1977 Mercedes 450SLC

About the SLC

The SLC fit at the top of the Mercedes range (outside the special order 600 limo) as the full size coupe.   Unlike Mercedes normal practice of basing the full size coupe off the S class, it was based off the SL, with the chassis lengthened to allow a 2+2 configuration.    At the time there was speculation of legislation in the USA that would have made convertibles impractical.  Even when this didn’t eventuate the car was put into production anyway, and the W116 S class is the only one that never had a coupe variant.

As well as being a luxury GT car, the SLC also had a successful career as an endurance rally car, first with the 4.5l v8 and then later the new all alloy 5.0 liter v8.

The SLC was introduced in 1971 and discontinued in 1981 replaced by the S-class derived SEC.   Its brother, the 107 SL continued on until 1989 making it one of Mercedes longest production runs.

The SLC was offered with a choice of 6 and 8 cylinder engines.   (280SLC, 350SLC, 380SLC, 450SLC, 500SLC).   450’s were the most common model both globally and in Australia.

About this 1977 450SLC


450SLC (at purchase)

This particular car is a 1977 450SLC, which means it has the 4.5 liter M117 V8 engine.    As an Australian delivery car, it has the low compression version of the 4.5l due to the ill-conceived ADR27A regulations at the time.   (The high compression version has 217hp).   The 450 was only mildly affected by ADR27a compared with other engines such as the M110 and didn’t come with a Catalytic converter as was required in the USA, further reducing the power of the models there.

The car was purchased new at McIntosh of Mosman by Fletchers Fotographics in 1977 (a camera store which was successful at the time).   I’ve since found out that this was the personal car of Neil Fletcher, the owner of this business.   From what I gather it replaced a W114 coupe and was with him for quite some time.   It passed through a couple of other owners until I purchased it in early 2003.   It has a full service history and has just passed 313,000kms.     Up until 2017, I used this car as my primary car, although realistically probably got used about once a week.   It is now on historic registration and I normally do around 2,000km per year in it.

Option CodeMeaning
401Single seats
410Electric sliding roof
436Elimination of front safety belts
440Tempomat (Cruise control)
466Central locking
524Paintcoat preservation
586Behr A/C and F/R power windows
599Heat insulating glass for side and rear
601Oil for rear axle with limited slip
613Lamp unit for LH traffic
625Version for Australia
631First aid box
668662: 10l of fuel
666: Packing VE II
677Tropical battery
682Fire extinguisher
256Limited slip differential

Over the years I’ve had the 1977 450SLC I’ve not had to do much mechanically to it.  About 3 years after I purchased the car I had a small amount of rust cut away from around the rear screen (common in these cars) and the boot lid.    In May 2016 I had some further rust cut out and the entire car re-sprayed to its original (906G) colour.   I fitted a set of period correct AMG Penta wheels, a period correct Nardi steering wheel and the correct Becker Mexico Cassette.

After repaint

I also replaced the 14″ alloys with a set of the 15″ wheels that were standard on the 80s SLs and W126 cars.   They are the right offset for this car and it is hard to get decent 14″ tyres without spending a motza.   At one point (pictured above), I had a set of 16″ wheels on the car, but they are now on my 560SEC.

Why an SLC?

When I returned from the USA in 2003, I wanted a practical classic that I could have as my only car, and I could get for around AUD$15-20k.   The SLC fit the bill as the hard top and occasional rear seats meant that I could take passengers when needed, and the 4.5 liter engine and 3 speed transmission are known as being especially long lived.    I was looking for a 450, and not in white, preferably with a sunroof.   I also preferred a later car with the K-Jet injection. While the ADR regulations slow the cars down a bit, I had heard it is more practical for day to day use as parts and expertise for D-Jet is getting harder to find.   In addition, being a 1977 450SLC it comes with the anchorage points for an Australian compliant child seat.

