1979 Mercedes-Benz 280 SLC Coupe
|Engine||In-line 6-cylinder, 2800cc|
Mercedes-Benz' new W107 model succeeded not only the much-loved 'Pagoda' SL sports model but, in long-wheelbase SLC guise, filled the gap left by the demise of the W111/112 coupes. The new W107 was a sophisticated and beautifully engineered machine, boasting unparalleled safety thanks to the massively strong bodyshell, side impact protection in the doors and crumple zones. The SLC version featured a slightly raised roofline to provide additional headroom along with unusual louvered side window treatment and no B-pillar, turning the Mercedes into a pillarless coupe with the windows lowered. Inside, the SLC was typically well thought out and finished to the highest standards - the luxurious cabin was capable of seating four adults in comfort, while the long doors made access to the rear seats relatively simple. Mechanically, the SLC was initially offered in two versions, the 280 - powered by the classic twin-cam six-cylinder engine - or the new overhead-camshaft V8, badged as the 350, the latter available only with a three-speed automatic transmission. Suspension was via semi-trailing arms that provided more predictable handling characteristics than the swing axles of earlier generation SLs. The SL proved a supremely successful sports tourer (or Grand Tourer in the case of the SLC) and remained in production, largely unchanged, for 18 years with just under 240,000 built. Today the model is often overlooked yet the SLC shares the same virtues as its open-topped SL sibling - outstanding build quality, robust mechanicals, advanced safety features - making it something of a classic bargain.