A South African man by the name of John Ackermann has created a Sauber-Mercedes C9 replica which remarkably, is actually street legal.
The C9 is one of Mercedes-Benz’s most famed racing cars as it claimed victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1989 and secured five race victories during the World Sportscar Championship the previous year. Only a handful of units were ever constructed and trying to source and buy a legitimate example would be virtually impossible. Driven by his love for the car, Ackermann set about making his own.
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The mechanic started work on his custom sports car in 2011 and built it from scratch. Underpinning the vehicle is a bespoke steel chassis and the bodywork is made from lightweight and strong fiberglass. For power, Ackermann sourced a 3.2-liter V6 and put on a pair of turbochargers to lift grunt to around the 320 hp mark. The car only weighs about 1000 kg (2200 lbs) and because of this, it’s very quick and will apparently hit around 300 km/h (186 mph).
When the real Sauber-Mercedes C9 was being raced, it featured a twin-turbocharged 5.0-liter V8 engine with a touch over 800 hp. The car hit 400 km/h (248 mph) on the Mulsanne Straight during qualifying for the 1989 24 Hours of Le Mans and it’s not hard to see why Ackermann was inspired by it.
The mechanic recently parted ways with the car after it was purchased by a fellow car enthusiast. Before the keys were handed over, the replica’s floor and chassis had to be modified to fit the new owner.