Reviewed by Unique Cars and Parts
Our Rating: 3
The R107 body shape was first introduced to Europe in
1970 as the 350SL, with the car being made available to
Australia and the USA the following year.
In 1979 Mercedes released the 450SL Roadster, originally
released as a 350SL (4.5), with the name being "officially"
changed to 450SL one year later.
The main reason for the release of the 450SL was to enable
Mercedes engineers to cope with more stringent US anti pollution
legislation. In fact, the increase in engine
size was necessitated out of the engines loss of power
after the anti-pollution gear was attached.
Without wishing to be political, one really does wonder
the reasoning of legislators that forced so many car manufacturers
of the time to increase engine size and therefore fuel
consumption in a bid to cut down on pollution.
That said, many believe the 450SL to be the pick of the
R107 range (which includes the 350, 380, 560 and 280SL's).
Why?, because of the longevity and simplicity of the cast
iron block V8 engine, with matched bullet proof 3 speed auto transmission
The engine featured an advanced single overhead camshaft
design and was a torque monster, loafing happily along
at any speed, from its 550rpm idle up to its 6,000rpm
Various changes to the engine systems, particularly in
the US, saw power further decline to just 160bhp, although
such changes occured during 1980, the last year of the
450SL. The majority of R107 SL's on the road today have either
been restored or are waiting to be restored, being around
25 years old.
The value of such cars can vary wildly -
but the good news as this model is fast becoming a collectors
classic with values appreciating. Parts for the 107 are readily sourced from Germany and
the US, and the 450SL today represents a fantastic car
to own and drive in today's traffic.