SL. Is there anything more evocative than these two letters, set side by side in chrome trim on the rear end of an aged Benz? Evocative of power, lightness, technical prowess and style – that’s the magic of the SL tag. Evocative of parvenu overindulgence, eye-watering expense and gutless engines – that is the other side of the SL… These semi-contradictory features really came together in the third generation of SLs, the R107/C107.
First off, what’s with the model code? Was it W107? Perhaps originally, but Mercedes saw it fit to provide their roadsters with a new “R” prefix from the R107 on. The “C” prefix being for hardtops. And by convention (or because the drop-top came first and/or lasted much longer), this third generation SL is usually called R107/C107. The W107 nametag is an acceptable and widely used substitute, but I’ll avoid that one here to remove a beef patty of confusion from the multi-layered alphanumeric super-sized McBenz meal we’re about to ingest.
Let’s start by a quick gander at the one I found, parked sans license plates in a low-rise part of Bangkok. Whoever just bought (or is trying to sell) this car in Bangkok would fit right into the local traffic with that colour. Asians have a preference for white cars, but bright colours such as this are also quite popular, and the ubiquitous taxis all wear very loud pinks, blues, greens and yellows.
Some have professed their appreciation of yellow Benzes – to each their own. If nothing else, this is a very period colour that works well with the big hardtop shape. It might not be my first choice, certainly in this country. It is a well-known fact that Thai politics are quite heavily colour-coded. One side, the populist centre-left, are “Reds”, the conservative right-wing being the “Yellows.” As a foreigner, one is better off avoiding these colours altogether.
But let’s leave symbols to the symbol-minded and dig a little bit through the SLC’s ancestry and creation. The 107 project was launched in 1965, starting with a variety of approaches for the new ‘70s SL look penned by Paul Bracq, Gérard Cardiet, Giorgio Battistellas and many others. While horizontal headlights were baked in to the car from the beginning, it seems there was more hesitation with the tail design.
The previous generations, as pretty much everybody reading this already knows thanks to this excellent post, started with the legendary 1953-57 300SL “Gullwing” coupé and 1957-63 300SL roadster (W198), which used the W188/189 “Adenauer” 3-litre straight-6. A more affordable and handsome (but reputedly sluggish) 4-cyl. 190SL roadster (W121 B2) joined the 300SL from 1955 to 1963.
Then came the Barényi/Bracq-designed second generation, usually referred as the Pagoda, due to its unusual roof (though I’m not personally aware of any pagodas that share any of that car’s greenhouse design). The W113 Pagoda, made from 1963 to 1971, aimed to replace the two SL platforms with only one, offering a choice of three 6-cyl. engines from 2.3 to 2.8 litres. What it gained in terms of sales (twice more than the 1st generation), it lost in terms of exclusivity.
The Pagoda’s days drew to a close, as did the big W111 coupé / cabriolet’s. A new top-of-the-range W116 saloon – now referred to as the S-Class – was being developed in parallel with the new SL – as a saloon only. The plan was essentially to blend the two-door W111/S-Class and the Pagoda together to make a large, comfortable drop-top and/or coupé, aimed chiefly at the US market. The SL could no longer be restricted to the 2- to 3-litre category. This meant the first SL with a V8.
It also meant quite a bit of cross-pollination, style-wise, between the W116 and the 107 twins. Yet in terms of chassis, the two are quite different: the SL was based on W114 Strich Acht underpinnings, including its new new rear trailing arm suspension (to replace the swing axles) and ball-joint front suspension, both of which also found their way into the W116. Who wore that big-lapel, flared-trouser suit of ‘70s Mercedes grooviness (if that is the word I want) best?
The issue, of course, is that the SL’s development required more than the usual amount of fittings at the tailor. The R107 design was decided upon, after much soul-searching and a few internal arguments, in June 1968: the new SL would be a two-seater soft-top, with an optional Pagoda-style hardtop. The coupé fell through the cracks. Stylistically, the ideas were coalescing towards a minor Mercedes revolution: horizontal headlights, a smaller grille, striated rocker panels and Barényi’s famed safety rear lamps – the new SL was going to break new ground.
