Texan tuning firm GWA has decided to pay homage to one of Mercedes’ most eye-catching concepts, the 1970 C111, with a once-off prototype called the Ciento Once.
The Ciento Once retains many of the original car’s features, including gulling doors, a retro wedge-shaped profile and a cabin that mixes such 70’s touches as plaid seat panels and sizeable dials with smatterings of the latest Mercedes technology.
In the Ciento Once’s engine bay things are, however, a far cry from the original. The C111 was created at a time when Mercedes was toying with the idea of slotting rotary engines in its cars, the upshot of which was a four-rotor Wankel engine that delivered 275 kW – enough to propel the orange wedge to a claimed top speed of 290 km/h. The chaps at GWA have taken a more conventional approach, fitting a Mercedes-Benz-sourced M120 V12 engine good for 304 kW and mating it with a six-speed transmission.
Underpinned by a tubular space frame chassis and sporting a handmade aluminium body, the Ciento Once will reportedly weigh around 1 400 kg – similar to the kerb weight of the C111.
In terms of braking and suspension, the Ciento Once borrows its braking system from the S55 while an adjustable coil-over suspension set-up will hopefully ensure that the ride from those GWA type A rims (9 x 19 rims in 265/35/19 tyres at the front and 11 x 20s with 295/30/20 tyres at the back) will tread a fine balance between comfort and agility.
We’d love to see something like the Ciento Once reach production but, like the C111 by which it is inspired, it’s unlikely that the firm will build more than one.