Mercedes-Benz R107 model series
Stylistically confident, open-top touring cars – the R107 model series
Successful third-generation SL model was produced for more than 18 years, achieving sales of 237,287 Roadsters
In the brand history of Mercedes-Benz, from the 1950’s the SL models represented a combination of innovation and appreciation for tradition as well as high standards of sportiness, comfort and elegance. The R107-series SL Roadsters immediately expressed all of this in a particularly stylish manner: the open-top two-seater gave the impression of a strong, self-confident and imposing car. The fact that at the same time this Roadster was also designed as a comfortable touring car highlights a carefully thought-out detail: while the soft top typical of a Roadster provided flexible protection against the elements from spring through to autumn, for the colder months there was also a removable coupé hardtop – which blended seamlessly into the elegant lines of this sports car.
Technically, the R107 series SL models set standards, particularly with their comprehensive holistic safety concept: the crash behaviour of the open-top two-seater was far ahead of its time. This was thanks to the carefully designed crumple pattern of the body and shell structure, for example, as well as highly resilient A-pillars and interior appointments designed consistently in line with safety criteria.
These included the heavily upholstered dashboard, the deformable or recessed switches and levers, and also the new four-spoke safety steering wheel with impact absorber and wide, padded boss. In addition, the fuel tank was no longer installed in the rear end but above the rear axle, protected against collision.
The innovations in the area of active safety included measures to enhance being able to see as well as be seen: newly developed wind-deflecting mouldings on the A-pillars served to channel off mud-laden water in the rain and also kept the side windows clean, even in inclement weather. The wide wraparound indicators were also clearly visible from the sides, while the generously-sized rear lamps featured a ribbed surface profile to make them considerably more resistant to dirt build-up. Thanks to such details, the R107 series SL models were not only technical trend-setters for Mercedes-Benz passenger car development – which was repeatedly setting standards – but in the following years they also helped to define the style of Mercedes-Benz passenger cars
At the premiere of the 4.39-metre-long, 1.79-metre-wide and 1.30-metre-high (with roof closed) sports car in the spring of 1971, Mercedes-Benz initially presented the 350 SL model (147 kW/200 hp). From the spring of 1973, the 450 SL model (165 kW/225 hp) then also became available in European markets. Both models were powered by V8 engines – this use of eight-cylinder units in SL sports cars was a first in the history of Mercedes-Benz.
eight-cylinder engines. In July 1974 the Stuttgart-based brand launched the 280 SL with a six-cylinder in-line engine developing 136 kW (185 hp). As a result, three SL engine variants were now available – another novel feature in the history of this model class. Over the course of time, all of the engines were modified slightly in terms of their output values, so as to be able to comply more closely with the stricter emission limits which in the meantime were introduced in most European countries.
top-of-the-range model in the Roadster family, while the 350 SL was replaced by the 380 SL (160 kW/218 hp). A further facelift in 1985 resulted in the 300 SL (138 kW/188 hp) as the successor to the 280 SL, and all of the engines were now optionally available with catalytic converter. A new addition to the range was the 420 SL with V8 engine (160 kW/218 hp without catalytic converter, 150 kW/204 hp with catalytic converter).
Mercedes-Benz 350 SLC (C 107), production period from 1972 to 1980.
Produced 237,287 Roadsters.
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“Newsletter” about the SL Roadster Class R107.
Mercedes-Benz Classic with Rally 500 SL at the 2013 ADAC Eifel Rally Festival. Prepared for the 1981, but never raced. Björn Waldegård to put the car through its paces on the event’s testing stretches. Stuttgart – Mercedes-Benz Classic will be fielding a rally...