As most modern cars become appliances (albeit very good ones) and the push continues for the end of ICE (internal combustion engine) cars, the scale is also tipping on the other end.
Words: Wilhelm Lutjeharms
Images: Kevin Bitz for Mechatronik
Businesses know that that there are still a lot of wealthy motoring enthusiasts out there who will happily pay for a quality petrol-powered product. Just look at the increase in the number of so-called "restomods", replicas and continuation models during the past few years.
If you have never heard of Mechatronik, let me introduce them briefly. Based in Germany, they have been restoring and modernising Mercedes-Benz classics for two and a half decades. The company will take, for example, a 280 SL Pagoda and rebuild it to be called an M-SL. The changes include, to name only a few upgrades, the installation of a modern 4.3-litre V8 engine and transmission, air conditioning, better brakes, improved suspension and a limited slip differential.
But - these are Germans, you know - so everything is done thoroughly and with precision and the company is known for having some of the best restorers and technicians in the classic Mercedes industry. Also keep in mind that these cars need to be TÜV approved, which means they are on quite a different level.
But, 2022 sees the 25th anniversary of Mechatronik. The result is that the team decided to do something really unique for this significant milestone. Keep in mind, the project of the car you see here already started three years ago, and it will only be officially revealed during the European summer in the coming months.
Called Project 107, it is evident that it is based on a C107 Mercedes-Benz SLC. However, it is likely that the similarities with a standard C107 stop right there!
Pascal Stephan is head of sales at Mechatronik and during a short interview he shared a few facts about the project with us.
“The whole idea is based on the 107 because this model is an important point in Mercedes’ motorsport history. Especially the so called ‘Mampe SLC’ gave us an important inspiration for this project. The technical changes on the car will go much further than on our other two model lines, the New-Tech Series of the W111 and W113.”
I asked him about the approach with the car, and whether it will offer a lot of modern (semi-modern) equipment like Mechatronik’s other projects, and how focused will it be?
“That will depend on the final specification of the customer, which will have a big influence of course, but in general this car will be a focused sports car. The highlights for me are always track tests where you get direct feedback from professional race drivers about your product.” And that is what the company has been doing, as some of these tests have been conducted at the Nürburgring.
Currently the most interest for this product has come from the Middle East, with Europe in the next spot and then the USA, Australia and yes, South Africa as well!
Pascal was quite clear about the mammoth task that this project presents. “This project is by far the biggest mountain we have had to climb in our 25 years history and we are still not completely done. We are proud to have people with lots of experience in our company which is the base platform for a project like this. But as always there is a learning curve and in general you can always say that it is much more complicated to realise something than talk about something.”
From these pictures, we can gain already a lot of information. It is evident that the track width front and rear have been significantly widened, while the body has also been sculptured to accommodate these upgrades. Furthermore, 19-inch BBS wheels (possibly split-rim units) are fitted with grippy Michelin Pilot Sport 275/30 ZR19 at the rear and 245/35 ZR19 tyres at the front. Behind the wheels are also what appear to be AMG brake callipers.
German magazine Auto Bild drove the early prototype in late 2020, and during that drive the journalist remarked on the wonderful direct shift action of the manual gearbox.
The front features a sporty bumper with more air intakes, winglets on the end (!) and a small lip spoiler. At the rear is a centre, dual exhaust pipe and although these pictures don’t reveal anything about the interior, this prototype has been fitted with a roll cage – possibly for safety reasons. Whether all or some of these features will make it to the production car, remains to be seen.
Head over to Mechatronik’s Instagram account and listen to the engine roar as there is a video of the car drifting around a circle in Germany, and also see the video below.