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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.
One of my favorite configurations of cars is ‘business on the outside, party on the inside’. A reverse mullet of sorts. What I mean is, a car that has a standard appearance on the exterior, usually a subdued color, but a totally bright and wild interior. Usually you can just peak inside the windows to see something happening in there and it is all the more interesting once you finally get a full look inside. Today’s car, a 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450SL up for sale in California, is exactly that.
Imagine walking into a Mercedes-Benz dealer today and saying “Yes, I’m in the market for a new SL. Do you have one in yellow?” The…
Over the past few weeks, we’ve covered pretty much the range of SL products from the awesome 300SL Roadster Andrew found through yesterday’s Mineral Green R129 500SL. When it comes to the R107 model, the second longest production cycle for Mercedes-Benz (only outdone by the stone-age G), generally we spend most of our time looking at the more prevalent and popular 560 models. Seemingly synonymous with the 1980s, Signal Red SLs are often flanked by black and white models. But let’s not forget that the R107 was a child of the 1970s, and when you head back to the beginning of the production cycle the colors become fittingly bell-bottomed. Suddenly, the red, black and whites are replaced by cream, browns, and greens – and while the colors can really date the chassis, occasionally they look pretty spectacular. Such is the case with today’s unique U.S. specification 450SL from 1973, only the second year of R107 production. Presented in DB-860 Green with green MB Tex and dash, the only thing missing is Carly Simon’s “You’re so vain” playing in the background:
Probably one of the most clichéd cars ever, the R107 was everywhere in the 1970s and 1980s. Probably it is because it lived a long enough life that a child could be conceived in it, then sent off to college and Mercedes-Benz were still selling them on their showroom floors. From Magnum, P.I., to Dallas, to Knight Rider – even Wonder Woman drove one of these. I’m still trying to piece together how she afforded a $32,000 car (over $140,000 in today’s dollars) on a government salary. What that left us with today is a market full of used R107s that are harder to get rid of than free kittens. Go jump on Craiglist and search ‘Mercedes SL’ and you’ll find listing after listing of these parked in front of nice but clearly dated homes with phrases like ”time to let her go” and ”I have the original hardtop too!!” I usually don’t even bother looking at R107 ads anymore but this one caught my eye. The rare color of Cayenne Orange and a sparse 6,600 miles had me curious. So if you aren’t tired enough of seeing R107s for sale, let’s check this 1977 450SL out in North Carolina.