By on May 8, 2014

10 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe value of a Mercedes-Benz R107/C107 goes down to a hair’s-breadth over scrap price once it becomes non-perfect, and so it’s no surprise that these things have been quite common in American self-serve wrecking yards for the last couple of decades. We’ve seen this ’80 450SL, this ’74 450SL, and this ’78 450SLC so far in this series, and here’s a ’77 450SLC that I spotted in the San Francisco Bay Area last year. Such luxury, such status! It almost makes me want to pick up a cheap SLC for myself.
01 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinIf you were a fairly successful cocaine dealer in Los Angeles, circa 1977, this was the car made for you. About the only competition was the new BMW E24.
05 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThis car racked up a mere 182,138 miles during its 36 years on the street. The body is completely rust-free and the interior probably wasn’t bad before junkyard customers started prying parts off it.
06 - 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC Down On The Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinNobody ever buys these OHC V8s at junkyards. Poor unloved old Mercedes.

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47 Comments on “Junkyard Find: 1977 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC...”

  • avatar

    Did ford base any of the 4.6 sohc modular v8 on these older mercedes engines? I always thought the ford 4.6 resembles them.

  • avatar

    This was my favorite time for the font/styling of MB numbers. I think they look best attached to a line. I’m sure there were other lines inside the car at some point, ha.

    I always thought the SL held its value really well? Is it just the SLC nobody wants, or because this isn’t a pagoda roof?

    • 0 avatar

      My impression – not backed with research – is that it’s the same story with the SL as the SLC (which is why Murilee said both R107/C107).

      Pristine? Worth something.

      Imperfect? Scrap it.

      (180 net HP, and if you’re lucky maybe 16 mpg?

      Ain’t nobody got time for that, no matter how nice the 35 year old car looks, unless the interior and suspension have been restored.)

      • 0 avatar

        My Mom’s ’75 SL got around 10MPG

        • 0 avatar

          Wtf was with these engines?
          My 345 scout I’m pretty sure has the same power, and its practically a piece of farm equipment. Not to mention 13-15 mpg

          • 0 avatar

            Agreed, for that fuel consumption you might as well drive a BBF, BBC, or any other fun american V8 with two or three times the HP. Sounds like a motor swap would be a good idea after all for this car, more horsepower and fuel economy, sign me up!

          • 0 avatar

            Gonna say it was the Bosh K-Jetronic fuel injection. I don’t think that delivered stellar performance or economy on anything it was used on. Also huge cash for the fuel distributor if it fails (someone has grabbed the one from this car, it would have been between all those cut and bent tubes on the intake).

  • avatar


  • avatar

    Only one song sums this car up…

  • avatar

    That’s just sad .

    Technically this is a W107 but let’s not quibble .

    These are actually very good Road Cars , the closed body has no flex so they really handle well in the twisty bits , I often passed up Porches ,BMW’s , Lancias etc. in my old ’75 450SLC European .

    They all get horrible fuel economy though , even the 6 cylinder ones .

    Exceeding 14 MPG’s is cause for joy .


    • 0 avatar

      I’d say technically it’s a C107, not a W107 (just as the convertible is the R107) – almost nobody refers to them as a “W107*”, especially not Daimler Benz – which DOES call them “R107” for the SL.[]

      I say Daimler wins in any dispute about their own chassis codes.

      (* Because internet, some people do – a search reveals a few hits, presumably people who see a bunch of W codes for sedans and assume their 107 must therefore be a W107…)

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      I’m sure some crazy nutbar or three has swapped the engine from a 300TD into one of these by now.

      • 0 avatar

        I wouldn’t use an old TD, I would go completely insane and try to fit an E320 BlueTec in there!

        Because hey, why not go completely mad when you’re building a completely mad car?

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        Indeed at least one nutbar has swapped a diesel engine into one of these. Check out sldiesel dot com.

        Since these weren’t really fast or sporty to begin with I think it’s a pretty decent swap. He gets over 30mpg on road trips.

  • avatar

    My father had one of these for awhile. The good: built like a bank vault. The bad: drove like a bank vault. After six months he asked me to sell it for him and he bought another 911.

  • avatar

    I like older Mercedes, but this body style has not aged well. Even when it was still relatively new, I thought it looked “old lady”. And they always had pretty laughable performance for being an expensive sports car.

    They were as solid as a bank vault, but that’s about it.

    Something like a Porsche 928 or even a Jaguar V12 coupe had 10 times the curb appeal. Can’t comment though on reliability.

  • avatar

    1977 was the last year to grab a Triumph Stag in the U.S. Not that you’d want to – this first owner did better than that…

    Hopefully this SLC came with manual climate.

  • avatar

    OMG do I ever love these. Breaks my heart to see one in the scrapyard. Happily, near me there is a garage specializing in MB that’s keeping several of these on the road.

  • avatar

    Steve Austin occasionally drove an identical model in The Six Million Dollar Man:

    • 0 avatar

      You know how much things have changed?

      Back then, on TV, you had government agents trolling around in a top of the line Benz. Today, the network that tried that would end up boycotted by the Tea Party.

      Things have changed, and not for the better!

      • 0 avatar

        Warehouse 13 has secret service agents in toyotas and agents of s.h.i.e.l.d. Have been rolling in tactical acuras for years including the tv show. The latter even has cyborgs!

  • avatar

    I like these things, they’re damned pretty.

    Pity about the maintenance costs though.

    • 0 avatar

      My mom had a ’75 Mercedes 450SE that she kept until the late ’80s. Two grand for a new exhaust, and that was back in 1986. I can’t even imagine how much it would cost today.

      Dad traded it for an Acura Integra and she never had a moment’s problem with it. Great little car.

