Mercedes R107 SL-Class 1972-1989
The R107 took the chassis components of the mid size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them to the larger engines from the S-Class. The W 107 chassis is also referred to as “R 107” for “Reihe” (series). The series comprised SL and SLC models.
The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster with standard soft top and hardtop.
The SLC (technically C107) derivative was a 2 door hardtop coupe, with usable rear seats and in effect an SL stretched 10 inches (254 mm) with a fixed roof.
Although some may air this car as an ‘SL coupe’- though technically it might be, but in the real world it was an S-class coupe (modern day CL), replacing the former saloon-based 280/300SE coupé in Mercedes` lineup.
The SLC was replaced earlier than the SL, in 1981, with a much larger model, the 380SEC. It was aimed at the same market as more exotic machines like the Jaguar E-Type and Citroën SM.
The 107 chassis had the longest run of any Mercedes chassis, 18 years from 1971 to 1989. Some 237,000 107 chassis SL’s were built.
About two thirds were sold in the US. These 107 cars are larger, heavier and more costly than the previous generation W113 SL cars.
Volume production of the first R107 car, the 350 SL, started in April, 1971 alongside the last of the W 113 cars; the 350 SLC followed in October.
Sales in North America began in 1972, and cars wore the name 350 SL, but had a larger 4.5L V8 (and were renamed 450 SL/SLC for model year 1973); the big V8 became available on other markets with the official introduction of the 450 SL/SLC on non-North American markets in March, 1973.
US cars sold from 1972 through 1975 used the Bosch D Jetronic fuel injection system, an early electronic engine management system.
From July, 1974 both SL and SLC could also be ordered with a fuel-injected 2.8L straight-6 as 280 SL and SLC. US models sold from 1976 through 1979 used the Bosch K Jetronic system, an entirely mechanical fuel injection system.
All US models used the 4.5 liter engine, and were called 450SL/SLC.
In September, 1977 the 450 SLC 5.0 joined the line. This was a special version of the big coupé featuring a new all-aluminum five-liter V8, aluminum alloy doors, hood and trunk lid – and a black rubber rear spoiler.
Starting in 1980, US cars were equipped with lambda control, which varied the air/fuel mixture based on feedback from an oxygen sensor.
The 350, 450 and 450 SLC 5.0 models (like the 350 and 450 SL) were discontinued in 1980 with the introduction of the 380 and 500 SLC in March, 1980.
At the same time, the cars received a very mild make-over; the 3-speed automatic was replaced by a four-speed unit, the 280 models came with a standard 5-speed (formerly a 4-speed) manual and all five-liter cars gained a black rear spoiler lip.
The 280, 380 and 500SLC were discontinued in 1981 with the introduction of the 126 series 380 and 500SEC coupes. A total of 62,888 SLCs had been manufactured over a ten year period of which just 1,636 were the 450SLC-5.0 and 1,133 were the 500SLC.
Both these models are sought by collectors today. The SLC remains the only fixed roof Mercedes-Benz coupe based on a roadster rather than a sedan.
Even today, an SLC in good mechanical condition still gives a mix of good performance, superb handling, comfort and safety, making it is easy to realise why they were a successful rally car.
Following the discontinuation of the SLC in September, 1981, the 107 series continued initially as the 280, 380 and 500SL.
At this time, the V8 engines were re-tuned for greater efficiency, lost a few hp and consumed less fuel, helped by substantially numerically shorter axle ratios (that went from 3.27:1 to 2.47:1 for the 380 SL and from 2.72:1 to 2.27:1 for the 500 SL).
From September, 1985 the 280SL was replaced by a new 300 SL, and the 380 SL by a 420 SL; the 500 SL continued and a 560SL was introduced for certain extra-European markets, most notably the USA. Also in 1985, the Bosch KE Jetronic was fitted.
The KE Jetronic system varied from the earlier, all mechanical system by the introduction of a more modern engine management “computer”, which controlled idle speed, fuel rate, and air/fuel mixture.
The final R107 SL was built on August 4, 1989. This eighteen-year run makes the 107 series the longest running series produced by Daimler-Benz.
The last 107 made, a 1989 500SL painted Astral Silver, resides in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany. The W107 series today is prized by classic car collectors; almost all usable examples are worth + apiece, with the highest-range models sometimes worth or more. Source:Wikipedia
This was achieved by slightly altering the rear end, a smooth-lined, now three-rib unit covering the new monochromatic tail lamp lenses. New oval tail pipe trim for the exhaust unit and color-coded bumpers emphasize the sporty image of the car.
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