Sell a classic car Mercedes Benz SL Class. The Mercedes SL Class is a grand touring roadster manufactured by the mighty Mercedes since 1954.
The designation SL comes from the German Sportlich-Leicht (meaning in English Sports Lightweight).
The original idea was suggested by Max Hoffman who envisioned a market for a toned down Grand Prix car for the post-war American Market.
The SL was first applied to the 300 SL often referred to as the “Gullwing” due to it’s gullwing or upward-opening doors.
Automotive icons don’t come more substantial than the Mercedes-Benz series of SL luxury roadsters.
But the first SL wasn’t a roadster and, despite that, it’s still considered the greatest example of the breed.
The SL story is really about the evolution of two ideas:
- The first produced a legendary coupe for both the street and track.
- The second has sired generations of elegant, capable and lavishly engineered open two-seaters.
The 300SL was one of the best sports cars of its era. Britain’s Motor Sports magazine had the 300SL coupe zipping to 70 mph in just 8.5 seconds and attaining a studly 146-mph top speed.
“The effect is electrifying,” wrote Autocar about the car’s acceleration. Motor Trend’s test had the 300SL hitting 60 mph in 8.5 seconds. Quick though the 300SL was, it was not easy or forgiving.
With its swingarm rear suspension, the change in rear tire camber could be quite extreme, leading to a sudden onset of oversteer.
SL” originally stood for “Sporty” and “Light.” The original coupe will always be the sportiest SL and the last one that could accurately be described as light.
Mercedes-Benz R107 & C107
Produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1971 to 1989 the car was the second longest single series ever produced after the G Class.
They were known under the SL (R107) and SLC (C107) model names and became the 280 SL, 280 SLC, 300 SL, etc. and right up to the 560 SL.
The R107/SL had:
- A 2-seat car with a detachable roof
- It replaced the W113 SL-Class in 1971 and was itself overtaken by the R129 SL-Class in 1989.
The C107/SLC, on the other hand, was a
- A 4-seat car with a fixed roof
- A sliding steel sunroof
It replaced the W111 Coupe in 1971 and was itself replaced by the C126 S-class coupe in 1981.
History Of The Model
The SL was a:
- 2 Seat convertible & Soft Top and original Hardtop
- Optional Folding Seats for the rear bench.
The SLC (C107) was a 2-door hardtop coupe with normal rear seats.
It is commonly referred to as an ‘SL coupe’, and this was the first time that Mercedes-Benz had based a coupe on an SL roadster platform rather than on a saloon, replacing the former saloon-based 280/300 SE coupé in Mercedes itinerary.
The SLC was in fact replaced much earlier than the SL the model ended in 1981 with a much larger model the 380 SEC and the 500SEC were based on the new S class.
The first volume production began in April 1971, with the cars having the 350 SL tag, the 350 SL beginning in October.
Sales in America began in 1972 with cars having the 350 SL tag but had a larger 4.5 L V8 engine.
In March 1973 the 450 SL/SLC became available in non – US markets too.
Up to 1975, the cars used the Bosch D Jetronic fuel injection system an entirely mechanical injection system.
All US models had this electronic engine management system.
From 1974 both SL and SLC could be ordered with a fuel injected 2.8L straight 6 as 280 SL and SLC.
All models from 1976 to 1979 used the Bosch K Jetronic System and all US models used the 4.5-liter engine and were known as 450 SL/SLC.
Mercedes 450 SLC
In September 1977 a homologated version of the big coupe was released featuring:
- New All Aluminium 5 liter V8
- Aluminum alloy bonnet and boot lid
- Black rubber rear spoiler
- Small front lip spoiler
Starting in 1980, the 350, 450 and 450 SLC 5.0 models (like the 350 and 450 SL) were discontinued in 1980 with the introduction of the 380 and 500 SLC in March 1980.
The cars received a makeover; the 3-speed automatic replaced by a four-speed unit.
The 280, 380 and 500 SLC were all discontinued in 1981.
The W126 series 380 and 500 SEC coupes were introduced.
62,888 SLCs had been manufactured over a ten-year period.
1,636 were the 450 SLC-5.0 and 1,133 were the 500 SLC.
Both of these models are very sought after by collectors today.
With the exception of the SL65 AMG Black Series, the SLC remains the only fixed-roof Mercedes-Benz coupe based on a roadster rather than a sedan.
In September 1981 the 107s series continued initially as the 280, 380 and 500 SL.
The V8 engines were re-tuned for greater efficiency, lost a few hp and consumed less fuel.
The 280 SL was replaced by a new 300 SL and the 380 SL by a 420 SL, the 500 SL continued and a 560 SL introduced for certain extra-European markets.
In 1985 the Bosch KE Jetronic was fitted.
The KE Jetronic system varied from the all mechanical system fitted previously with:
- The introduction of a more modern engine management “computer”
- It controlled idle speed, fuel rate, and air/fuel mixture.
The final car of the 18 years running 107 series was a 500 SL painted Signal red, built on August 4, 1989; it currently resides in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
Differences With The North American Models
America was the key market for this personal luxury car and 2/3 of R1017 and C107 production.
The R107/C1017 for the North American Market sported 4 round low-output sealed beam headlights, due to unique U.S. regulations.
From 1974, front and rear bumpers were lengthened by 8 inches to comply with the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations.
These cars were exported to the US with low compression 4.5-liter V8 engines to meet US emission requirements.
Until 1980 the 450 SL was produced. They were also now fitted with Lambda control
The 380 SL with it’s smaller engine replaced the 450SL from 1981 to 1985, the 380 SL is the least powerful of the US imported R1017 roadsters.
