A number of multimillion-dollar classic cars from the likes of Ferrari, Mercedes, Aston Martin and other esteemed automotive marques will hit the block at Gooding & Company's Pebble Beach Auctions, but this 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR Strassenversion is one of only two valued in the eight-figure range.
That commanding sum is justified by both the supercar's rarity and link to a dominating race history. As the "Strassenversion" qualifier indicates, this is the street-legal version of a car created for the inaugural FIA GT Championship in 1997.
The German automaker's performance AMG division had a matter of months to develop a race car based on the CLK coupe when the series was announced.
AMG fitted the track-only CLK GTR with a modified version of the 6.0-liter V12 featured in many Mercedes road cars and a chassis developed by Lola Composites of the UK, and the work paid off. The CLK GRT won six of the series’ 11 rounds to claim the 1997 championship and every round of the 1998 championship.
Mercedes preserved the CLK GTR's undefeated legacy by promptly pulling out of the series after the back-to-back win.
But those titles would have been void if Mercedes hadn't cooperated with the FIA's stipulation that 25 roadgoing variants of the racer be produced, which brings us to the 1998 Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK GTR Straseenversion here.
The ninth of 20 coupes five roadsters built, it's based on the same core architecture and carbon fiber body work but runs a larger 6.9-liter V12 engine that feeds 604 horsepower through a sequential six-speed.
The massive hoop-style rear wing—undeniably one of the natural focal points of the exterior—is also integrated into the body instead of mounted. Inside are the AMG trimmings of the time, with a combo of leather, Alcantara and suede cloaking all requisite surfaces, as well as all analog gauges.
Only the original 1997 buyer and the current consignor have put 896 miles on the odometer.
Gooding & Company set the pre-auction estimate at $8.5-$10 million. The other eight-figure car on offer is a much older and more famous 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione, valued at $10-$12 million. Other offerings include a 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT, 1958 BMW 507 Series II, and a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
We'll see which one sells for the most when the two-day Pebble Beach Auctions sale kicks off on August 13.