the Affalterbach factory between winter of 1998 and summer of 1999 and differed only slightly from the race car. Up front, next to the inboard suspension and radiator system, rested an air conditioning unit, while an Antilock Braking System was added for additional safety. The obvious lack of trunk space was slightly alleviated with two small storage compartments under each upward swinging door, while interior comfort was improved with leather appointments. Although no major aerodynamic changes were made, the car’s rear wing was sculpted to fit the body more smoothly, and the front air dam was also redesigned.

Unlike the McLaren F1, the CLK GTR behaved like a bona fide race car on the street. Gear changes were lightning-quick, thanks to a paddle-operated six-speed sequential manual gearbox lifted directly from the GT1 cars. The mid-mounted 6.9-liter V-12 rested directly behind the driver, producing an utterly raw and menacing exhaust note. With the exception of four round headlamps and distinctive taillights, the CLK GTR shared little with its concurrently introduced passenger car, the Mercedes-Benz CLK.

Even though the FIA GT1 class was cancelled for 1999, Mercedes was obliged to deliver the required 25 road cars they had promised. All of the 25 CLK GTRs ever built were left hand drive except for one which was specially built for Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei. Driver comfort and refinements were at a minimum in the construction of the road cars as Mercedes-Benz wished to not only offer customers a true race car, but also to attempt to keep the price low. Leather was used in the interior and an air conditioning system was offered. Two small storage lockers were also built underneath each upward swinging door. Traction control was also added for driver safety.

The car retained much of the design of the original CLK GTR instead of the CLK LM, including the V12 and many stylistic elements. One key difference was the rear wing, which used a hoop-style integrated wing in place of the separate racing wing. From the otherwise unrelated standard production Mercedes-Benz CLK, only the instrumentation, front grille and the four headlamps were used.

mercedes CLK GTR Roadster 25494040292_1d3d5a4e30_b
Ilmor Engineering provided enhancements to the engine, increasing displacement from 6.0L to 6.9L. This increase in displacement coupled with the removal of a racing air restrictor allowed for 612 PS (450 kW; 604 hp) and torque to 775 N·m (572 lb·ft). Mercedes-AMG claimed 0-100 km/h (62 mph) in 3.8 seconds and a top speed of 320 km/h (199 mph).

7741572cc8Mercedes CLK GTR Roadster interior


After the completion of the 20 original CLK GTRs, AMG’s specialist group H.W.A., who had assisted in the construction of the CLK GTRs, began construction of a roadster version of the CLK GTR. Built either by modifying an existing CLK GTR or by building a new car from spare chassis and parts, these cars were modified with the removal of their roofs as well as a reconstruction of their engine covers. Also the rear wing was replaced by a separate black wing, close to the one on the race CLK-GTR. Further the Roadster can be recognized by its different grille, which had a large star in it instead of a small version above it. Two rollbars integrating the cockpit headrests were used not only for structural integrity, but also rollover protection. A total of six CLK GTR Roadsters were built by the company.

Mercedes-Benz-CLK-GTR-Coupe_1Mercedes CLK GTR Roadster
H.W.A. also constructed a second variant, known as the CLK GTR Super Sport. These cars were similar to CLK GTRs, yet were powered instead by the newer Mercedes-AMG 7.3L V12 which had been in use in the Pagani Zonda and Mercedes-Benz SL73 AMG. This engine delivered 720 hp (488 kW;) and 786 N·m (580 lb·ft). The car also gained an additional front splitter for better stability at high speeds. Only 2 were built with the 7.3L engine: chassis #03, chassis #17.

The Guinness Book of World Records recorded the CLK GTR as the most expensive production car ever built at the time, with a price of $1,547,620(USD).

From 1998 until 1999 Mercedes-Benz built 35 cars:

  • 2 prototypes
  • 7 racing variant coupes
  • 6 road variant roadsters
  • 20 road variant coupes

Mercedes-Benz-CLK-GTR-Coupe_12Mercedes CLK-GTR 14a
From 1999 until now we saw some of them for sale on the Internet.


The famous CLK GTR RoadSter, chassis numer 03, with a 7.3 engine. The owner filled a suit against Mercedes-Benz because of the poor condition of this car.



The other CLK GTR with an 7.3 engine:


Another one is here. I can’t see the number because is covered with something.


Another one here:


Another one here:


One in Paris:


One in Tokyo. A shine blue on this one.


One in Netherland:


One is Zurich:


And, of course, one in Dubai.


There have been a lot more ads on the internet and I’m sure that it will not stop now.

A review made in 1999 by Top Gear: