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Mercedes who pride themselves on selling the ultimate in automotive performance are today facing a claimk that they sell the ultimate automotive lemons.

The US owner of an exotic, 12-cylinder Mercedes has sued its maker for a $2.3 million refund on “the world’s most expensive lemon”. Mark Johnston bought the Mercedes-Benz AMG CLK-GTR roadster, one of only five produced and the one in North America, for $2.3 million in 2003.

The Guinness Book of World Records lists the car as the most expensive production vehicle ever. “The car turned out to be exotic in the worst possible way,” said Johnston, a former Ferrari mechanic. “It just doesn’t run.”

The 6.9 litre, 12 cylinder engine can shoot the car from 0 to 200kmh in 9.9 seconds, with a top speed of 320kmh.In theory. But this car could not even make it 10 blocks, said Johnston.

Johnson, who owns Grand Prix Motors in Los Angeles, took it out for a test drive with a potential buyer. Then, he claims, the oil gauge lit up, and the transmission failed. The car promptly broke down on a Beverly Hills street and was towed back to the showroom.

The roadster is made of carbon fibre, has a steel roll cage and an energy-absorbing crash box. “The car is truly a work of art,” said Johnston.

“It just happens to be a work or art that won’t work.” Johnston expected to resell the car for between $3.4 million and $4 million, and believes it could someday fetch up to $6.8 million.

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