Story & Photography by Duncan Bonar
The story of this car is both mysterious and unique. The previous owner in Japan wanted a DTM car from Mercedes and that, simply, couldn’t be had. As we know, the best way to build a modified car is to start with the best donor car possible. In this case, that donor car happened to be an original 1 of 502 Evolution II. Madness, yes. Awesome? Even more so.
Besides the AMG power pack fitted to a short-stroke 2.5L, SLS suspension, and the obvious radical body kit that reduces drag to 0.29 (and as legend forced BMW to redesign its wind tunnel), the car had been worked over front to rear, top to bottom, with the end goal of a street-able DTM car.
The interior was transformed from a sport / luxury saloon to that of a racing cockpit. Its interior has all the right parts, too, beginning with Sport Recaro Pole Position SPGs dated back to 1997 were fitted to the front, while the rears were recovered to match, complete with Recaro letter pressing. A steering wheel from Momo marked “Momo for Mercedes” on the rear. A full cage was fitted rendering the rear seats about as useful as an ashtray on a sport bike. The OEM gauge cluster was done away with in favour a streamlined gauge setup boasting a centre mounted tachometer. All accessory switches were replaced with their mil spec equivalent along with ignition, horn, and a general kill switch mounted along the centre console.
And here’s where it gets serious: the short stroke 2.5L was fitted with individual throttle bodies fed through a custom intake manifold, with rotational mass slimmed down with an aluminium pulley. Fuelling is taken care of courtesy of larger injectors mounted on a custom fuel rail. Cooling is a non-issue with a larger, custom radiator, and dual cooling fans. Exhaust is infiltrated through a set up custom headers then to an X pipe and further rearward. And lastly, engine management is provided by a Motec system.
Being a saloon with less than 300 horsepower, some may think of the older Mercedes’ as momentum cars, and by experience, that is largely true. What makes up for that is done in the braking department with Brembo monoblock 6 pot fronts and 4 pot rears on dinner plate-sized rotors, with stainless steel lines. Front-to-rear and side-to-side underbody chassis bracing stiffens the chassis in addition to the cage. Finally, it relies on a good set up, tires, and authentic OZ Racing wheels at 8.5×18 (front) and 10×18 (rear) for looks and the needed stick.
In my opinion, this car is something special. It’s a seamless integration of DTM engineering and an ’80s kid’s wet dream—it’s recently been brought Stateside, too for Original Rare, so look for it in your rearview mirror soon…