Mercedes-Benz R107 and C107

Mercedes-Benz R107 (SL) and C107 (SLC)

Manufacturer Mercedes-Benz
Production SL: 1971–1989
SLC: 1971–1981300,175 built[1]
SL: 237,287
SLC: 62,888
Model years SL: 1972-1989
SLC: 1972-1981
Assembly West Germany
Predecessor Mercedes-Benz W113 (SL)
Mercedes-Benz W111 (SLC)
Successor Mercedes-Benz R129 (SL)
Mercedes-Benz C126 (SLC)
Body style 2-door roadster
2-door coupe
Layout FR layout
Engine I6
2.8L (SL, SLC)
3.0L (SL)
3.5L (SL, SLC)
3.8L (SL, SLC)
4.2L (SL)
4.5L (SL, SLC)
5.0L (SL, SLC)
5.6L (SL)
Transmission Automatic
3 speed (SL, SLC)
4 speed (SL, SLC)1980 onwards
4 speed (SL)
5 speed (SL)
Wheelbase 1970s SL: 2,460 mm (96.9 in)
1970s SLC: 2,820 mm (111.0 in)
1980s: 96.7 in (2,456 mm)
Length 1970s SL: 4,390 mm (172.8 in)
1970s SLC: 4,750 mm (187.0 in)
1980s: 180.3 in (4,580 mm)
Width 1970s: 1,790 mm (70.5 in)
1980s: 70.5 in (1,791 mm)
Height 1970s SL: 1,300 mm (51.2 in)
1970s SLC: 1,330 mm (52.4 in)
1980s: 51.1 in (1,298 mm)

The Mercedes-Benz R107 and C107 C126 S-class coupe in 1981.

Mercedes-Benz R107



[edit] Model history

The Mercedes-Benz R107 took the chassis components of the mid size S-Class (W116).

The Mercedes-Benz R107 SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster with standard soft top and hardtop and optional folding seats for the rear bench. The SLC (C107) derivative was a 2 door hardtop coupe with normal rear seats. The SLC is commonly referred to as an ‘SL coupe’, but in reality it was an S-class coupe, replacing the former saloon-based 280/300 SE coupé in Mercedes lineup. The SLC was replaced earlier than the SL, in 1981, with a much larger model, the 380 SEC based on the new S class.

 Mercedes-Benz R107

Mercedes-Benz 560 SL (only sold in Japan, Australia and the US)

Volume production of the first  Mercedes-Benz R107 car, the 350 SL, started in April, 1971 alongside the last of the W113 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  Mercedes-Benz R107 and C107 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 450 SL/SLC. The 2.8 l version was never offered in the US.

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 makeover. All five-liter cars gained a black rear spoiler lip.

280, 380 and 500 SLC were discontinued in 1981 with the introduction of the 126 series 380 and 500 SEC coupes. A total of 62,888 SLCs had been manufactured over a ten-year period of which just 1,636 were the 450 SLC-5.0 and 1,133 were the 500 SLC. Both these models are sought by collectors today. With the exception of the SL65 AMG Black Series, the SLC remains the only fixed roof Mercedes-Benz coupe based on a roadster rather than a sedan.

Following the discontinuation of the SLC in September, 1981, the 107 series continued initially as the 280, 380 and 500 SL.

[edit] Models timeline

[edit] Technical data

[edit] North American models

 Mercedes-Benz R107

1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL (North America)

 Mercedes-Benz R107

1982 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL US version

Sales of the SL and SLC models begun in the US one year later than in Europe.

The R107/C107 since introduction on North American market sported quad headlights, and from 1974 front and rear bumpers had added 8 inches (203 mm) of rubber on each end to comply with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration regulations.

When the first Mercedes-Benz R107 350SL were exported to the US, because of the strict horsepower robbing emission requirements, the US 350SL were shipped with low compression 4.5 liter engines.

The 450 SL was produced until 1980. Model years 75 and 76 450 SLs suffered from vapor lock and hard restart because of the under-hood position of the catalytic converter. Starting in MY 77, the catalytic converter was moved to replace the resonator, located just behind the transmission in the exhaust system.

Next was the 380 SL imported from 1981 to 1985. The 380 SL was the least powerful of the US imported Mercedes-Benz R107 roadsters. This engine came with a single row timing chain from 1981 through 1983. MYs 1984 and 1985 came with a double row timing chain from the factory. These early 380 models were plagued with chain failure problems and the problem was corrected by Mercedes-Benz, free of charge. Some models, however, escaped retrofit and may at some point fail as a result.

Another problem area for late 450 SLs and early 380 SLs was the automatic climate control system. Based on a “servo”, which controlled coolant flow to the heater core, as well as vacuum to actuate the vents in the interior of the car, the system proved unreliable. It was installed on 450 SLs from 1978 through end of production in 1980, and continued on the 1981 MY of the 380 SL. Models produced prior to 1978 had a manual climate control system, models produced after 1981 received a more reliable automatic climate control system.

The more powerful 500 SL with 5.0 liter engine, produced from 1980–1989, was not available in the US through Mercedes-Benz and was popular in “gray market” import before the arrival of the 560 SL (only made for the USA, Japanese and Australian market) in 1986-1989.

Despite the larger 5.6 liter engine of the 560 SL, the 500 SL is recorded as being the fastest production 107 produced (mostly because of the lack of emission restraints) The 500 SL was published by Mercedes-Benz as having 0-60 mph times of 7.4 seconds for a top speed of 225 km/h (140 mph). Torque for the 500 SL is 296 lb·ft (401 N·m) at 3200 rpm and for the 560 SL 287 lb·ft (389 N·m) at 3500 rpm.

[edit] Technical data

[edit] See also

[edit] References

  1. ^ Werner Oswald: Deutsche Autos 1945-1990, vol.5. Motorbuch Verlag, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-613-02131-5, p. 52.
  2. 3-613-02131-5.
  3. ^ Mike Covello, op. cit., p. 527-545.

[edit] External links

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Mercedes-Benz R107 and C107, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Marios van Dongen March 1, 2019 at 7:35 pm

Dear Sir. I recently acquired a 1981 500slc and would like to know how collectable and rare they are.
I know only 1133 were made but not sure how many are left in the world and if they are sort-after. More so than the other R107’s ?

Look forward to your response.

Kind regards
Mario’s van Dongen
South Africa


Marios March 1, 2019 at 7:34 pm

Dear Sir. I recently acquired a 1981 500slc and would like to know how collectable and rare they are.
I know only 1133 were made but not sure how many are left in the world and if they are sort-after. More so than the other R107’s ?

Look forward to your response.

Kind regards
Mario’s van Dongen
South Africa


Duff Bennett November 25, 2017 at 9:26 pm

Do you know the breakdown of 1986 560SL imported to the US based on Exterior Color? I have a 1986 560SL, Cabernet Red with Grey interior, curious to know how may 560’s with this color combo was imported to the US. thanks Duff


Bernd Bernd November 28, 2017 at 11:30 am

Hi Duff,
I’m sorry but I don’t have this information. You might be able to get it from the Mercedes Classic Center in Irvine, California. Best regards, Bernd


Laurent M. Jeronymides March 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

Dear Sir,

With respect to the 3.8-liter V8 (155 bhp) engine in the 380SL & 380SLC, and the 5.0-liter V8 (240 bhp) engine in the 500SL, you do not state the material out of which the engine block and the cylinder head were made. Were these the engines that even though made entirely of aluminium, had the pistons running directly in the cylinder bores without steel sleeves – a real breakthrough in those days?

I look forward to hearing from you.


Laurent M. Jeronymides


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