This is an ultra rare Mercedes C111 prototype on the street

These are pictures of a '70s Mercedes C111 prototype I spotted in Stuttgart two months back. What you need to know: it's not a production car, they made very few of them and holy crap what the heck is someone doing driving a C111 on public roads?!

Before I ever visited the city of Stuttgart, I was told it would be boring, industrial and full of... not a lot. "Oh, well I guess there's the Porsche and Mercedes museum there" one dull individual would tell me.

What they didn't mention is that I would have the chance to run into a friggin' Mercedes C111 driving on the street. In fact, Stuttgart felt like a mecca for car enthusiasts. I have never seen so many cool German cars just parked around curbs and in parking garages in my life. Given this, this is the first post in a small series of posts that will feature interesting cars Spotted Around Stuttgart.

I saw this C111 while walking back to the hotel after a few brews. While I didn't know much about it at the time, I knew it was a very special Mercedes (the Mercedes museum also features a similar looking but different C111; more on that in a later post). This car stopped me in my tracks and caught me with my jaw dropped. I knew instantly I had to grab my camera for a few shots.

The C111 was an experimental prototype Mercedes built in the '60s and '70s as a testbed for a number of engines and speed records. During this time, several iterations of the C111 body were developed and Mercedes tested various rotary and diesel engines within. The car was also styled as such to set speed records with some versions hitting near 200 mph at the Nardo test track. Keep in mind this was over 40 years ago.

The C111 never made it to production given that its powertrain was immature in development and didn't prove to be a reliable platform for the public.

In retrospect going through these pictures, it looks like Mercedes was setting up a nighttime photoshoot of the car. Given that we were only roughly less than a mile away from Mercedes HQ, I would venture to guess that the car was driven out only occassionally for promotional or press purposes.

Edit: Readers later pointed out to me that this car was out for a photoshoot with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport. Their article and photos can be found here: http://www.auto-motor-und-sport.de/fahrberichte/mercedes-c-111-dem-autohimmel-ganz-nah-8563461.html

Amid the recent debut of the AMG GT, it is evident Mercedes is staying true to its heritage of building beautiful high performance halo cars. But the C111 provides a glimpse and reminds us of the forward-thinking design language Mercedes had studied back in the '60s. In person, this C111 was nothing short of spectacular. For sure, it is one of the best spottings I've had this year.