1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0

When the R107 SL replaced the W113 SL in 1972, many enthusiasts derided the new car as more boulevard cruiser than “sport light,” as the SL moniker suggests. Mercedes sought to bring back a little bit of the sporting magic in 1977 with the introduction of an all aluminium 5.0 liter V8 in the hardtop SLC variant. Dubbed the 450SLC 5.0, this model was different than the standard SLC models in that the hood and doors were aluminium, as well as the trunklid, which came with a black lip spoiler. These were very limited production cars, as 1,636 450SLC 5.0 were produced, along with 1,133 500SLCs manufactured in 1980 and 1981. These luxury touring cars were even campaigned on the World Rally Circuit, winning the Ivory Coast Rally in 1979 and 1980. This example for sale in California was an early build, and was imported to the US early in its life.

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 on eBay

Special, limited production cars are always exciting, more so when they are fast and have race or rally pedigrees. This 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 has all of that and more. A total production of this model is 1470, according to numerous sources, and the World Rally Championship history of the 450SLC 5.0 is well documented. This particular car #300, chassis number 107.026-12-000300 has all of the European specification horsepower, integrated bumpers, covered headlights etc, with NONE of the associated worldwide rust issues, due to early importation to California.

The car is equipped with 450SLC 5.0 specific front air dam and rear trunk spoiler. These aerodynamic aids were first used on this car and then subsequently carried over to the 1980 500SL/500SLC cars, and also later models. Beautiful Mercedes-Benz original alloy wheels remain in excellent condition, with tires that have substantial tread remaining. Brake and chassis maintenance are up to date, giving this car an extremely rewarding driving sensation. It is easily as fast as any SL/SLC we have owned, numbering in the hundreds. It definitely ranks in the top several cars owned/driven/tested for speed, agility, and overall driving feel.

The car was imported to California within the first year or so, as evidenced by it’s license plate nomenclature: this series of plates dates to approximately 1980. The condition of the car has some very important high points, including a rust free chassis and bodywork, as well as really beautiful original paint. The Euro velour interior is in 99% perfect condition, with only a thread or two showing at the absolutely highest wear point in the car: the seat bolster on the driver’s side–contacted every time one slides into the car.

Overall, the interior shows careful long term use with a perfect dashboard, above excellent wood, fully functioning gauges etc. The center of the rear seat has a bit of fraying on the strap (see photos), but that’s about it. The all important engine: up to date tuneup services, fluid maintenance, etc. The odometer reading of 83,000 + miles is accurate, and it all feels right. Alternator voltage, fuel pressure and various other parameters are all tested good. The car is ready to enjoy, right now. The previous long term care, the low miles, and our expert stewardship of the car will provide the next owner with a wonderful driving experience of a very limited production high performance car.

While these are rare cars, they aren’t the most high profile Mercedes-Benzes with collectors, so values have stayed rather reasonable to the point where ordinary enthusiasts can afford them. This is a good thing and a bad thing, as more people can enjoy the awesomeness of this car, but then, they may fall prey to less than careful owners. I’ve seen some SLC 5.0s sell as low as $6,000 to $8,000 in recent times, so if I had to peg a value on this car, it would probably be anywhere from $11,000 to $15,000 on the high side.

-Paul

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5 Comments

  1. While I was never a big fan of the SLC, this particular one seem oddly appealing. I know it doesn’t really fit the profile, but I bet this would be fun with a 5-speed…

  2. Larry: it’s not much fun with a 5 speed. Mercedes Benz really doesn’t know the characteristics of a good manual transmission. Every one I’ve ever driven has suffered from long, rubbery throws and oddly spaced gearing.

    I drove one of these cars for a few days about 25 years ago. My main memory was that the drive felt quite similar to piloting a boat on water.

    The trouble with Gray Market cars like these was (at least back when they first arrived on our shores) that the conversions can vary widely in terms of what was done and how well it was done. I would assume that is less of a factor 20-30 years later.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and the buyer for this car is going to be someone who has always wanted one. For the same amount of money (around $15,000) you can also buy an 8-9 year old Mercedes Benz CL55 AMG, which is way more car.

  3. It’s like driving a boat? There goes one of my dreams. 🙁

  4. Kevin, I think you are accurate in your description. I’ve driven a few 560 and 450SLs in my time and they are somewhat ponderous and soft; not very sporting. I was always surprised by how much the front end would lift on acceleration. With the long hood, you do feel like you are on the water. Haven’t driven a 450SLC 5.0 or a 500SLC. I’m guessing it wouldn’t be too far off the mark from what I’ve experienced.

    Still, even with their drawbacks in terms of handling, I love the look and feel of these cars. Somehow, they are endearing to me.

  5. Pingback: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 300SL | German Cars For Sale Blog

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