A variant sold under the C107 model, the Mercedes Benz 380SLC was known for its powerful engine, distinctly shaped exterior, and reliability. The SLC or SL coupe was in production from 1971 to 1981, but the SLC with a 3.8 L engine or 380SLC was in production for only two years (from 1980 to 1981). Despite having only two production years, a total of 3,789 Mercedes Benz 380SLC units were built. Today, this model continues to attract attention from Mercedes Benz fans and second-hand buyers looking for an old Bimmer with lots of personality.
1971: An SLC version for the C107 entered the market
The history of the Mercedes Benz 380SLC can be traced back to 1971, when the R107 (SL) and C107 (SLC) models were introduced. This series was the second-longest running one, further strengthening Mercedes Benz’s grasp on the global automotive industry. The SL was a two-seater roadster that came with a soft top (standard) and a hard top (optional), as well as optional rear bench seats that could be folded away. The SLC was basically an expanded version of the SL in order to accommodate regular rear seats. Engine variants for the SLC models were 350, 450, and 5.0. However, units with these engine configurations were discontinued to make way for the 380 and 500 SLC variants.
1980: The 380SLC was introduced
In March of 1980, the 380SLC variant was introduced. A minor upgrade was also done on all models; the original three-speed automatic was dropped to make way for the four-speed transmission. The 380SLC was equipped with a front-mounted V8 engine and a Bosch mechanical fuel system with an airflow sensor. The engine produced 218 horsepower and 224.3 lb/ft. of torque. It also came with an independent front and rear suspension, a diagonal-pivot axle and double wishbones.
The 380SLC’s exterior was distinctly styled, prompting many to consider this model and other units under the series as some of the best-looking vehicles made by Mercedes Benz. For US models, they had to be fitted with upgraded bumpers to meet federal standards. Throughout its two years of production, no upgrades were made on the 380SLC model. In 1981, the SLC variant was discontinued to make way for more SL units.
The Mercedes Benz 380SLC today
Nowadays, the 380SLC continues to be a reminder of Mercedes Benz’s achievements and success as it continues to raise standards in automotive engineering. Backed by a powerful v8 engine and reliable transmission, the 380SLC continues to attract fans and buyers searching for a classic Bimmer that oozes with style and personality. As a matter of fact, several clubs and groups have been established to cater to car owners who love to preserve, tinker with, and modify R107 and C107 models.