When I think of homologation specials, there are all sorts of models that instantly pop into my head. Of course, being an Audi fan, the Sport Quattro is a great example of the insane Group B era. Of course, Group C spawned a whole series of special cars, from the RS200 and Lancia 037 to the Porsche 959. Thereâ€™s the special 924 Carrera GTS, as well â€“ a car few remember outside of Porsche circles, and one thatâ€™s often forgotten even by them. Then thereâ€™s the great period of DTM specials â€“ the â€œEvolutionsâ€ of the M3, 190E and V8 quattro that proved Darwin was right, and we just looked at the later 80 Competition. Of course, you can go back even further and look at one of the most special cars ever created â€“ the original Ferrari GTO â€“ to see a very special homologation of a race car. But outside of the big headlines, there are plenty of small production run cars that were created to jump through loopholes, and returning to my original Group B example, we can see one neat car that was created in order to run in World Rally. Itâ€™s not a car youâ€™d expect though â€“ itâ€™s the quite heavy and long Mercedes-Benz C107. Mercedes took steps to make it rally worthy, including lightweight aluminum panels in front and back, and of course upped the power with a new aluminum 5.0 V8:
The US-spec C107 Mercedes-Benz SLC probably isn’t going to win any beauty contests. Mercedes had their hands tied with bumper and headlight regulations and probably knew people were going to buy their cars regardless, so they put a band aid on it and that is what we live with. In countries who didn’t have to live with antiquated regulations, things were much better. Slim chrome bumpers and flat headlights plus some engine and transmission choices that made everything just a little bit more exciting. Luck would have it, this is what we have today.
This is a 1980 280SLC that was sold new in Germany and imported to California some time ago. It has the M110 2.8 liter inline-6 paired with a 4-speed manual gearbox, a combo that is rare to say the least. This seems like a far cry from the lumpy V8 and sluggish automatic that was offered to the US buyers when new. Is this a Porsche 911 or E30 BMW M3? Of course not. It’s a car that wasn’t very attractive nor fun to drive and is now slight less of that. Right?
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC on eBay
The majority of the time, I can ”figure out” a car pretty quickly. I usually give them a quick glance, form an opinion on them, then move on to the next interesting car. Not with this one. Not with this 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC.
It started out harmless enough. A listing for a $1,500 for a 280SLC. Naturally I’m intrigued by this. The 280SLC with the M110 inline-6 engine was never officially sold in North America so this was a big plus for me. Then I peeked inside and saw a manual transmission – things are looking even better. Yes, it’s pretty rough looking, but the extra parts the seller is throwing in with the car could make this deal worth it especially since one of the parts looks to be a real pre-merger AMG bumper. But when I really started to do some digging into this car I was just confused.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC on eBay
Lost in the sea of Mercedes-Benz R107s is the SLC that is one of those ”Oh yeah, I remember those” cars because honestly, you just don’t see them anymore. I’ve checked them out before, but none like this one for sale in New Jersey. This is the ultra-rare 500SLC 5.0 which doesn’t sound like much right now, but let me explain.
Mercedes-Benz actually ran the SLC in the FIA World Rally Championships and in order to do so, they had the homologate the cars as they ran 5.0 liter V8 SLCs in the races. Mercedes wwas only making the 4.5 liter cars at the time so a 5.0 liter car for the streets was necessary. Like most homologated cars, the production numbers were extremely low with justÂ 1,133 500SLCs being made over a few years. None of these cars were ever made for North America, but somehow there is really nice for sale in America’s favorite state. But the price? All those creme puff 560SL owners will be jealous.
Click for details: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SLC 5.0 on eBay
Produced between 1971 and 1981, the C107 was a fixed roof, four seater coupe based on a longer version of the R107 chassis. Badged as an SLC, it was effectively an SL in 2+2 configuration, with a modest amount of room in the back for a couple of (small) adults. TheÂ 4.5 liter V8 in the 450Â put out a meagreÂ 190 hp, so itÂ wasn’t all thatÂ fast. But it was, and remains, a gorgeous and classy cruiser whose looks neatly capture that moment at which theÂ design language of the late 1960s began to give way to that of the 1970s.Â Even in elongated form, the car retains the timeless good looks of the SL. ThoseÂ pleated, curtain-looking louvres behind the rear windows?Â I always thought they simply gave rear passengers a bit of privacy while also letting in someÂ light. But a bit of internet researchÂ reveals they have another purpose. They allow for shorter rear windows that canÂ slide downwards into the body without hitting a wheel arch. This means the car can retain a completely pillar-less look. A typically German solution to a problem: practical and elegant at the same time.