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1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0: Homologation Special Barn Find

The Mercedes-Benz 107-series SLC coupes are largely unloved, having been succeeded with the larger and more glamorous C126 SECs of the 1980s. Still, the 107 coupes should not be cast aside and discounted as some sort of afterthought to the R107 SL roadsters, having been formidable rally contenders in the late 1970s, and being a hoot to drive in their own right. These Euro-only cars were produced in very small numbers (only 1636 according to some sources, 1470 according to others) and are exceedingly rare, especially in the U.S., in the condition that this amazingly low-mile example on eBay in Export, Pennsylvania is in.

Right off the bat this car is striking in its originality. Showing just 27,490 miles that appear to be true based on the condition of telltale pieces like the interior wood and on SLCs, the vertical louvres over the rear side windows – which very unusually are not losing their silver finish in great big chunks. Milan Brown would not be the color I would choose from the order form, but I like it here as a very 70s color, and it is nicely complemented by the old-school silver BBS alloy wheels shod with vintage-style Vredstein classic tires. The majority of these tend to be found in two-tone silver over grey with black interiors.

There are several things about the Euro versions of these cars that appeals over their US-market kin. First, the smaller, more attractive bumpers do a lot for the looks and weight of these cars. Much like BMW was criticized for “diving board” bumpers in the 1970s, the Mercedes 114, 116, and 107 cars were similarly afflicted. This car still wears its quad sealed-beam US-spec headlights, and needs desperately to be returned to the factory original rectangular units. The Euro cars are also known for being a little firmer in the suspension, which will be appreciated by drivers who use this car like it was intended.

Do a casual search on any classified ad website for SLCs, and the majority of what you will find will be rusted-out snowbelt junk with interiors that conversely have the appearance of 400 years in the desert. As hard-wearing as all Mercedes interiors are, these tend to be among the worst, almost certainly suffering as much from owner apathy as anything, since the majority of SLCs are still not very highly regarded in collector circles. This one is very nice, showing just the slightest of wear. I especially love the factory-mounted fire extinguisher. Otherwise, this car is equipped similar to most US-spec SLCs, with automatic climate control, power windows and leather upholstery. I’d have liked velour on this one, but it’s probably just as well.

Among the other benefits to the 5.0 over lesser models is the 240hp all aluminum V8 combined with weight-saving alloy hood, doors, and trunklid. The little black rear spoiler is a giveaway to the “specialness” of the model, but was available as an accessory and fitted to many lesser 107s. The power and weight adjustments on this model made them competitive in events including an outright win in the 18,000-mile Südamerika Southern Cross Rallye late in 1978 and high placements at Paris-Dakar, Rallye Akropolis, African Safari Rally, the Ivory Coast Rally and other WRC events. I have no idea the reserve, but for the speculative Mercedes collector who likes to drive, this would be a heck of a machine in the garage.

~ Reed

2 thoughts on “1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0: Homologation Special Barn Find Leave a comment

  1. The non original US-speedometer maybe have 27K miles on it but the car has much more. Look at that salt plated motor, non original end-muffler, sun bleached rear spoiler, do you have ever seen a 5.0 with low miles on it? It does not appear so. Sorry for my direct speach, but you talk about things you don’t know very well. The production numbers you give are wrong, too. How can there be 1636 or 1470 SLC 5.0 if the first 026 which needs the “500SLC” embleme is #1628?? Visit any MB dealer, tell him vin 10702612001628 and ask for the 5.0 emblem and he will smile at you because #1628 uses “500SLC” and not “450 + 5.0”.

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