Mercedes-Benz 280E: London to Sydney efficiency with a capital E

26 October 2018
Andrew Cowan proved he was the world’s greatest long-distance rally driver by winning the first and second London to Sydney epics. The Scot’s mastery of the new 280E in 1977 proved his selection by Mercedes-Benz a master stroke.

In pre-war and early post-war grand prix and sports car racing, Mercedes-Benz was renowned for the engineering and organisational firepower behind the success of its legendary ‘Silver Arrows’. More than two decades later, the Stuttgart firm proved none of that efficiency had been lost with an emphatic victory for its 280E sedan in the 1977 London to Sydney Rally.

The famous German marque not only won the event, but the winning car driven by 1968 London to Sydney Marathon winner Andrew Cowan led home another 280E to record a dominant 1-2. This historic victory marked the beginning of a new era of motor sport involvement for Mercedes-Benz through rallying, campaigning brutish V8-powered SLC coupes in South America and Africa for the remainder of the decade with great success.