When it comes to the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL, we have built our fair share of painstakingly crafted show winning cars. Over the last 10 years our team of marque experts have produced some of the finest SLs that money can buy. This dedication to the brand and a keen interest in development resulted in our first SLSHOP concept car, the R107 SportLine, launched in 2016. Based on a 300SL, the SportLine is a faster, sharper, driver’s car pegged as the R107 that never was. The motoring press said it ‘drives and handles unlike any other SL’. A SportLine race car followed, using a 450SL mated to a manual gearbox.
The end result is a behemoth of a car that can be seen thundering around UK race circuits throughout the year. 10 SportLine road cars and 2 SportLine race cars later, it gives us great pleasure to introduce another SLSHOP concept car – SportLine ZERO. SportLine ZERO began life as a tired 1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SL with irretrievable engine damage. The fate of the car was sealed, doomed to be scavenged for parts or left for scrap. Never wanting to see a car go to waste; in the true spirit of ‘reuse and recycle’ this early car was chosen for a very special project…
The car you see here is the same 350SL that was condemned 12 months ago. It has been completely rebuilt to factory specification, an inch perfect restoration down to the colour coded wheel trims and factory correct tyres. Finished in Astral Silver with contrasting Black Leather trim, this pre 86 ‘early’ car captures the very essence of the R107 – a sumptuous, capable, luxurious tourer. Like the SportLine before it, this 350SL drives and handles unlike any other SL. It certainly should…
It’s powered by dual electric motors and ten Tesla batteries. To create the SportLine ZERO the we stripped the car to it’s bare components, returning to the drawing board and diligently starting from scratch to create the ultimate low emission SL. Everything about this car has been considered, calculated and tested, forging an entirely new path and to our knowledge, the very first electric SL.
Building an electric powered classic car takes a huge amount of time, dedication, perseverance and a problem solving. Persuading a modern electric motor to mate with forty-year old Mercedes-Benz running gear is no easy task. With The SLSHOP’s impressive reputation, it wasn’t enough just to make it work, it had to be right. The SportLine ZERO has a near 50/50 weight distribution and the net weight gain is less than 100kgs – an impressive result considering the weight of the Tesla batteries. Using twin motors and ten batteries (charged using the original fuel flap) the SportLine ZERO offers all the benefits of a modern electric vehicle but with lashings of additional style. For the ride and handling this car takes advantage of the lessons learnt during the first SportLine project, using the same adjustable suspension fitted to SportLine road cars.
With the SportLine ZERO, we wanted more than just another electric classic – this car had to function as a car, as a classic and as a showpiece. From a full overnight charge the range is stated at 150 miles, more than enough for a run to the shops and plenty for your average summer’s day. Cosmetically the car is virtually indistinguishable from an early R107, save for the discreet ‘SportLine’ and ‘ZERO’ badges adorning the boot, which was our intention from the start. The finished item is not only beautifully elegant, it’s capable – in a 0-60 dash the SportLine ZERO is significantly quicker than the petrol-powered V8. This is an effortlessly cool electric car that could be used every day. Inside there’s Apple Car Play, Bluetooth and a Sat Nav, plus parking sensors and a reverse camera.
As a full electric car the SportLine ZERO can be driven in any city centre and is LEZ compliant – it is officially registered with the DVLA as an electric vehicle. SportLine Zero pushes the boundaries of what can be done with cars that are unsuitable for traditional restorations. This is not an electric conversion of a petrol powered classic, it is a brand new vehicle, built as an electric car from start to finish. Our intentions with building the SportLine ZERO are clear – this car is not the future of SLSHOP, and we will not be converting customer cars to electric power. We have undertaken this project to understand the capabilities of electric power when applied to a classic SL. Electric cars might well be the future, but there will always be a place for a beautiful, finely engineered petrol-powered German classic and we don’t anticipate that changing any time soon. For now, moving to an electric powered car is a choice that buyers can make when considering a new car. Although currently purely a concept, any interested parties should contact us directly to discuss the possibilities.