When you say Mercedes Benz, the first thing that comes to mind is usually luxury or elegance. The style of the Benz, be it a convertible, sedan, or SUV, is second to none. With its distinct style, Mercedes Benz hasn’t ceased to capture a particular segment in the American market. Some of the best-looking cars it has created include the R107 and C107. These vehicles were rolled out from 1971 to 1989. With close to a 20-year stint, the R107 and C107 are the second longest single series produced by the automaker, right after the G-Class. These vehicles were sold under the SL, for the R107, and SLC, for the C107, models. These included the Mercedes Benz 450SL, among others.
1973: And then came the Mercedes Benz 450 SL
Mass production of the R107 or 350SL began in 1971. After just several months, the 350SLC also came out. These Mercedes Benz vehicles entered the North American market by 1972. They were initially called the 350SL. The vehicle that came equipped with a larger 4.5L V8 engine was later called the 450SL, renamed for the 1973 model. When the 450SL/SLC was launched in markets other than North America in 1973, the bigger V8 engine was also offered. Back in 1972 to 1975, the Bosch D Jetronic fuel injection system, an earlier version of the electronic engine management system, was used by US vehicles. By 1974, a fuel-injected 2.8L straight-6 became an option for both the SL and SLC. These models were known as the 280 SL and SLC. US models sold from 1976 till 1979 were equipped with the Bosche K Jetronic system, a mechanical fuel injection system. These models then used the 4.5L engine, becoming known as the 450 SL/SLC.
In 1977, the 450SLC 5.0 eventually became part of the lineup as a special version of the coupe. This came with an all-aluminum 5L V8 engine, along with a black rubber rear spoiler, a small front lip spoiler, and an aluminum alloy boot lid and bonnet. The 450SLC 5.0 also came out in time for the 1978 World Rally Championship.
1980: The final year of the Mercedes Benz 450SL
The 450SL rolled out only until 1980. Various problems were associated with it. The 1975 and 1976 models, for instance, had an issue with the vapor lock. Some also complained about a difficult restart, which was attributed to the placement of the catalytic converter under the hood. Eventually, the converter was transferred to the back of the transmission in the exhaust. The automatic climate control system of some 450SLs and 380SLs also became an issue. Models manufactured after 1981 were then given a better automatic climate control system. Although this was rather short-lived, the Mercedes Benz 450SL did leave a good impression to some Mercedes Benz lovers and classic car enthusiasts. This paved the way for sleeker, more reliable Mercedes Benz designs.