It was also going to break the scale. The SL was now a wide, two-tonne personal car – perfectly in keeping with current trends. But trends can turn around. The personal coupé was certainly a trend that Mercedes ought to be a part of, thought some folks in Sindelfingen. One person in particular, Head of body design Karl Wilfert, never forgot about the SL coupé. Under his own authority, Wilfert presented a potential C107 “SLC” coupé at a Board meeting (probably sometime in early 1969). Unavoidably, the method used to make the SLC was unorthodox: the roadster’s platform was stretched by 24 cm, allowing for a pair of (small) rear seats to be added. The R107’s doors stayed as were, and a pillarless coupe roof was added to the ensemble. He had to review his draft a few times, but Wilfert ended up getting the C107 greenlit.
That was not a foregone conclusion. As this Bracq design for a W116-derived SLC (generously provided to yours truly by a Don who shall remain nameless) shows, there was also a consideration that the R107 stretch might not be the best solution to fill the void. The hidden headlamps are a bit too Mercury-esque for my taste, but the car’s proportions are much more harmonious than the C107 that ended up on the production line. And the delayed planning and decision-making meant a delayed introduction: six months after the roadster, the C107 debuted at the big autumn 1971 European car shows.
These new SLs made quite a sensation. Both cars were launched with a 3.5 litre 197 hp V8 — a big departure from the SL tradition, and a welcome one for many. The US version, only available with the de-smogged 190 hp 4.5 litre engine from MY 1972, initially kept the 350SL/SLC badges of the European cars. By 1973, markets outside North America could opt for the 450SL/SLC (4.5 litre V8, 222 hp) or the cheaper 280SL/SLC (2.7 litre straight-6, 182 hp). The SL/SLC range, now fully formed, carried on through the decade with few changes – other than a lot of ponies going missing over the years and across the board. These engines mirrored those also available on the S-Class saloon, making the SL/SLC more closely associated with the range-topping saloon than the previous generation was.
The W116 saloon did propose something that the R107/C107 never has: the 6.9 litre V8 with hydropneumatic suspension. The 6.9 saloon was much faster and even more expensive than the SLs. That, and of course the 600 limo (which might have lasted into the ‘80s with a bit of cosmetic surgery), was the true peak of the range. The SL was just below that – exclusive, but not uncommon, especially in the wealthier parts of the world. Fast, but not especially sporting. Definitely more a W111 successor than a ‘70s Gullwing.
This is especially true of the SLC. There is nothing here that says “take me to a racetrack and let’s show ‘em what we got.” What we have is a relatively portly, solid-looking personal coupé. A cruiser, not a racer. Yet strangely enough, it was the SLC that Mercedes fielded for their new rally car, complete with a new all-alloy 5-litre V8 providing 240 hp (DIN). Unusually for a rally car, the 1977 450SLC 5.0 came with automatic transmission – which did not seem to hamper its success in the slightest. For homologation purposes and/or because that was the plan all along, the 5-litre SLC was offered from model year 1978 in Europe and Japan, but never in North America. Soon renamed 500SLC, the ultimate C107 was provided with (necessary?) spoilers and plastic cladding that did not do the design any favours.
Despite this unexpected sporting success late in life, the SLC was up for the chop. The new generation S-class (W126), to debut in late 1980, was to include a C126 four-seater coupé (above). Much better to switch over to the new platform. The R107 roadster, though, was allowed to continue for another nine years. This is unusual, but one should bear in mind the convertible bodies, in those days, had become rather scarce due to the looming threat of legislation outlawing these types of vehicles. The threat was serious enough that Detroit deleted the body style by 1977. Mercedes therefore had the US market to themselves, along with other imports, while the Sword of Damocles of impending (but never materialized) US safety regulations meant no successor to the R107 until further notice.