  • avatar

    I remember when Stanley [redacted] bought his wife one of these; they were acquaintances of my parents. I was just a kid and even I thought the wife was beautiful. So did my father. Suddenly, the couple and the Mercedes disappeared from our family’s radar. I’ve always wondered why…

  • avatar

    This brings back great memories as the car I learned to drive in was a grey market 1981 500sl. Not sure what compelled my parents to pass on the 380 or 450 series but I’m sure glad they did. I remember how ours was the only SL that didn’t squat under acceleration with the revised suspension, or that ours was the only one that had that funny little squishy black rubber rear spoiler, or that just for the 500sl, they used aluminum sheet metal for the hood, doors and trunk lid. But most of all, I remember how quick it was compared to everything else I drove. And yes, our US market bumpers were weapons. That car saved my mom’s life when someone T-boned her at 40mph. We kept that car until we got a 1999 SL500 which was later traded in on a 2007 SL550. All have been fantastic cars.

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Until recently there was a parking lot full of these, at least 8 in various states of repair in Red Hook Brooklyn, just off of the BQE. I think most of them are gone by now, off to SLC heaven since the lot will probably be developed into condos.

    I still see a few on the road usually driven by older folks who can keep up with the repairs. When you think of it if you only have to drop $2-3k in one every year to keep it going it can be a reasonable classic for commutes or weekend use.

  • avatar

    I’ve been following TTAC and specifically the Junkyard Finds for quite a while.

    Every time I read about the car featured in Junkyard Finds, I can’t help but wonder if there will be a viable future for today’s cars like there was for yesterday’s. They have become too computerized and too complex. And not only that, they’re not building cars like they used to. Let’s use thinner cheapened sheet metal, or allow the engine block to have thinner cylinder walls, and so on. Even something non-critical, like fabric for the seating (you know, that ubiquitous black nylon-microfiber material that’s delicate and so hard to clean, one of the reasons I have opted and will opt for leather from now on).

    I don’t really think any new car on the market right now and today can honestly make it past 15-20 years without significant investments being made as far as keeping it on the road, and who’s going to want to keep an older car, especially if it’s not economically feasible? Parts will cost a lot more and become more rare a lot more quickly than parts for cars of the past, since the parts are often electronic and may even have something as small as the wrong firmware revision number that will cause a whole bunch of incompatibility issues (or they simply don’t work). And it doesn’t necessarily have to be due to the drivetrain or the controls. For example, I see quite a few cars that are only a couple years old that already have rust issues, sometimes MAJOR rust issues that will be fatal to those cars in just a few more years. And I don’t even live in the rust belt. It makes me think of what else could be rusting and failing if it’s the body panels, like the suspension, for example.

    You know those semis that pass by on the freeway with a trailer full of those crushed cars? Most of the cars–at least the ones I can identify from a quick glance–seem to be no older than 10 years old, and yet they’re already gone. Squashed like bug. Over with. I doubt that they were all totalled in an accident, though even structural integrity is another issue. Hitting something simple, like a mailbox at a relatively low speed, seems to cause serious frame damage. I’d love to take the time and visit some local wrecking yards and even the shredder plants to get an idea of how quickly cars are going from the showroom to complete worthless waste, to think that it didn’t even make a full decade.

    Being that I’m part of Generation X, and I wonder what our classic car shows will look like if we have them at all, where we all meet when we’re 65 or so and show off cars from our era back when we were 15-20.

    • 0 avatar
      bumpy ii

      Naah, mechanically cars are far more durable today. Electronics might be an issue, but 20 years from now you’ll probably be able to run everything wirelessly off your smartphone. The globalization of the industry means far fewer unique and rare parts, and a worldwide market to source replacements from (assuming you don’t just buy them from a job shop with a 3d printer).

    • 0 avatar

      Electronics, yes; though it may be possible to replace some with more modern plug-compatible replacements. The only thing that make that more difficult is when they further encrypt the software; that will make it harder to replace the software in a more modern piece of firmware.

      As one who has a 19 year old car, and notices them on the road; plastics and vinyl are a major issue; at least in states like Texas. Ford and Mercedes made their bumper covers out of something other than the olefin and urethanes used by the other car makers; it is xenoy/polycarbonate. It is rigid; and doesn’t take much of a hit to crack or shatter it. I admire anyone who has kept from bumping or getting bumped by something in 20 or more years.

      There must be some technique to it, but the tangs on wiring clips break every time I try to remove something. It is also hard to find plastic interior parts in junkyard cars that did not suffer the same breakage as your part did.

      • 0 avatar

        As the owner of a 22 year old Ford product, I agree with the brittle plastic problem. Removing any interior part, spreading the clip on a wiring connector, etc always seems to end up in broken clips and bits. Mechanically though, no problem…

  • avatar

    Growing up in Salt Lake City, Utah, I always thought it would be cool to own an “SLC”. I liked the body style better than the SL convertible. I imagine I’d have been disappointed by the performance though. My mom had a 1977 W116 280SE– I imagine the driving experience would have been similar.

  • avatar

    My parents liked big cars. When the OPEC embargo happened and gas was (semi) rationed, people were practically giving away gas guzzling V8 luxury cars. As we lived in a small city where not many miles were required to get around, my parents jumped at the chance. Mom got a ’68 Continental. Dad got a ’73 450SEL. Both cars got 10 MPG.

    Just like buying a used BMW 750il for a song today, the Merc was a fool’s bargain. Probably could have bought a crappy used car every year for what it cost to keep the Merc running, and in typical style for a German car of the day, the air conditioning was 100% ineffective. Also, all the “power” accessories were vacuum-operated, so one cracked vacuum hose underhood could mean the power locks going crazy on the freeway. But my God the thing was handsome, even with the weird 1973 stacked bumpers.

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