The real Sauber-Mercedes C9 race car is not road legal. This replica, however, is.
The thoughtful homage to the Le Mans-winning race car calls South Africa home. It's the work of Johan Ackermann, who started the project in 2011. When he completed his recreated C9, he drove it for awhile, then found a buyer, Mark Burger, who appreciates the details and how different it is. Ackerman had to modify the interior and even drop the chassis so Berger would fit in the cockpit.
In motorsport circles, the Sauber-Mercedes C9 is a glorious machine. It served the Sauber Mercedes team in the Group C Prototype Class of the World Sportscar Champion series, the World Endurance Championship's predecessor. Sauber was the constructor, while Mercedes-Benz served as the engine builder. Although it didn't fare well in its 1987 debut season, it took second place overall in 1988. In 1989, it won all but a single race on the calendar, including a mighty victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
While the real race car sported a turbocharged 5.0-liter V-8, this replica houses a 3.2-liter V-6, which likely came from the middle of the last decade. That engine was available naturally aspirated or with a supercharger, but Ackermann has added twin turbos, and now it makes a healthy 370 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. The chassis and architecture, meanwhile, are all the work of this skilled mechanic. The body features a thin cardboard skin covered in fiberglass.Ackerman said the toughest part was getting the roof profile correct.
While the looks are good, they don't quite match the real thing. Specifically, the headlights and lower part of the fascia are a tad off. Even though there's no confusing this car for the real C9, we have to tip our hats to Ackermann. Very few people could pull off building a replica that looks as good as this, and fewer still could do it by themselves.