Once the threat cleared in the early ‘80s, a new SL roadster could be developed; in the meantime, the R107 was given new engines, including a 3-litre straight-6 – re-establishing the “magic” 300SL nameplate – as well as a US-only 5.6 litre V8, the biggest (but not the most powerful) thing ever put on the platform. The R107 roadster’s exceptional longevity (1971-1989) allowed it to reach unheard-of production numbers: around 237,000 units made. By comparison, less than 2000 of the 1957-63 300SL roadsters were built. The C107 had a shorter life (1972-81), but around 60,000 were made, half of which had the 4.5 litre V8. Additionally, about 2700 of the exclusive 5-litre SLCs found a home (or a palace of some description) from 1978 to 1981.
The Euro/global and the North American SL ranges led parallel lives. American regulations meant that substantial modifications had to be made to all imports – no matter how precious. The sealed-beam headlights, the ginourmous rubber bumpers (after 1973) and the asthmatic engines were the new reality in Mercedes-Benz’s number one market. They didn’t bother offering a manual transmission, either. Half of the SL/SLCs went Stateside, so this somewhat deformed version of the car is, unfortunately, what most people saw at the dealerships. And then they looked at the price.
M-Bs in general and SLs in particular were always pretty expensive. The third generation was no different, especially on the western shores of the pond. Ford took the opportunity to underscore the Benz’s Ferrari-level pricing in a typical ‘60s/‘70s PR product, the “cheeky false comparison” ad. Yes, the German supercar costs six times more than the humble Granada, but it’s not six times better when you look at the specs, is it now, Mr Jones? Let us cherry-pick some data to demonstrate this interesting factoid, blah blah blah…
People aren’t that stupid though. Whoever ordered a Mercedes R107/C107 SL knew they were getting a superbly-built, designed and engineered automobile, as well as one of the safest cars ever made, not some cheap FoMoCo death trap. The guy in the Grenada knew that too. High pricing actually worked in M-B’s favour, adding to the car’s (already immense) snob appeal. In a place like Thailand, where this car was (probably) bought new in 1974, only a few local élites and foreigners could afford a car like this.
The big problem some folks seem to have with the C107’s design is the greenhouse. The (perceived) half-arsed, neither-fish-nor-fowl nature of this car’s B-pillar / venetian blind catastrophuck of a roof section has, to a considerable body of opinion, a detrimental effect on the whole damn car.
The contrarian in me is tempted by an all-out defense of the C107 and of Herr Wilfert’s worthy efferts. The C107 was really the S-Class coupé. Lashings of chrome trim needed to be applied (in chunks!) with abandon on the window frames – there was no other way. The car had to have a pillarless design. Yes, even if that meant actually having a B-pillar in the wrong place. And hiding that fixed rear window with the infamous blinds – artifice, sleight-of-hand or trickery?
As nice as the interior is though, I can’t really defend this car. It is far from being the best design M-B made in the ‘70s, let alone the history of the company. That’s not to say that a normal/Euro-spec model is not a good-looking car, but once you know this SLC was a sort of afterthought, you can’t unsee it. One might put it in the same category as the Jaguar E-Type 2+2 – a botched compromise that may lead to passionate calls of heresy.
The fact remains these things sold very well, in spite of a number of gremlins that affected the car’s image somewhat. This is probably why the R107/C107 is still in a bit of a limbo on the classic car market. A lot of cars still around, but few very good ones exist (especially in non-US-spec). The relatively common nature of the species has kept this car stuck in the “luxury banger” category, alongside the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow, the Jaguar XJS, the Citroën SM or the de Tomaso-era Maseratis.
The Benz has a better reputation than most in terms of reliability, but it’s up there in operational costs. If it’s about as much trouble (and as much money) to buy and run any exotic ‘70s/’80s grand tourer, why pick the all-too-common Mercedes? Besides, nobody “good” or “cool” every drives these cars on TV. SLs were standard issue for a range of stock villains: the guilty socialite in Columbo, the drug kingpin in ‘80s cop dramas, the nasty rich bitch, the shady foreigner or the slimy lawyer – they all drove SLs. Them and Bobby Ewing. Not a great crowd, especially since the car really fit the part.
