After producing only 20 of the 25 CLK GTR Coupes, HWA decided to build the remaining five as roadsters. Unlike the Coupe, they have a rear wing supported by normal stanchions and built up headrests with intake scoops. Each was specially built for an individual customer and had a huge list of standard options including air conditioning and a luggage set.
The company behind the GTR Roadster is HWA GmbH and they have a long history developing Mercedes-Benz race cars. Since 1967, HWA have been producing cars such as the CLK DTM touring cars and other one-of creations. Naturally, HWA also worked with AMG on many of these projects.
Back in 1999, DaimlerChrysler acquired AMG, renaming it to Mercedes AMG GmbH. In doing so they effectively separated HWA from AMG developments. This left the 170-employee firm with independence over its products and let the company produce the stunning CLK GTR Roadster.
In November of 1998 the very first road-going CLK GTR was completed to homologate the GT1 racecar. GTRs competed in every round of the 1997 FIA GT Championship against the Porsche GT1 and McLaren F1. Drivers Bernd Schneider and Klaus Ludwig took many victories and helped the factory team win the FIA’s championship in 1997 and 1998. Riding on this success, HWA decided to sell a road-going variant and limited production to 25 examples.
While the front end of the GTR had a resemblance to the front-engined CLK saloon it was named after, the GTR was entirely new. The road cars (Straßenversion) mimicked the racecars almost entirely from the outside, but featured more forgiving suspension, a lush interior and an integrated wing.
The technology used to beat the competition on the track is bred into the CLK GTR. The basis of the car is a race-proven, carbon fiber and aluminum honeycomb monocoque. Protection for the occupants is provided by an integrated steel roll cage with rigid crash-impact boxes. The suspension is all inboard, like the race car and the ride-height is adjustable. The entire body is made from carbon fiber.
Powering the GTR was the M120 V12 based off the SL600. It displaced 6.9 liters and produced around 600bhp. Mated to the monocoque tub and sequential gearbox, the engine was a stressed member of the chassis. A six-speed sequential-manual transmission is fitted to the power plant with gear change by buttons on the steering wheel. Some customers had their car ordered or upgraded with the 7.3 liter engine.
Inside the car was very well appointed with a bespoke instrument cluster, a leather clad steering wheel with integrated airbag, air conditioning, an audio system, adjustable pedals, four point seat belts and luggage pods with set of seven suitcases.
Limited Edition No. 1-First CLK GTR Roadster produced and used to promote the next four. Completed in 2003 with chassis number WDB2973971Y000037. Painted silver with dark blue leather interior. Offered by Classic Car Collection in Switzerland for many years at $1,200,000USD or €850,000.
Limited Edition No. 2-Completed in Silver with purple upholstery chassis WDB2973971Y000032. Only example ordered in right hand drive. Original price tag was €1,300,000. Sold at RM Auctions’ 2009 Automobiles of London sale for £616,000 ($1,000,000 USD)
Limited Edition No. 5-Bought by Mark Johnston to promote his Calabasas Mercedes-Benz dealership. During a customer test drive the engine oil light came on and the transmission only lasted 10 blocks. Threatened to sue Mercedes-Benz and HWA for the price of the car.
2002 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster – did not sell for $1,300,000 1 of 6 CLK GTR roadsters in the world. Fresh service completed in March 2013 by two techs from the Mercedes build team that were flown over from Germany. Less than 71 delivery miles. Original MSRP $1,547,000 and was the most expensive production car ever built at the time. Auction Source: The Daytime Auction in Monterey by Mecum
2006 Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR Roadster Limited Edition No. 2 – sold for €693,000
The example presented here is number 2 in the series and, as confirmed by official HWA documentation, is the only right hand drive CLK GTR Roadster. Its colour combination is striking indeed, and like its coupé sibling, the car is virtually brand new; it was completed in August 2006 for a prominent collector, has accumulated just 34 delivery kms from new and has never been road registered. The same documentation further confirms this car cost a staggering €1.3 million, which makes its offering today a very attractive proposition indeed. Auction Source: 2009 RM Auctions’ Automobiles of London