The BriefingCar is coming along well and, while we are still waiting to see who will be the lucky winner of the draw to be co-driver in the Spring Edition 2023, the brand new, rear-wheel drive, 300 horsepower Mercedes CLK V8 has gone through the recons with flying colours. Some minor reliability and resistance points need to be improved, but its performance and specs have remarkably surprised us. It doesn’t go unnoticed…

The project started from scratch. Rui Cabaço, who, as you may remember, drove the iconic Mercedes 190, craved  another vehicle of similar specs for the Maroc Challenge BriefingCar and showed up in Villena, in the Julio Tomás Competición Workshop, to discuss the possibility.

We had to look for a vehicle of similar characteristics, ruggedness, power and  mechanics, that could also withstand the harsh treatment  it will undoubtedly suffer off-road in Morocco commented the BriefingMan. “We opted for the CLK, with the 208 body, the old one, which is stronger and easier to customise. Once we found the ideal car, we got straight to work”, explains the expert from Alicante, part of the Maroc technical group, who took on the challenge immediately.

The challenge was to transform a road car into a vehicle capable of successfully tackling the Maroc Challenge tracks, that is, reliable and with good off-road capabilities. Julio Tomás emphasises that “we started off with a car that is not really designed to do these things. You must improve on what you have, with better off-road clearance, raising the height and angles of attack. All this without compromising or endangering mechanical parts, especially the transmission, which is the most affected element when raising a car“.

It’s a long process, but the experience of having built a series of Mercedes 190 gave us the necessary confidence to undertake this project. We needed to improve clearance, suspension and also the protections, which are essential. Height limitations make it necessary to carefully protect the underside.

The litmus test for this Mercedes CLK V8 has been the recons. “The car gave us no significant problems and now everything needs to be checked again to improve its reliability and strength. We need to check it for possible wear and tear, and continue to evolve and improve. We covered kilometres and kilometres of tracks, including the sands and even took on the dunes. You have to keep in mind that this is a rear wheel drive car, and some of the dunes we have tackled would seriously challenge many 4x4s.  We are very satisfied with it”, said the owner of Talleres Julio Tomás Competición, in Alicante.