I don’t know if there are that many druglords, wealthy heiresses and high-class murderers in the ‘70s and ‘80s, but there were a lot of SLs. The R107/C107’s main failings, in the end, were its longevity and high sales, which ended up affecting the SL image. The supercar-priced Benz is too common and too portly (or underpowered) to turn heads. I would have relished finding any of the above-mentioned “luxury banger” crowd, but I only photographed this C107 because 1). it had the chrome bumpers, 2). was in good nick and 3). it wasn’t a roadster. Not sure I would have bothered much had one of those three conditions not been there.
But hey, it’s still a 40-plus year old Benz. I wouldn’t throw that 350 SLC away if I were given it. Might give it a coat of something less eye-popping, but still, it’s a nice big S-Class coupé. Which is not a bad thing in and of itself. It just isn’t an SL.
Portlandia Outtake: Mercedes 450SLC and Bonus 1973 Ford F250, by PN
CC Capsule: Mercedes-Benz 450 SL – Classic Is Always Trendy, by Jim Grey
COAL (COJL) – 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL – Some Dreams Should Stay That Way, by Saabaru
Cohort Outtake: Mercedes-Benz 450SL – The Ultimate Beater?, by Perry Shoar
CC For Sale: Mercedes 450 SL – Actually It’s Gone Already, Thankfully, by PN
My Curbside Classic: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SLC — In A Class Of Its Own , by Robert Forrest
CC Outtake/QOTD: Mercedes 280SL Spoiled By Spoiler – What’s The Worst Looking Factory Spoiler?, by PN
Lady across the road from me says snap.
I’m still in two minds about this shape, I’ve seen in in black which really suits it as well as metallic green which also works. As much as I like a bright hue I’m not enamoured with Mercedes Safety Orange (or close to) on this body.
Don, does this neighbour own (from memory) a stud farm or somesuch? I used to see a lady in a new-ish W210 and later a spanking W211 pottering about Melbourne in just that roadworks yellow, with greenish writing. It seems too coincidental that this SLC should have the same shade.
Not sure Justy. No other M-Bs in their garage that I can see.
Looks like a fox body Mustang especially in mustard yellow
I can understand where people are coming from when they say they don’t like this. It is sort of an awkward design, one that I think compared to the W123 and W116, doesn’t work as a cohesive whole. I think the later C126 did this concept much better from a pure styling standpoint and if I’m being honest, I don’t think the R107 is one of the better designs Mercedes Benz has had. Part of that is overexposure, part of it is the US spec butchering, and part of it is just that it went on for too long. Even though I do have overall positive feelings towards the design as whole, I do think in some respects, there does seem to be something about it that doesn’t fully work. I don’t know how to explain it, but I just feel like there’s something missing that would fully bring it together. I feel like the latter R129 is a much more cohesive and well executed design, even if it is very reminiscent of the time period in which it was released. But, I am not going to lie, there is something about the 107 series as whole that I still like, this C107 included. It still has that classic Benz design language, a design language that even if I don’t trip myself over loving 100 percent of the time, still has my respect in how confident and well put together it is.
Although, regarding the black and white picture of the 450SEL and the car below that, I have to ask. Was that an actual 600 that was put into production, or was that a planned concept refresh that made it into the metal? I’m curious, because all of the 600s I’ve seen in pictures, still have the traditional early 60s front end styling and I think they kept with that styling until they were discontinued. I’m just curious as to if the 600 was updated with the 70s W123 style front end or if that was little more than a concept showing that was built as one off. I would certainly think that if the latter was the case, Mercedes could’ve kept the 600 going just a little bit more if they updated it with that style of front end. (Although, I’m sure the demand for a car like the 600 started to become almost nonexistent by the time the mid-70s came around.)
AFAIK, the 600 facelift was done in 1977 – I guess that Daimler were trying to see about prolonging the limo’s life through the ’80s. After all, there were still quite a few of the old beasts around: the Phantom VI, the DS420, the Fleetwood 75, etc.
