This 1999 Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG is a handsome and powerful grand tourer, which was supplied new to two-time motorcycle world champion Barry Sheene. It is powered by a hand-built 5.4-litre naturally-aspirated V8 engine, and driven through the rear wheels via a five-speed 5G-Tronic automatic transmission. The odometer indicates 99,119 miles from new, which is fully supported by the service and MOT history.
A truly bespoke version of the W208-era CLK, the AMG model’s engine uses a forged billet steel crankshaft, forged connecting rods and pistons, a modified intake manifold and reworked cylinder heads, and lightweight AMG-specific camshafts.
Its bodywork was subtly revised over the standard range, with a unique front apron featuring integrated fog lamps, deeper side skirts, and a model-specific rear bumper. The CLK 55 AMG was also fitted with firmer shock absorbers, reinforced anti-roll bars, higher-rated springs and stiffer suspension bushings. Its disc brakes were upgraded to large, race-derived vented rotors.
The first owner of this CLK 55 AMG was two-time Grand Prix motorcycle world champion, Barry Sheene. He collected the UK-specification car directly from the Mercedes-Benz Customer Centre at Sindelfingen in early December, and drove it back to the UK on export plates, where it was subsequently registered as ‘V134 MGJ’ - the mark it wears today. There are four previous keepers recorded on the V5C log book.
Speaking about driving for Mercedes-Benz in the 2001 Targa Tasmania, Sheene referred to his ownership of the CLK 55 AMG kept in England and said: “Funnily enough my first car ever was a Mercedes-Benz 220D back in 1970 and I have owned a Mercedes ever since.”
It is alleged that AMG provided a bespoke engine tune for Sheene, with power uprated to beyond 450bhp, and that the company also widened the track at the front and rear, and fitted a bespoke rear bumper. It was previously recorded as an insurance loss in 2014, but due to its significant provenance, it was repaired and re-registered with the DVLA. The vendor has owned the car for the last year, and has covered around 1,500 miles on the road.
The car’s bodywork is in good order, finished in the smart Green Black metallic hue. There are stone chips to the front end, and some paint blisters at the bottom of the driver’s side door, but otherwise it remains in very presentable condition. The front bumper grille trim is currently missing.
It sits on a set of 18-inch split-rim AMG monoblock alloy wheels, which are colour-coded to the bodywork. As is often the case with split-rim wheels, there is quite a bit of paint and lacquer peel, and they would certainly benefit from refurbishment. With the AMG bodykit, as well as the sports exhaust with ‘AMG’ engraved tailpipes, the car has a discreet but powerful presence.
In the cabin, the high-specification Exclusive Graphite / Anthracite AMG leather is in superb condition, with very little wear to speak of. The bolsters are in good order, and the rear seats appear to have been barely used at all. At the front, the electrically-adjustable and heated orthopaedic seats have memory settings for both driver and passenger.
Factory-fitted equipment includes dual-zone climate control, as well as a power tilt-and-slide glass sunroof above the front occupants that still works perfectly. Automatic rain-sensing wipers and all-round parking sensors are also fitted. There are no known electrical faults, and the switchgear all works correctly. At the back of the car, the boot lining is in good condition, and under the floor is the original space-saver spare wheel.
The last scheduled maintenance was carried out in February 2019. This comprised of an engine oil and oil filter service, replacement of all other filters, new brake pads, and a fresh set of tyres with wheel balancing and alignment. During the vendor’s ownership, the fuel lines, brake lines and transmission lines have also been renewed.
Its last MOT test was on 7 March 2019 at 98,210 miles, which resulted in a first-time pass with only a few advisories noted, concerning tyre wear, some slight play in the offside rear wheel bearing, and play in the steering rack inner joints. The tester also noted some corrosion present on the underside.
The alloy wheels are fitted with Uniroyal RainSport 3 tyres in size 225/40 R18 at the front and 255/35 R18 at the rear. They have covered only around 1,000 miles on the road, so are still in excellent condition with plenty of tread remaining.
Accompanying the car are all of the original books and user guides, as well as the maintenance record and history file. The factory order and build paperwork also remains in the file, confirming the specification, showing Barry Sheene as the first owner, and noting his choice of collection from Sindelfingen on export plates.
While it is regarded as the ‘hot-rod’ version of the W208 series coupe, this Mercedes-Benz CLK 55 AMG is also a comfortable and well-appointed grand tourer. Its sonorous AMG V8 alone is arguably worth the price of admission, and this example also drives very smartly. Its famous first owner meant that this particular high-performance car was well worth saving after its previous damage, and it is now offered to another enthusiast to enjoy.