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This Guy Built His Own Street Legal Mercedes Race Car

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Modeled on the Sauber-Mercedes C9, this is a race car for the road.

Few types of classic racing cars elicit the kind of enthusiasm that Group C prototypes do. They were some of the fastest, most incredible pieces of machinery ever made, including legends like the Porsche 962, Jaguar XJR-9, and Mazda 787. The trouble is that, as with most purpose-built racers, you can't drive them on public streets. So this guy built himself one that you can.

It's modeled on the Sauber-Mercedes C9 – the car that put the Silver Star back on the racing map after decades of abstention following the notorious Le Mans disaster of 1955.

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Built and campaigned by Sauber, and backed and powered by Mercedes, the C9 won all three titles in the World Sportscar Championship, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans – all in 1989. It was clocked at 248 miles per hour at La Sarthe, prompting the ACO to put a pair of chicanes on the famous Mulsanne Straight.

Of course you couldn't drive a C9 on open public roads, even if you could get your hands on one. So Johan Ackermann built one that he could. Not from a kit, either – though his native South Africa has been known for producing plenty of those.

The 64-year-old mechanic (and evident Mercedes racing fan) crafted the chassis and fiberglass bodywork from scratch in what was clearly an exhausting and exhaustive process. And at its center, he installed a 3.2-liter twin-turbo V6 engine capable of producing 370 horsepower and 332 lb-ft of torque.

That's a fair bit less than the 800 or so horses the original C9 produced from its 5.0-liter twin-turbo V8. But weighing just 1,000 kilograms (or 2,200 pounds), we've sure it hustles – and on public roads, no less – achieving speeds in excess of 300 km/h (186 mph).