The M-B looks quite Soviet by comparison, doesn’t it? If I can dig up the rear pic, I’ll post it under here.
The 600 never received a facelift during its (almost) 20 year run. What is depicted above is a styling proposal that never made it into production.
Thanks for an in-depth look at how this car came about. As a car mad but pretty ignorant teenager in the 70’s there always seemed something odd about this car, too long and narrow, ungainly tall glasshouse, sitting too high on its rear suspension, it looked like a lashup, after the superb Merc’s of the 60’s. Reading this I guess my instinct wasn’t far off.
Thanks Tatra, as a very long term SLC owner in Oz I love reading about my car. BTW: 560 SLs in Japan and Australia. These especially, of all the 107s, are nudging 6 figures.
I actually like the roof and the weird b-pillar/blinds. Where the design doesn’t work for me is the body stretch without longer doors. This puts the rear wheel right in the middle of the rear quarter which somehow looks awkward. That may be the only thing the Granada does better. 🙂
Customer; “Never mind how the Granada compares to a Mercedes, how does it compare to a Nova?”
Ford salesman; “Um….”
This was always one of those cars that I felt pressured to love more than I actually do. Thank you for putting some of my feelings into words. As in most things, it feels good to not be alone.
It seems that the only thing this car did really, really well was snob appeal. And it was so successful in that way (at least in its season) that its high numbers have now taken that away from the car, leaving us with a much better executed German Cordoba.
I have pictures of a later SL in about this color. It has become one of those cars I *should* write about but I just cannot find the motivation.
I worked for a guy who drove a 1979 Mercedes 450 SLC. He bought it new. He sold it when it was 5 years old. I don’t think he ever had 3 month stretch where that car wasn’t in the shop for something. At 5 years rust was starting to eat it so he bailed. I liked the styling, but never envied his ownership of it.
I seem to see a lot of these in Brisbane and I have to echo J.P. here: these have never done anything for me. An S-Class is more likely to get my attention, especially a nice W126. Or even the following generation of SL. It’s this SL’s ubiquity that tarnishes its appeal in my eyes. And I understand the snob appeal, and I know convertibles often had lengthy model runs back in the day, but this generation of SL was sold for so long…
The subsequent R129 also had a lot of appearances in movie and TV, which has made it more memorable and perhaps more desirable in my eyes. Who could forget Goldie Hawn and Bruce Willis pouring liquor in the cabin of Meryl Streep’s SL? Or Whoopi Goldberg and Dianne Wiest putting a skeleton behind the wheel of one in The Associate and blowing it up? Or crazy black widow Joan Cusack’s SL in Addams Family Values?
Somebody had an idea of turning C107 into a rallye car. This car was parked close to my neighbourhood in Munich. I do dig those gold BBS alloy wheels!
White-wall tires on a MB 450 SLC, nice…….
As in the last post, I prefer these over the convertible.
I understand all the criticisms, the Jag E-type 2+2 factor, but it is close to an eccentric Benz as exists. The slats, the Studebaker curvy backlight. Look at the profile shot in the Ford ad: mentally snip off the 11 feet of US bumpers, and that’s an elegant shape. (Avoid the classic front or rear 3/4 view – the US spec red one on alloys in the photo looks bloody gormless. Hell, if you’ve got one, you’re rich, don’t park it that way). Both coupe and convertible are cursed by by their dour, heavy, oversized faces, but at least the coupe has the length that sort-of counterbalances that. Both also are blighted by wheels shyly loitering somewhere under the car (and both benefit greatly from the enlargening effect of wheelcaps instead of Bundts). Neither are Mercs finest hour, but the SLC wins. It certainly looks exclusive, it looks serious and expensive. Which it sure was. “This was no committee effort, it’s Mercedes-Benz you know, they must have designed it that way for a reason.” (Serious, knowing nods).
I’ll add, without looking anyone in the eye, that I’ve always thought that, while the vaunted Pagoda is a beautiful car, it’s just a tiny bit boring. Putting aside the ubiquity of the SL styling bits, the SLC surely isn’t dull.
