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:
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, but plenty more images pass through my mind, too. Of course, Group C spawned a whole series of special cars, from the RS200 and Lancia 037 to the Porsche 959. There’s the special 924 Carrera GTS, for example – a car few remember outside of Porsche circles, and one that’s often forgotten even by them. Then there’s the great period of DTM specials – the “Evolutions” of the M3, 190E and V8 quattro that proved Darwin was right. Of course, you can go back even further and look at one of the most special cars ever created – the original Ferrari GTO – 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. It’s not a car you’d expect though – it’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 all aluminum 5.0 V8:
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 on eBay
Carter’s post on the Euro market Mercedes-Benz 450SLC had me thinking it was time to revisit a favorite Mercedes of mine. In the wake of rising R107 SL prices, values for its hardtop sibling, the SLC have stayed relatively flat. We have, though, seen a few very choice examples over the past couple years, this low mileage 380SLC being one of them. Model year 1981 would be the last year for the SLC, with the introduction of the 3.8 liter V8 and 3-speed automatic. A total of 3,789 were built, which is rather impressive for just one year. This would be the only four-place Mercedes coupe based on an SL chassis, as the following model year would see the introduction of the much more popular C126 SEC.
CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC on eBay
Towards the end of the C107 run, Mercedes-Benz decided to try its hand at rallying, and entered the 450SLC 5.0 into the 1978 World Rally Championship. This of course spawned a homolgated street version of the rally car in the form of the 450SLC 5.0 and later, 500SLC. There were some significant changes to these performance coupes, most notably a V8 engine pumping out 240 horsepower, aluminum hood and decklid and a small rear spoiler. The 500SLC would debut in March of 1980 with slightly less displacement than the V8 in the 450SLC 5.0 but now with a 4-speed automatic gearbox in place of the previous 3-speed unit. Given these were a homologation special, of course, few were made. Only 1,133 500SLCs left the factory. The Canary Islands isn’t where you would typically expect to find such a rare Mercedes, but with one owner since 1984, it is quite the find.
Click for details: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 500SLC on eBay
While the R107 Mercedes-Benz is fast becoming the quintessential classic Mercedes-Benz, itâ€™s hardtop sibling, the C107 SLC coupe has been relegated to a bit of obscurity in the annals of automotive history. It was a curious offering, a large Mercedes coupe based off the smaller SL roadster. I always wondered what would have became of the SLC if Mercedes developed it fully to the end of the R107 run, but with the introduction of the SEC coupe in 1982, it was not to be. This 1976 450SLC is a one family owned car and smack dab in the middle of the production run. With just over 54,000 miles on the clock, this is one to watch.