The 500 SL with 5.0 Litre engine, produced from 1980 to 1989 was exclusive to the USA, Japanese and Australian markets.
The U.S. 560 SL had a 5.6. liter engine and was the fastest production 107 produced, it had 0 to 60 MPH of 7.4 seconds with a top speed of 140 MPH. Torque for the 500 SL is 296 lb-ft at 3200 rpm and for the 560SL 287 lb-ft at 3500 rpm.
Between 1975 and 1976 450 SLs suffered from:
- Vapor lock
- Hard restart
In 1977, the catalytic converter was moved to replace the resonator, located just behind the transmission in the exhaust system.
The 380 SL
The 380SL/C engine came with a single row timing chain from 1981 through 1983.
These were plagued with:
- Chain failure problems
The problem was corrected by Mercedes-Benz, free of charge.
MYs 1984 and 1985 came with a double row timing chain from the factory to address this issue.
The Automatic Climate Control System
This was yet another problem area for late 450 SLs and early 380 SLs.
Based on a “servo”, which controlled coolant flow to the heater core, as well as vacuum to actuate the vents in the interior of the car, the system proved unreliable.
It was installed on 450 SLs from 1976 through the end of production in 1980, and continued in 1981.
The 380 SL. Models produced prior to 1976 had a manual climate control system, models produced after 1981 received a more reliable automatic climate control system.
All updated 86–89 models had the advantages of:
- More modern 4 pot brakes
- Larger discs
- Suspension derived from the W124 sedan.
A modern paint system was designed to improve protection from rust.
However did not really seem to work as models still continued to rust around:
- The wheel arches & sills
- Jacking points
- Floor and front wings
- The drill holes on which the mudflaps are mounted
- Sides facing the engine bay.
300 SL: 1986–1989
The 300 SL base model was available as standard in a 5-speed manual although very few were sold. The SOHC 6 cylinder M103 is typically considered to have handling advantages with its lighter weight engine.
The 560 SL was only sold in the USA, Canada, Japan, and Australia to compensate the reduced output of the 5.0-litres due to the stricter emission laws in these markets.
- 350 SL: 1971–1972, 3.5 L V8
- 450 SL: 1973–1980, 4.5 L V8
- 280 SL: 1974–1985, 2.8 L I6
- 380 SL: 1980–1986, 3.8 L V8
- 500 SL: 1980–1986, 5.0 L V8
- 420 SL: 1986–1989, 4.2 L V8
- 500 SL: 1986–1989, 5.0 L V8
- 560 SL: 1986–1989, 5.6 L V8
The SL-Class 230 SL was a brand new design with a 2.3-litre mechanically fuel injected six cylinder engine.
- Low waistline
- Big curved greenhouse windows
- A Coupe Roadster with detachable hardtop
The distinctive roofline earned the nickname “pagoda top.”
This was designed by Paul Bracq.
Around 1967, the engine received a displacement increase and the model became known as the 250 SL.
Within a year the engine displacement was increased for the final time and the model designation became 280 SL
Beginning with later versions of the 250 SL changes were made to:
- Dashboard padding
- Switches and knobs
- Door pockets (US models only)
- Steering wheel.
In addition, on the 230 SL formerly separate center hubcaps and wheel trim rings became full wheel covers.
- 230 SL: 1963–1967, 2.3 L I6, 150 PS (110 kW)
- 250 SL: 1966–1968, 2.5 L I6, 150 PS (110 kW)
- 280 SL: 1967–1971, 2.8 L I6, 170 PS (125 kW)
- Arabian Gray
- Pastel White
- White Gray
- Anthracite Grey Metallic
- Anthracite Grey Metallic
- Silver Gray
- Beige Gray
- Blue Green
- Dark Olive Green
- Horizon Blue
- Medium Blue
- Blue Metallic
- Blue Metallic Clearcoat
- Milan Brown Metallic
- Cayenne Orange
- Icon Gold Metallic
- Byzantine Gold Metallic
- Tobacco Brown
- Topaz Brown
- Harvest Beige
- Dark Maroon
- Dark Bronze Metallic Clearcoat
- Tunis Beige Metallic
- Sand Beige Metallic
- Colorado Beige
- Champagne Metallic
- Golden Brown
- Walnut Brown
- Manganese Brown Metallic
- Apricot Orange
- English Red
- Carnelian Red
- Medium Red
- Brilliant Red Metallic
- Dark Red
- Signal (Fire Engine) Red
- Red Metallic
- Inca Red Metallic
- Maple Yellow
- Mimosa Yellow
- Light Ivory
- Light Ivory
- Sahara Yellow
- Sun Yellow
- Manila Beige
- Pastel Beige
- Papyrus White
- Gray Beige
- Beige Gray Metallic Clearcoat
- Phantom Gray
- Astral Silver Metallic
- Classic White
- Pastel Gray Metallic
- Deep Green Metallic
- Moss Green Metallic
- Silver Green Metallic
- Stone Pine Green Metallic
- Caledonia Green
- Nickel Green Metallic
- Citrus Green Metallic
- Mango Green
- Cypress Green Metallic
- Petrol Blue Green
- Cactus Green
- Thistle Green Metallic
- Dark Blue Metallic 904 1972 – 1980
- Gray Blue Metallic 906 1972 – 1979
- Aqua Blue
- Deep Blue
- Pastel Blue
- Silver Blue Metallic
- Magnetite Blue Metallic
- Lapis Blue Metallic
- China Blue
- Marine Blue
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