There was actually a TV show in which the hero and heroin both drove an SL… Hart to Hart. Actually, I believe it was a yellow 450SL.
a few things to add: for one, when thinking of the C107, it is vital to understand that what the US got was a very, very different car than ROW. EU-spec cars were much more better looking (obviously) but also had a lot more punch. Even the unloved 380 – which came to the US malaise-strangled with all of 155hp – had serious power for the early 1980s: with 218hp on tap and a top speed of 220kph, it was a seriously fast car. Even more, to say the EU spec 450 is sluggish is a downright lie – these engines also bring 217-225hp (depending on the year). They pull tremendously and just-don‘t-stop pulling when you hit the pedal and leave your foot down. Oh, and all engines available in the C107 do sound very nice when pushed!
Second, as Tatra hints at, the C107 was an undercover achievement. Early on, the board at MB had decreed not to built a successor to the W111/W112 coupe line. The W116 was deemed too expensive as basis and the W107 too small. There would be no big Benz Coupe in the early 1970s, period. Wilfert thought differently and pursued the project in secrecy and at his own risk – right until he could propose it to the board and the board said „yes“. This is a highly singular event in the history of MB and makes the C107 all the more endearing in my book. It is as quirky as a MB can possibly get for this very reason: it is somewhat cobbled together from the pieces that were readily available! This is especially evident looking at the much-maligned (or, in my case, much-loved) louvers: a MB coupe IS a pillarless hardtop, right up until todays cars. And all windows ARE fully rectactable, no questions asked. But with Wilfert’s original proposal, it turned out that the rear windows were too big to be wound down all the way, the rear wheel-wells were in the way. So, cleverly, the louver was conceived to make the rear window smaller. And voila: it goes down without a trace. Brilliant – and so un-Germanic. Remember: this is an MB, a car from a company run by perfection-obsessed engineers. The louvers are a kind of glitch in the otherwise (almost too) perfect line-up of cars they served up from the 1960s through the 1990s!
I’m one who thinks the extra length of the SLC adds balance to the design, and it would have made a dandy four-seat convertible. The messy side windows on the SLC sort of cancel out the positives of the non-pagoda roof. I’ve seen a few SLCs with the side slats removed – it doesn’t help. By the way, it’s a shame that 600 facelift never made it to production – it’s quite nice.
Whatever-all criticisms and critiques might be levelled at the 107, “Hey, fab!” was my reaction the instant I saw this car in that colour. Big improvement over “Ugh, drab” (grey, white, black, beige, bisque, sand, ecru, taupe, maroon, navy…).
The first (uppermost) Friedrich Geiger sketch instantly and strongly brought up the 1989 Pontiac Bonneville.
I’m sure I’ll get guff for this, but the dual round US headlamps strike me more as a variant than a disfigurement—probably due to their tendency to evoke the face of the 1962 Valiant, a car I favour.
I also don’t mind the larger US bumpers, which are actually functional vs. the rest-of-world useless trim strips.
The “Ours is just as good” ads from Ford were and are risible. The “Ours is better” ones from Chrysler (Dodge 600), even more so.
I’m with Daniel on the bumpers and lights. The US lights are more attractive in my book, and I believe they bring higher dollars on the classic car market, at least they used to according to my my late father who bought a 1983 and two 1989s. And as a fan, and one who drove a 1983 380sl in 1988 and a 1989 560sl on occasion from 1996-2005, I disagree with the blase criticism of the power of the engines.
I haven’t driven a 450sl, but the 380sl came out in 1981 with 155 horsepower and 196 lb-ft of torque at 2750 rpm. For comparison, a 1981 BMW 633csi has 174 horsepower and 188 lb-ft of torque at 4200 rpm. Having driven 1983 models of both extensively, I can attest that the greater torque at lower rpm of the Mercedes, combined with the 4 speed transmission, gave it useable power and muscular thrust compared to the BMW which required revs to tap its potential.
