New alloy wheels for the 450SLC

My 450SLC was originally sold with 14″ alloy wheels.   This style of wheel was the standard Mercedes alloy wheel from the late 60s to 1985.   It has a few nicknames such as Bundt Cake, Baroque, Fuchs etc.   On the V8s it is 6.5″ wide but narrower versions (5.5″ & 6″) were available.   The challenge with these wheels is that good tyres for a heavy car like an SLC are now hard to find.   They are also hard to keep clean and I find the 195/70 tyres too litle for a car like the SLC.

When I moved back from the USA, I brought the 16″ wheels I had bough for my 1988 560SEC with me.   They are ASA Type 8 wheels, a replica of a later wheel but with low offset for the earlier cars.   They are 16×7.5″ and the fit nicely on that car replacing the hideous chrome wheels it came with.    At the time I bought them (2009) I also purchased a set of Yokohama Avid V4S tyres.   After almost 30,000km on the 560SEC and over 20,000 on the SLC they are starting to get close to the end of their life.  These tyres were quiet, inexpensive and lasted better than any other tyres I’ve owned.

I put the 16″s on the 450SLC when I returned in 2011.   They worked reasonably well on the car but rubbed a little.    The car handled better with wider tyres than 195.   I still have the 14″ alloy wheels if I ever want to go back to original.

Yesterday I purchased a set of 15×7″ alloy wheels for the W126.  These wheels were the alloy wheel available for the W126 for the second generation 1986-1991.  They were also used on the R107 SLC from 1986-1989.    These same wheels were also produced in high offset form for the W124 and W201 (including a 14″ variant).   There was also a very similar wheel for the R129.   This style of alloy wheel is often known as the ‘manhole cover’.

These wheels have 205/65R15 tyres and should not rub on the 450SLC.   I therefore removed the replica wheels and replaced them with the refinished manhole covers.   Looks great.

450SLC new wheels

In contrast the replica 8 hole alloy wheels don’t look as good on the 107 chassis in my opinion.   They seem to work better on the W126.



ASA type 8The final contrast is the car with the original 14″ wheels.   This photo is from 2003 when I first purchased the 450SLC.   I find this style of wheel works better with the ultra rare 15″ edition of these wheels.

The alloy wheel swap also allowed me to do something about the spare in the 450SLC.  Originally the car would have been sold with 5 alloy wheels.   In the 80s, it was common for dealers to harvest these 5th wheels for adding alloy wheels to other cars they had for sale not originally equipped with them.    It is possible this is how my 300SE got alloy wheels as they were not originally specified.

The spare on the car was a steel wheel complete with a tyre that looked like it is from the 80s.   Certainly it did not seem to have a date code on it.   The 5th 15″ wheel fits into the spare wheel compartment with the cover sticking up 5mm.   In my mind an acceptable compromise for having a good spare and not needing to carry around a spare set of lug bolts.

As I replaced the wheels I saw where they had been rubbing.   I had some old rust protective paid that I used to paint over these areas.  It was quite old and I didn’t have a proper brush but it should hopefully stop rust from developing here.

450SLC wheel rubbing

These new wheels look better and should no longer rub on the car.

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