1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC Euro-Spec – REVISIT

While prices of the E24, 928 and Mercedes-Benz C126 models continue to rise, the C107 still offers plenty of Mercedes-Benz build quality, some racing heritage and European style on an affordable budget. The styling of the big coupe isn’t for everyone, but European models such as this 380SLC really clean up the lines in my mind. On top of that, it features the hotter Euro 380 motor with 215 horsepower – some 60 more than the U.S. version. With a price drop of $3,000 since this summer to a Buy It Now of $11,900, this looks like a very clean example that offers a lot of unique, classic car for the money.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay

The below post originally appeared on our site June 19, 2015:

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the C107; most I see seem to be tatty, bloated and tired. They appear forlorn and forgotten, the model that Mercedes-Benz made to fill a gap that probably didn’t really exist. Mercedes-Benz reversed engineered their roadster R107 SL into a fixed-head coupe – something they very, very seldom do, and the result was…well, let’s be honest, not the best looking Mercedes-Benz product ever produced. That’s especially true of the U.S. bound examples, which were not only laden with the U.S. mandated circus funhouse bumper-car bumpers, but additionally had emissions equipment that turned powerful V8s into anemic gasoholics. How bad was it? Well, not as bad as some of the “muscle cars” coming out of Detroit like the Mustang managed 140 horsepower out of the 4.9 liter V8 under the hood. Slightly more powerful was the Pontiac Trans-Am, which managed to eek 155-160 horsepower out of 6 liters of V8. From that perspective, the 155 horsepower that the U.S. bound 380SLC produced wasn’t that bad – but it was far from impressive. Remove the constraints of the U.S. borders from the SLC, though, and it emerged from it’s Harrison Bergeron-esque chains as a competent sports-coupe. The top of the heap were the 5-liter equipped models, with aluminum hoods and trunks meant to lighten the car for International Rally competition. But even the lowly 380SLC in European guise wasn’t a slouch, with 215 horsepower and 221 lb.-ft of torque. Those numbers were near identical to the obvious competition – the BMW 635CSi, though the E24 was a few hundred pounds lighter and more fun on the back roads. On the Autobahn, though, the trip to the Alps with your small family would be achieved just as fast and with more luxury:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay


Year: 1980
Model: 380SLC
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 75,502 mi
Price: $11,900 Buy It Now

Here is an ultra rare 1980 European model 380SLC. Similar to the very coveted European spec 500SLC. The European model 380SLC started production in March of 1980 and featured a 218hp engine, only 27 horsepower less than the beastly 500SLC. Unfortunately US bound 380SLC were plaqued with heavy emissions regulations and the hp dropped to a mere 155hp. They also had imposing large 5 mph bumpers unsightly at best, but nothing in comparision to the elegance of the European models. US models also had a single timing chain which was prone to failure and required an expensive retrofit. Mercedes quietly covered most of the early cars. All Euro models had double timing chains from the factory to accomodate the higher output of those engines.For the 1981 US bound SLC model range, the 450SLC was retired and the 380SLC was then available to US customers. Only 1501 380SLC’s were imported, and only 684 produced for the German market making it one of the rarest of the R/C107 lineup. 237,287 R107 SL’s were produced from 1971-1989, and 62,888 SLC’s were produced from 1971-1982 making it far rarer than the convertible SL model. Most have succumed to rust or have been used as parts cars to restore SL’s. Its estimated that less than 2500 SLC’s exist today.Very similar to the beloved R107 convertible, popularly known as the 450SL, 380SL, and 560SL, the SLC was a more practical car able to seat four people comfortably. European model SL’s had a small seat in the rear, only usuable for children. This option was not available to US customers.The SLC was meant to be a replacement for the much loved W111 280SE coupe, a grand traditional coupe with an upright grille. Both cars being pillarless coupes, the SLC was aimed towards a sports car more so than a grand tourer. As production ended in 1971 in came a new look and a new model and the R107 was an instant hit. The SLC remained the most expensive model in the Mercedes lineup until it was repalced by the C126 S-class derived 380/500SEC models.This one owner car was lovingly cared for and is remarkably well preserved. Its traveled only 75k miles and is rust free. Finished in Signal Red, the paint is smooth shiny and dent free. There are some minor parking lot chips, but hardly noticeable.. There is no rust on the front frame rails, a common fatal problem, and also none on the jack points. It has its original spare tire, jack, and warning triangle, alone with its tool kit. The chrome around the car is not pitted and is beatifully deep and rich, not faded or oxidized. The best part about this car is it has the optional velour interior, an option at the time costing as much as leather. Most of the 1960’s 600 models had velour as it was considered at the time to be the ultimate in luxury, especially in cold climates. The interior smells clean and fresh, the windows and sunroof work perfectly. The wood is deep and rich not faded like most SL’s and the dashboard is crack free as well.This car runs strong and fast, almost imperceptable in the way a 500SLC drives, but far different than the sluggish US 380 models. The only exterior difference from the 500SLC is that it does not have a black rubber rear spoiler. Personally I prefer models without it. Please call with any questions. 561.309.4626

Freed from U.S. equipment, this 1980 380SLC definitely falls into the “love” column of my dynamic relationship with the C107. The Signal Red paint is absolutely brilliant, and while it’s flashy it’s met by just the right amount of chrome to both set it off and not overpower the mix in either direction. With the U.S. bumpers, the cheapened look of the black rubberized end-caps detracts from the aesthetic that it would be easy to entirely discount the model as a poor design. But here, slimmed down and cleaned up, it’s once again a handsome coupe accented by the shining Bundt alloys. As with nearly all of these Mercedes-Benz models, I’d really have preferred that the original glass lights had remained instead of the swap to the 4-headlight units, but replacements can be found. That alone would really complete the exterior for me, which otherwise is top notch. Inside is the velour interior which has worn very well, and the Spartan dashboard is a reminder that luxury doesn’t necessary mean every single gadget available. The clean wood trim is allowed to represent the top-tier construction, rather than a myriad of switches and dials. Out of place here is only the radio, which again could be sorted. Not much mechanical history is provided, but with lower miles and a very clean appearance, the asking price of just below $15,000 falls right in line with what a 2nd tier 380SLC. The desirability of this model may be slightly below a 5 liter model, but I think all things considered it’s appropriately priced for a handsome European coupe.

-Carter

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