This post was originally published in Mercedes Enthusiast Magazine.
The 107-series SLC launched at the Paris motor show in October 1971, several months after the SL. Both cars are identical up to the door’s rear edge, with the SLC’s wheelbase extended 360mm to make room for additional rear seat space. The fixed roof coupe also features distinctive window slats forward of its C-pillars, and shares all the SL’s safety devices except the roadster’s pop up rollover bar.
The four-seat SLC was manufactured at Mercedes’ Sindelfingen factory until September 1981, and was succeeded by the 126-series S-Class based SEC, a facelift in 1980 updating the interior, steering wheel and mechanicals, and replacing the three-speed auto with a four-speed.
The model range comprised the 280 straight-six, and 350, 380, 450, 450 5.0/500 V8s – all with fuel injection. The latter two variants were homologation specials with light alloy engine blocks, a bonnet, bootlid and bumper set made of aluminium, light alloy wheels, plus a rubberised rear spoiler; the 5.0 also boasted a front spoiler that was inherited by the entire facelifted SLC range.
A total of 62,888 SLCs were made, the most popular model the 450SLC by some margin, with the 450SLC 5.0/500SLC the rarest.
In today’s market, the 107-series SLC continues to live in the shadow of the SL – low mileage cars rarely breaking £20,000 unless they are the five-litre models, making them something of a bargain. Indeed, their looks seem to be getting better with age, the chrome trim and pillarless profile appreciated a whole lot more than 10 years ago.
To drive, the SLC is broadly similar to the SL in that it feels ultra relaxed even at high speeds. Refinement is excellent, handling secure and build quality superb. The equipment level was typical Mercedes in that most desirable items existed on the options list, but you did get power steering, disc brakes all round, central locking and powered windows as standard.
The SL will always be the most loved 107, but it’s great to see the SLC finally getting the attention it deserves in the classic market, as the number of good condition survivors dwindles.
Return of the SLC
In March 2016, Mercedes-Benz revived the SLC badge not for a conventional coupe, but for its facelifted, third generation, two-seat roadster, formerly known as the SLK. This revised range saw AMG replace its SLK55 V8 model with a new SLC43 V6 biturbo.
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