Last Running Mercedes-Benz C111 Gets Unlikely Test Driver

Published by Jim Davis
October 20, 2019
As a teenager he dreamed of driving one and now as an adult, Jay Leno drives the last running Mercedes-Benz C111
Words Jim Davis October 20, 2019

Today, we’re somewhat attuned to the idea of Mercedes-Benz making wildly-styled sports cars. But back in 1970, when the automaker put together the wildly unconventional C111 concept, it was a crazy departure for the slightly stuffy sedan maker.

And a teenage Jay Leno always dreamed of driving one.

Now, grown-up Leno’s position as the world’s most enviable gearhead granddad means he can finally drive the Mercedes-Benz C111. And on Jay Leno’s Garage, he does just that.

This is an original 1970 model put together as an experiment by Mercedes during a particularly adventurous phase for the automaker. It was originally designed with a three-rotor Wankel engine; later variants had four-rotor engines, an evolutionary dead-end that Mercedes stopped pursuing during the oil crisis.

Today, of the thirteen C111s Mercedes produced across two generations, this is the only running, driving example—now powered by a 3.5-liter V8.

Grown-up Jay Leno is living teenage Jay Leno’s dream. And all of ours.

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