1975 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC
Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Europe’s car industry was decimated. In Germany both Daimler and Benz went back to producing cars post-war, however, times were tough. A merger between Daimler and Benz would ensure that both companies survived and following a technical co-operation agreement in 1924, the companies formally merged on the 1st July 1926. Mercedes-Benz was born!
Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz went on to build some of the greatest cars of all time. The cars from Stuttgart bearing the three-pointed star all had one thing in common . . . they were renowned for their technical innovation, build quality, luxury and performance.
In the 1950’s Mercedes-Benz produced one of the greatest cars of all time – the iconic 300 SL Gullwing and 300 SL Roadster. Whilst fabulous cars, they were very expensive and generally sold to the rich and famous. Mercedes wanted to build a sporting luxury car that still looked classical in the mould of the 300 SL, but it had to be affordable and the plan was to build such a car in far greater numbers than the exclusive 300 SL’s. Enter the Type W121 or 190 SL as it became known in the mid 1950’s. This model was an outstanding success and circa 25,000 cars were built over the next 8 years of production. The formula worked and Mercedes-Benz carried it on with great success in the 1960’s with the Type W113 230 SL / 250 SL / 280 SL models. This evolved into the Type R107/C107 280 SL(C) / 350 SL(C) / 380 SL(C) / 450 SL(C) / 500 SL(C) and 560 SL models built throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.
Production for the first R107 model, the 350 SL, started in April 1971. The 350 SLC followed in October of that year. Both models were fitted with a 3.5 litre V8 and had quite a sporting edge. Today, an early 350 SL or 350 SLC is a very rare car. In 1972 Mercedes-Benz introduced the 450 SL/SLC model which featured the M117 engine. The 450 SL/SLC quickly became the most popular model in the range. In July 1974 a 2.8 litre version became available and these were sold as 280 SL/SLC. September 1977 saw the arrival of the 450 SLC 5.0, a model specifically introduced to homologate the 450 SLC for the 1978 World Rally Championship. In the hands of Andrew Cowan, the 450 SLC 5.0 would win the “Vuelta à la América del Sud” mammoth rally and also the East African Safari, but this time with Hannu Mikkola behind the wheel.
In recent years the demand for these cars has skyrocketed, though the later cars have remained relatively affordable compared to the Type W113 models and present an excellent buying opportunity in today’s market.
A new arrival to Oldtimer Australia is this lovely 1975 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC.
This is an Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example as confirmed by the factory data card. It is a very original and unmolested car, finished in its original colour scheme of ‘papyrus white’ (paint code 717G) with a leather blue trim (trim code 262). The car has books, including its original service book, a data card and a very good history file. Importantly, it retains all of its original tags, including the Australian compliance plate which is dated 2/75. The car retains its original ‘matching numbers’ engine. The data card also confirms this car was fitted with air conditioning from the factory (option code 586).
The service book indicates this car was sold new in Melbourne where it remained for the first few years of its life. The service book is continuously stamped from the 21st March 1975 through until 1996. At that time the odometer read 179,350 km. There is then a small gap in the history of the car until 2001. From then onwards there are plenty of receipts on file detailing the maintenance work done to the car.
The current owner acquired this Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC in December 2002 and at that time the odometer read 276,176 km. At the time of purchase, the car wasn’t running as well as should have been. Shortly after acquiring the car, it was sent to classic Mercedes-Benz specialists Three Point Classic in Mount Gravatt. At that time some major mechanical works were completed on the car. The valve seals were replaced, the injectors were overhauled, the injector seals were replaced, the timing chain and tensioner were replaced. The tensioner rail lining, top guide rails and the oil rail kits were renewed.
This car is part of a significant collection of cars. Whilst the current owner only used the car sporadically, it has been serviced on a regular basis. There are receipts on file confirming this.
In 2019 the owner decided to refurbish the front seats. He purchased a trim kit from topsonline.com in the USA which was installed locally.
This Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC is one of the favourite cars from the collection and as such it has been very well maintained. In 2020 further mechanical work was completed. The car required work to the brakes. The rear brakes were binding. The rear brake assemblies were removed from the car and the callipers & pistons were overhauled. The brake rotors were machined and new brake pads were installed.
Further inspection of the car identified an oil leak from the gearbox. The gearbox was removed from the car to identify the cause of the leak. It was determined all the external oil seals were leaking and a decision was made to have the gearbox and torque converter rebuilt. The rear main seal was also replaced with a genuine one.
In November 2020 the air conditioning system was reconditioned. The charge line valves were replaced and the system was recharged with R134A gas.
Today this Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC presents exceptionally well for a car which is almost 50 years old!
The paint work still presents well, but upon closer inspection you will notice a few stone chips here and there as well as some other defects. From say a meter away the car looks fabulous. White is a really forgiving colour and suits the car perfectly. The glass is all in good condition. There are no stone chips or scratches on any of the windows. The same can be said for the bright work, lights and lenses, which are also similarly presented and in good condition. The original Mercedes-Benz Bundt alloy wheels are a real feature on these cars and on this 450 SLC they present beautifully. The car is running Sava 205/70R14 tyres all around, which are 16 years old and therefore should be replaced on age.
Inside the cabin of this Mercedes-Benz is just ‘a nice place to be’. The front seats are firm and supportive and in really good condition. You wouldn’t expect anything else given they were recently been refurbished. The rear seats are still original and in a good condition. There are no rips, tears or damage to any of the upholstery. The same can be said for the carpet, which is in good condition. The dashboard has suffered from exposure to the Australian sun and there are a few hairline cracks evident. There is, however, a dashboard cover fitted which hides these imperfections. All the instruments are crisp and clean and in good working order. Even the cruise control works. The air conditioning works perfectly and blows ice cold air.
After familiarising ourselves with the controls and the interior it is time to take this Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC out for a short test drive. You insert the key into the ignition and turn it to start the car. The engine fires up pretty much at first crank and almost immediately settles into a smooth idle. First impressions are good, really good! The engine sounds healthy. Once comfortable, select ‘Drive’ and off we go. Out on the open road this Mercedes-Benz just goes about its business in that typical Germanic way. The gear changes are smooth and the car easily keeps up with modern day traffic. The suspension feels good and when needed the brakes pull the car up safely and in a straight line. When you drive this car you easily forget it is almost 50 years old. It still drives every bit as good as the day it left the Stuttgart factory back in 1975. This is a true testament to the built quality of these cars and also confirmation that this car has been well cared for and maintained through it entire life.
This Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC’s current owner lives west of Brisbane and the car was driven around 150 km on its journey to our showroom where it did not miss a beat.
Accompanying the car are the original book set, factory data card, history file, spare wheel, jack, tool kit, emergency safety triangle, first aid kit (as new – never used!) and two sets of keys.
The condition of this Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC belies its current mileage and we think it is a fabulous entry level classic car.
- Australian delivered, factory right hand drive.
- a very original and unmolested example, a real time capsule.
- books, including a well stamped service book.
- excellent history file dating back to 1975.
- fitted with factory air conditioning which blows ice cold.
- A well presented example of this German classic.
- Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC
- 301,272 km