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Color is everything on a vintage car for me, and some colors seem to work better than others on certain models. Today’s car, a 1980 Mercedes-Benz 500SEL, might be one of those “love it or hate it” examples.
This is a grey-market car that probably was imported when new judging by the door plaque, and it is finished in the very-rare shade of Signal Red. I don’t believe this color was ever offered on any US-market W126s because who wants a red S-Class? I know the 1980s were a wild time, but your SL was supposed to be red, not your very serious S-Class. However, now that this car is 40 years old, is it officially cool enough where the color doesn’t matter?
When someone says “engine swap” on an old car, my mind automatically goes to a big V8 swap in an American muscle car. It certainly doesn’t go to today’s car.
What we have is a 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL with a Toyota 1JZ-GTE turbocharged inline-six. Talk about an odd couple. The R107 is so far from the tuner-culture 1JZ that I’m really struggling to see who this appeals to. Toyota fans who want something classy? Or R107 fans who want easy power? Either way, I am extremely impressed with this build. Something I don’t say often.