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1978 Mercedes-Benz C111-III

The C-111 design study from 1977 is the basis for a record-breaker that wins nine absolute world records one year later with a five-cylinder turbo diesel under the hood.

The sparsely modified C 111-II in Nardo spurred the developers on to new heights. This time, they did not create a design study for a road-going sports car but a thoroughbred racing car for the sole purpose of establishing speed records: the C 111-III. The new car was built in 1977; it was narrower than the first C 111 had a longer wheelbase and perfect aerodynamic properties, thanks to complete streamlining and rear airfoils. In 1978, the C 111-III lined up at the start in Nardo. Once again, a diesel engine growled under the silver-painted plastic bodywork. While this engine had been derived from a production unit, it had been tuned to develop 230 hp and gave the streamlined car a top speed well over 300 km/h. Mercedes-Benz established nine absolute world records with this Silver Arrow in the late 1970s.

The career of the diesel engine is unstoppable. Mercedes-Benz sets nine new records with the C111-III:

  • 100 kilometers at 316.484 km/h

  • 100 miles at 319.835 km/h

  • 500 kilometers at 321.860 km/h

  • 500 miles at 320.788 km/h

  • 1000 kilometers at 318.308 km/h

  • 1000 miles at 319.091 km/h

  • 1 hour at 321.843 km/h

  • 6 hours at 317.796 km/h

  • 12 hours at 314.463 km/h

Source:;; DaimlerChrysler

Images: Concept Car Central;; ROGERIOMACHADO's photostream