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Mercedes R107 | by Georg Sander
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Mercedes R107

The Mercedes-Benz R107 automobiles were produced from 1971 through 1989, being the longest single series ever produced by the firm, besides the G-Class. They were sold under the SL-Class and SLC-Class model names. The R107 replaced the W113 SL-Class in 1972 and was replaced by the R129 SL-Class in 1989.


The R107 took the chassis components of the mid size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them to the larger engines from the S-Class. The W 107 chassis is also referred to as "R 107" for "Reihe" (series). The series comprised SL and SLC models.


The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster with standard soft top and hardtop. The SLC (technically C107) derivative was a 2 door hardtop coupe, with usable rear seats and in effect an SL stretched 10 inches (254 mm) with a fixed roof. Although some may air this car as an 'SL coupe'- though technically it might be, but in the real world it was an S-class coupe (modern day CL), replacing the former saloon-based 280/300SE coupé in Mercedes` lineup. The SLC was replaced earlier than the SL, in 1981, with a much larger model, the 380SEC. It was aimed at the same market as more exotic machines like the Jaguar E-Type and Citroën SM.


The 107 chassis had the longest run of any Mercedes chassis, 18 years from 1971 to 1989. Some 237,000 107 chassis SL's were built. About two thirds were sold in the US. These 107 cars are larger, heavier and more costly than the previous generation W113 SL cars.


Volume production of the first R107 car, the 350 SL, started in April, 1971 alongside the last of the W 113 cars; the 350 SLC followed in October. Early North American 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.


From July, 1974 both SL and SLC could also be ordered with a fuel-injected 2.8L straight-6 as 280 SL and SLC.


In September, 1977 the 450 SLC 5.0 joined the line. This was a special version of the big coupé featuring a bored five-liter version of the 4.5L V8, some light alloy body panels and a black plastic rear spoiler.


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 make-over; the 3-speed automatic was replaced by a four-speed unit, the 280 models came with a standard 5-speed (formerly a 4-speed) manual and all five-liter cars gained a black rear spoiler lip.


The 280, 380 and 500SLC were discontinued in 1981 with the introduction of the 126 series 380 and 500SEC coupes. A total of 62,888 SLCs had been manufactured over a ten year period of which just 1,636 were the 450SLC-5.0 and 1,133 were the 500SLC. Both these models are sought by collectors today. The SLC remains the only fixed roof Mercedes-Benz coupe based on a roadster rather than a sedan. Even today, an SLC in good mechanical condition still gives a mix of good performance, superb handling, comfort and safety, making it is easy to realise why they were a successful rally car.


Following the discontinuation of the SLC in September, 1981, the 107 series continued initially as the 280, 380 and 500SL. At this time, the V8 engines were re-tuned for greater efficiency, lost a few hp and consumed less fuel, helped by substantially numerically shorter axle ratios (that went from 3.27:1 to 2.47:1 for the 380 SL and from 2.72:1 to 2.27:1 for the 500 SL). From September, 1985 the 280SL was replaced by a new 300 SL, and the 380 SL by a 420 SL; the 500 SL continued and a 560SL was introduced for certain extra-European markets, most notably the USA. The final R107 SL was built on August 4, 1989. This eighteen-year run makes the 107 series the longest running series produced by Daimler-Benz.


The last 107 made, a 1989 500SL painted Astral Silver, resides in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart, Germany. The W107 series today is prized by classic car collectors; almost all usable examples are worth £5000+ apiece, with the highest-range models sometimes worth £10,000 or more.




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Der Mercedes R107 ist ein zweisitziger Roadster mit auf Wunsch lieferbaren hinteren Notsitzen. Das Schwestermodell Mercedes C107 verfügt gegenüber dem Roadster über einen verlängerten Radstand und ist ein fünfsitziges Coupé mit vollwertigen hinteren Sitzen. Die Wagen gehören zur SL-Baureihe von Mercedes-Benz.


Die SL-Baureihe 107, die 1971 als Nachfolger der sogenannten Pagoden-SL (Baureihe W113) debütierte, begründete mit den Breitband H4-Scheinwerfern und den großen geriffelten Rückleuchten eine neue Designlinie bei Mercedes-Benz. Eine leichte Keilform deutete auf eine verbesserte Aerodynamik hin. Verantwortlicher Designer dieser Serie war erneut Friedrich Geiger, der bereits für die zeitlosen Schöpfungen des 300 SL (einschließlich Roadster) und des vom W111 abgeleiteten Coupés verantwortlich zeichnete. [1]


Mit den Typen 450 SLC und 450 SLC 5.0 bzw. 500 SLC nahm Daimler-Benz Ende der siebziger Jahre an großen Rallyes wie der 30.000 km langen Vuelta à la America del Sud (1977), der Safari-Rallye (1979) und der Bandama-Rallye (1979/1980) teil.


Mittlerweile befindet sich der älteste noch erhaltene R107, ein 350 SL mit der Chassis-Nummer 107043-12-000008 und der Motor-Nummer 116982-12-000001, in der Hand eines Arztes aus Erlangen. Der Wagen ist sandbeigemetallic und wurde am 21. April 1971 in Italien zum ersten Mal zugelassen.




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Taken on March 6, 2010