50 years ago Mercedes-Benz presented the SLC Coupé

bonop 08 Oct. 2021, 12:17:13
50 years ago Mercedes-Benz presented the SLC Coupé

 It was a glamorous premiere: in October 1971, Mercedes-Benz presented the SLC Coupé at the Paris Motor Show, a popular stage for elegant creations. The four-seater vehicle combined dynamic driving performance with maximum driving comfort and was – for instance – perfect for long-distance journeys. The first model to be showcased at the exhibition in the French capital was the 350 SLC. Additional models followed and the brand even celebrated motorsport success with the 450 SLC 5.0 and 500 SLC evolution stages: Mercedes-Benz works teams raced in endurance rallies, claiming overall titles in both South America and Africa. Well-cared-for models of this SLC model series have long since become sought-after classics with a potential to gain further value.

On 18 June 1968, the Board of Management decided in favour of launching the series production of the new SL (R 107) as a successor to the W 113 “Pagoda” model series. At this point, discussions were still ongoing about whether the W 111 model series coupé was also to be succeeded. One option would have been to wait for the new 116 model series S-Class as the technological basis – given it was just being developed at the time to ultimately be launched in September 1972. However, development capacities would have meant it would have only been possible to complete the new coupé in the mid-1970s. The decision to base the coupé on the SL was made to cut the model’s time to market – and that came thanks to the body construction department in Sindelfingen: the team headed up by Karl Wilfert initially unofficially developed a coupé variant of the R 107 and showcased it to the Board of Management as a “rough cut”. The Board of Management grabbed the bull by the horns and consequently the brand introduced the C 107 luxury coupé in October 1971, thus only six months after the world premiere of the new SL. Series production launched in April 1972, lasting until 1981, with a total of 62,888 vehicles built during this time. The 450 SLC was the most popular variant with 31,739 units. Successors were – once again – the large C 126 Coupés based on the S-Class model series. The R 107 model series SL remained part of the range for significantly longer than the SLC Coupés: it rolled off the production line until 1989.

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