RM Sotheby’s Monterey Sale Preview
1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR

Knotty Nawadhinsukh Words by Knotty Nawadhinsukh
“Bad To The Bone…”—The AMG CLK GTR is purpose-built for sports car racing, so even the street version has no luggage space I’m afraid, but it does have air-conditioning

Sometimes you feel thankful that there were some great decisions made in past by the FIA, world motorsports’ central governing body, for coming up with the rules and regulations in promoting a racing series that left a memorable mark for many of us motor racing fans.

Imposing scoop feeds much-needed air to the 6.9 Litre AMG V12

One of those decisions conceived over two decades ago was the creation of a new sports car category called “GT1” as one of the front-running groups to compete in the World Endurance Championships during that era.

It's just another CLK, if you can ignore the massive wings, wider track and the brutish engine that is now at the back...The silver paint and other major components and parts still original since day one

GT1 drew inspirations from the type of sports car racing prevalent during the 50’s and ‘60s where road-going grand tourers with historical names that we all know of such as Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar, Aston Martin and the likes, compete against each other on the tracks. As we fast forward to the mid-90s, what GT1 did was it opened the possibilities of witnessing familiar cars such as Porsche 911s, McLaren F1s, Mercedes-Benz CLKs—even Ferrari F40s (who previously never had a category to compete in)—vying for overall victory at Spa, Silverstone and of course the 24 Hours at Le Mans similar to earlier times.

Final shape was designed using CAD and had only four months to complete

What it also did was that under the regulations, these manufacturers are required to build at least 25 units or more of these GT1 or GTR “Limited Editions” as street-legal GTs in order to fulfill that spirit so that they are indeed not some one-off racing prototypes. For any enthusiasts and collectors then, the possibility of owning a near race-spec version of these cars for its rarity value and incredible performance would be quite overwhelming to say the least!

“Nine, Nine, Nine…”—serial number should have brought a lot of good fortune while the Mercedes was in Hong Kong

This 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR that will be offered at RM Sotheby’s auction in Monterey on the 24th and 25th of August, undoubtedly is one such car. Number 9 of only twenty homologated as a coupe version (the other five are the ultra-rare roadsters) and packed with the all-conquering AMG 6.9 Lire V-12 that delivers 630 horsepower, serial number 9/25’s first ownership upon delivery was first in native Germany. It then travelled to and spent some time in Hong Kong before residing now in the U.S. After a thorough inspection prior to this RM Sotheby’s sale, the CLK GTR can boasts originality on all fronts except for a new front underbody panel (though the original carbon-fiber one is included in the deal) and has been driven a total of only over 1,400 miles for the last twenty years.

Original interior is mainly leather and there's a compartment in the sill enough for your purse and smart phone...

With a complete package of the original AMG tool chest, manuals, documentations, first aid kit, air compressor—and even a hazard triangle, the interest for this Mercedes-Benz should be huge.

(Estimate: US$4,250,000 – $5,250,000)

The GTR brought plenty of excitement in GT1 long distance racing—but its domination killed the series too

All Photos Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s