A 1981 Lincoln Mark VI had 130 horsepower, and would only upgrade to 140 (in 1983) in the Mark VII and the Thunderbird from more (5.0) displacement. A 1981 Cadillac Coupe Deville had on 125 horsepower, though with 210 lb-ft of torque. And Audi’s Coupe (not a grand tourer) had only 100 horsepower.
Only the the Porsche 928 with 219 horsepower and 245 lb-ft of torque, the Ferrari 308 GTB with 205 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, and the Jaguar XJ-S with 244 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque had more than the Mercedes in 1981.
Of course the 560sl came along in 1986 bringing 227 horsepower and 279 lb-ft at 3250 rpm. It was a powerful and fun car to drive, and one that would lead no one to say wow this car is gutless.
I guess the Corvette had far more power as well with 190 hp and 280 lb-ft, although a 1981 Corvette seems not to have been a car that would have been cross-shopped with either Euro or American GT/Personal cars.
Significantly more than once in Germany I’ve seen 107s with US lights retrofitted. It seems to be something of a “lookit-what-I-got” element. Sort of like European lamps on a US car.
Daniel. what is that black car?
Pontiac Bonneville SSE. Best looking of the H-Bodies IMO
I love 70s Mercedes. I have 79 450SEL 6.9 All original 61K miles this Was the BEST Benz in 70s!!
no, it was the BEST benz ever!
I think these look a lot better than the convertibles, if for nothing else fixing the overhang/wheelbase ratio that always bugged me on them. The louvered window caps are a compromise, yes, but not one that bothers me, particularly when every one I’ve seen in the flesh truly is compromised by the hideous US bumpers. Actually the most awkward part of the core design isn’t the rear of the car at all, the hood simply looks too long and flat, and there are angles where the body looks bent in half at the windshield base. For whatever reason the Convertible doesn’t have that effect, despite that area being shared. Either way though these aren’t the level of unattractive to me the way the 2+2 E type is(though I think the nose is way too long on those too, in any form) it’s the humpback shape that make them look weird, same with the Datsun Z 2+2s. The Mercedes is a 3 box design, and just inherently avoids that awkwardness.
I have to say that Granada coupe has grown on me over the years and it sure looks great next to the mercedes in the ad! I want one with a 302 and a stick!
Every time I see a Granada or Monarch coupe of that vintage I find myself thinking that it was inspired by GM’s mid-sized “colonade” style formal roof coupes that were introduced in ’73.
my mother had a ’75 granda sports coupe in copper with a white landau roof for about seven years. she bought a demonstrator for $4k. it had a wheezy six and a craptastic white interior but we never had any trouble with it. she finally sold it when i graduated from college and bought herself a volvo.
This made my day. In 1977 I rode in the back seat of my friend’s mother’s SLC on the way to see ‘Star Wars’ at the theater. It was so different than the new ‘77 Caprice Classic another friend’s parents had bought (though I loved that car too). Her gold SLC and her husband’s matching gold 450SEL instilled a lifelong love of MB.
Just picked up my ‘87 R107 after its spring mechanical check up this afternoon.
Do those quarter window grates come out to clean the inside of the glass?
I owned a 560SL for a bit…narrow cockpit with the steering wheel really close to the dash and the fuse box where the passenger’s right calf would be…not fun to get to. The design of the convertible top mechanism was classic MB…very elegantly engineered.
i am in the minority here. i think the slc’s were beautiful grand touring cars. i’ll take mine as a manual transmission 350slc with a sunroof in with eurospec headlights and bumpers in china blue.
here’s a nice 380slc on youtube
I had my green SL repainted in 1980 only special order apricot orange. It’s fucking awesome.
the color is great, if it is factory.
Somebody goofed on that bright yellow car; its left headlamp is a right-hand traffic item (its right headlamp is for left-traffic).
That “Modell I” proposal for the W107 reminds me of the ’87 Pontiac Bonneville.
Those hidden headlamps, along with the grille and whole front end, are hideous on the it-could-have-been-this drawing. Putrid brougham tackiness just as ugly here as on all those Ford-Mercury models thusly disfigured.