Driving an SLC

The best way to experience an SLC is a long drive with the windows rolled down, enjoying the pillarless coupe.   The 450 is a very torquey v8, but will move quickly if you use the gear shifter to hold the gears for longer.   An SLC handles well with its long wheelbase, and although heavy it gives you a very solid feel as you drive it.   These days it is hard to find decent tires in the stock size. Fitting 15″ or 16″ wheels allows you to run tyres more appropriate for this type of car (the later models came standard with 15″ and AMG provided 16″ options).  I’m also not a huge fan of the correct alloy wheels.

What’s next?

I plan to upgrade the A/C condenser for better A/C performance.

Related Posts:

  1. June 2013 - 450SLC - ready for another year
  2. June 2013 - The SLC blows again!
  3. August 2013 - SLC Heater trims
  4. October 2013 - 450SLC gets a new blower
  5. October 2013 - After 10 years of ownership, the SLC finally leaves me stranded
  6. November 2013 - New coil, cap and rotor bring the SLC back to life
  7. December 2013 - Keeping the 450SLC cool in summer with HyChill
  8. December 2013 - New Beru HT leads for the 450SLC
  9. May 2014 - Old Benz as a daily driver?
  10. May 2014 - 450SLC Transmission linkage
  11. April 2015 - 450SLC door striker replacement
  12. February 2016 - 722.0 B3 (reverse) band adjustment
  13. April 2016 - 450SLC Rust
  14. May 2016 - 450SLC Repaint part 1
  15. May 2016 - 450SLC Repaint part 2
  16. May 2016 - 450SLC Repaint part 3
  17. May 2016 - 450SLC Repaint completed
  18. January 2017 - 450SLC timing chain check
  19. September 2017 - Mounting NSW Historic plates
  20. April 2018 - W107 windscreen washer pump
  21. November 2018 - New alloy wheels for the 450SLC
  22. March 2019 - The 450SLC hits 300,000km
  23. October 2019 - 450SLC Dragging rear brakes - part 1
  24. December 2019 - 450SLC Dragging rear brakes – part 2
  25. December 2019 - 450SLC Dragging rear brakes – part 3
  26. May 2020 - 450SLC Battery tray
  27. July 2020 - Replacing CIS injectors on my 450SLC
  28. October 2020 - Rear brake fluid leak on my 450SLC
  29. March 2021 - 450SLC wet feet
  30. May 2021 - 450SLC Passengers floor surface rust
  31. May 2021 - 450SLC Rear screen rust
  32. June 2021 - 450SLC rear windscreen screen rust update
  33. September 2021 - 15" AMG 'Penta' wheels for my 450SLC
  34. September 2021 - Choosing tyres for my 15x7 AMG Penta wheels
  35. October 2021 - C107 rear windscreen installation
  36. October 2021 - W107 Foglight lens replacement
  37. October 2021 - Mercedes lug bolt restoration
  38. November 2021 - 450SLC radio wiring
  39. November 2021 - Fitting my 450SLC with AMG 'Penta' rims
  40. November 2021 - W107 Subframe mounts
  41. March 2022 - Preparing my 450SLC for a 4,000km road trip
  42. July 2022 - Planning Becker radio installs
  43. July 2022 - Nardi steering wheel for my 450SLC
  44. May 2023 - 450SLC Becker Mexico Cassette install part 1 - Preparing the radio
  45. May 2023 - 450SLC Becker Mexico Cassette install part 2 – Upgrading the speakers
  46. May 2023 - 450SLC Becker Mexico Cassette install part 3 – Wiring up the Becker
  47. June 2023 - 450SLC Becker Mexico Cassette install part 4 – Final installation
  48. August 2023 - 450SLC major service and poor quality engine mounts
  49. October 2023 - 107 blinker flasher unit
  50. December 2023 - 450SLC lug bolt replacement
  51. April 2024 - M117 450 Timing chain and valve stem seals
  52. May 2024 - 107 under bonnet insulation