Following up on the commercial success of the R113-series 230, 250 and 280SL, Mercedes-Benz unveiled the all-new and thoroughly modern R107-series in 1971. The 107 continued along the path forged by the R113 that set the foundation of the SL-class as we know it today. The R113 was the car that took the engineering excellence of the original 300SL and combined it with the broader market appeal of the junior 190SL, in a package that was sporty, civilized and exceptionally well-rounded. The SL was now a sports car for those who preferred to arrive in style yet remain completely unruffled, an ethos that remains in the DNA of today’s SL roadsters.
Introduced in late 1971, the R107 further refined the theme set forth by the R113, albeit on an all-new platform that was larger, more rigid, and wrapped in finely detailed styling. It was also the first new model to benefit fully from Mercedes’ obsession with safety that began in the late 1960s. From its introduction, it was designed to carry both six-cylinder and a new line V8 engines. Suspension was fully independent all around, backed by four wheel disc brakes and a robust unibody chassis. Alongside the traditional roadster with its optional removable hard top, Mercedes-Benz also unveiled a full four seat version with a fixed roof and extended wheelbase. This new model, dubbed “SLC” replaced the ageing W111-based 280SE and marked the first time their flagship four-seat coupe was based not on a sedan platform, but the sporting SL platform. The SLC shared the same suspension, braking and powertrain components as its open-topped sibling, but benefitted from an exceptionally rigid platform with the fixed roof. Combined with the longer wheelbase, and the larger 4.5 liter version of the alloy V8, the SLC delivered robust performance and exceptional ride quality. Typical for a Mercedes-Benz SL-class car, the SLC was tuned for high-speed touring rather than outright corner-carving ability. But in spite of its grand touring pretenses and soft-sprung nature, the SLC was quite a capable sporting car – with predictable handling, excellent grip and powerful brakes. In fact, the SLC became a rather successful (albeit unlikely) rally competitor through the 1970s and into the 1980s. The 107 platform was such a success that it became the longest running passenger car model in Mercedes history (only being outlasted by the G-Wagen off-roader) and has become a favorite among collectors and enthusiasts the world over, thanks to its exceptional longevity, timeless style and tank-like build quality.
This 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC is a beautiful, unrestored example showing a genuine 31,354 miles from new. It is finished in its original shade of Gray-Blau metallic (code 906G) over a blue interior and presents in stunning condition inside and out. It is a well-optioned model with factory fitted sunroof, power locks and windows, automatic climate control, Tempomat cruise control and alloy wheels. The body is exceptionally straight, with all original belt moldings, rocker moldings and bumpers in excellent order. Chrome and anodized brightwork is outstanding, with no dings, dents or corrosion to speak of. The SLC’s signature quarter-louvers are in excellent order as well and all original glass is in place. Shut lines are to factory standards, the doors close with vault-like precision, and this car shows no evidence of any prior corrosion or accident damage. It rides on a set of Mercedes’ iconic Bundt alloy wheels in fabulous condition, wrapped in appropriate Pirelli P3000 blackwall radials, delivering the ideal balance of touring comfort and handling prowess. Original lamps, lenses, and the factory-fitted fog lamps all appear in excellent order. This is one of the finest of its kind we have had the pleasure to offer, a truly beautiful example that captures the understated elegance of this oft under-appreciated model.
Inside is more of the same; exceptionally well-preserved original materials and finishes presented in beautiful order. The blue upholstery shows hardly any signs of use, appearing more like a two year old car rather than 38 years old. The driver’s seat is barely broken in, while the passenger and rear seats appear factory fresh. Blue velour carpets are in excellent order, again appearing virtually factory fresh and unsullied, with original MB Star logo overmats. The center console is adorned with beautiful burlwood trim, which repeats on a narrow strip across the dash. Typically a trouble spot on these models, this example appears in beautiful condition with no cracking, crazing or lifting of the veneer. Original HVAC controls appear in excellent order and even the original Becker Mexico Cassette remains in its rightful place in the dash. Instruments, switches and controls are all factory original and in lovely original condition. Even the trunk appears in showroom fresh condition. Lifting the original carpeted panel reveals an untouched spare wheel with original Michelin spare tire, complete with the original tag pertaining to the alloy wheel fitment. A tool roll containing beautiful, unused factory tools is included, as well as the original jack and even the safety triangle. Also included is a comprehensive array of original factory literature, books, and manuals covering all aspects of the car’s operation, many of which appear untouched since new.
The engine bay is similarly exceptional, with original finishes, markings and decals all in place as one would expect from a pampered 32,000 mile example. The original gold cadmium plating remains bright, correct hose clamps are fitted and the entire engine bay is tidy and clean, without appearing to have been restored or excessively detailed. While the 450 SLC’s open-topped sibling may be the more well-known, enthusiasts know that the SLC is far rarer, and finely preserved examples such as this are exceptionally scarce. Finished in timeless colors and presented in beautiful condition from top to bottom, this 450 SLC surely is one of the best-preserved examples of its type.