Final Year of the Fixed-Roof SL – 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SLC

Sold – $12,500 (Plus Fees)

Designed in 1968 and launched in 1971 to replace the original SL’s W113 platform, the R/C107 chassis took the best aspects of the previous model and adapted them to the seventies. A powerful engine, low-slung ride height, sophisticated styling, and convertible roof were all characteristics chosen from the SL model line to be translated over into the new decade. Coinciding with the launch of the SL came the fresh fixed-roof version, the SLC. The SLC (Super Light Coupe) was nearly identical to its sister SL in every way but afforded additional wheelbase length (14”) to supply rear seats and, of course, a solid top. As more of a grand tourer than a sports car, the SLC excels at comfortable cruising while still providing ample power (given its age) to make driving engaging. In 1981, the SLC variant was discontinued, making the example we have on auction today one of the last SLC models ever produced by Mercedes-Benz.

The big coupe’s angular body is painted Manila Beige (681H) from the factory. Paint meter testing of the panels indicate thinner application on the hood, and there are some scratches present. However, despite several touch-up areas and blemishes, the paint remains in good condition all around. The currently equipped standard U.S.-mandated safety bumpers and lighting are original to the vehicle. Small, aerodynamic mirrors capped with chrome covers convey a sporty appearance. The caps also work to complement the chrome brightwork that trims around the windows and panel accents of the SLC. Finally, 14” Bundt wheels sit at all four corners with expired tires affixed.

Optioned with Brazil leather, the darkly dyed hides work well to offset the light exterior. Notable on the front seats is cracking and discoloration within the leather. Door panels, the dashboard, and other interior panels are stained in the same Brazil color to match the seat leather. Burled walnut veneers add a rich, warm wood feeling to the center stack, dashboard trim, and the transmission console. Still installed are the optional Becker Grand Prix stereo system and push-button climate control unit. The owner informs us that the stereo’s seek buttons can become stuck and the air conditioning blows cold. Power door locks, power windows, and a power sunroof are some of the standard features equipped on this SLC.

Behind the four-spoke steering wheel are the standard VDO gauges. Included among these is a speedometer with a 180-mph limit; a tachometer with 7,000 rpm limit (5,500 redline) and clock; and fuel level, coolant temperature, fuel efficiency meter, and oil pressure gauge cluster. In 2000, records informed us that the original speedometer was removed and the replacement unit had its odometer set to match. Currently, the odometer indicates roughly 54,000 miles have been driven in total.

Inside the engine bay rests a 3.8-liter V8 motor. When new, the factory rated its output at 155 horsepower with 196 lb-ft of torque supplied to the rear wheels through a four-speed automatic gearbox. Although the SLC has been sparingly driven throughout the past 30+ years, the sole owner has staunchly adhered to regular maintenance periods. The timing chain, guides, camshaft gears, and rocker arms were all renewed in 2000. Belt and fluid services are all recorded throughout the paperwork. Less than 100 miles ago, the fuel distributor was rebuilt, five fuel injectors replaced along with new tubes, all eight spark plugs changed, the ignition wire set removed and replaced, and the drivetrain mounts substituted for new pieces. During that service, more than $8,000 was spent on maintaining those parts and also adjusting the alignment, filling it with new fluids, placing new belts, and installing new subframe and front control arm bushings.

This Mercedes’ story begins as a special order with European delivery in 1981. After taking delivery, the current owner had Mercedes transport their new 380SLC to Texas where it has resided ever since. Supplied with the purchase are all of the maintenance records from new, the factory supplied literature and driver’s manual,  initial order information, European delivery paperwork (with tour guides), and more in a tri-fold portfolio. The original spare tire and tool kit are still held inside of the trunk. A Carfax report shows no accidents or damages with consistent mileage throughout its life. Additionally, a clean Texas title is guaranteed.

Check out the auction here!

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