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Back in the mid 1990′s, many car manufacturers had a renewed interest in the Le Mans 24 Hours Endurance Race, especially after the McLaren F1 GTR showed what a modified road car could achieve at one of the toughest races in the world.
Soon Toyota, Nissan and Porsche came up with their own Le Mans GT1 contenders. However, the rules at the time said that in order to participate in this category, the manufacturer must build 25 road-going examples of the race cars they are competing with. Toyota and Nissan found out their race car wasn’t fast enough to win, so didn’t bother making any road cars (although Nissan did produce two R390 super cars for the streets).
Porsche on the other hand was very confident about its race car, so the company produced the required number of road-going versions of the 911 GT1. Another manufacturer that went ahead with the plan to produce road cars that look and have the performance of their race car was Mercedes-Benz.
Even though the 1998 CLK-LM was not a winning race car and was replaced by the CLR racer in 1999 (the car that infamously flipped while chasing the Toyota GT1 at the 1999 Le Mans 24-Hour race), Mercedes-Benz went ahead with producing the CLK-GTR road car. It is believed 19 coupe’s and 6 roadster models were produced in total between 2000 and 2002.
Now, one of these rare super cars is available right in our own back yard. A 2000 model CLK-GTR coupe is for sale by Ferrari Maserati of Fort Lauderdale. This silver on red example is number 17/25 and has covered just 1492-miles. This example also has the Super Sport package upgrade, which gives it the newer, more powerful 7.3-liter, V12 good for 655-hp and 580-lb/ft of torque.
So if you have $1.49-million burning a hole in your pocket, you can buy this rare exotic, which will surely inch up in value the older it gets. Plus you will surely end up with something your rich friends won’t likely have in their garages. It’s a win-win situation.
[Source: DuPont Registry]
For those with the means, RM Auctions is offering the chance to own not one, but two Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR street cars. Essentially road legal versions of the FIA GT1 race cars, just 25 of these incredible exotics were built to meet FIA regulations, which clearly state that any race car must be based on a production model street car.
As a result, these street cars are actually based on the race cars, and not the other way around. They boast 612-hp 6.9-liter V12 engines, six-seed sequential transmissions with paddle shifters and carbon fiber brakes.
The CLK GTR race cars competed in the FIA GT1 class in 1997 and 1998, taking the championship in their first year.
As mentioned, just 25 of these cars exist with only five of the roadster models ever made.
Both cars will hit the auction block on October 28th at RM Auction’s Automobiles of London sale.
We’ll take both!
GALLERY: Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Street Cars
More on the CLK GTR street cars after the jump: