Now we’ve seen the 1970s from an American perspective, let’s look at a super-depreciated German take on a 1970s personal luxury coupe. Mercedes SL roadsters are another car that’s seen a huge upswing in value in the last couple of years, led by the iconic 300SL, but trickling down to the milquetoast 190SL and the later pagoda-roof SL cars. The C107/R107 series of cars has yet to see as much of an impact, but if you want to guarantee to be the last on the appreciation train, take a look at the C107 coupes. Or, if you want the solidity and style of a Mercedes on a short budget, take look at the C107 coupes. You can find the first of two for sale, this 1975 Mercedes 280 SLC for $3495 in San Rafael, CA.
That light metallic green is oh-so-1970s, and suits the car well. These cars were rather unattractive in some of the earthier 1970s colors, combined with the later impact bumpers, but it’s surprising how long, slim, and elegant they look in European-market trim. This particular car has the 2.8-liter M110 twin-overhead cam six cylinder, churning out 185hp and 176 lb.-fit. of torque. Looking at the picture, the tires look a little small, but other than that, it looks like a well-preserved classic. With 163,000 miles and a recent tune-up, it’s said to run well.
The seller describes the seating as gold leather, but whatever it is, it looks to be in nice shape, although that dash mat might be hiding cracks. Be pleasantly surprised if the air conditioning is working. Would you upgrade to a Nardi wood wheel (or similar) from the original bus wheel shown here? And if the color (or the dubious reputation of the M110 engine) put you off, you might want to look at this 1978 Mercedes 450 SLC for sale for $2900 in Cash Valley, CA.
Wait, there’s no place called Cash Valley in California. The car is said to have a clean California title, but doesn’t appear to wear California plates. With a 1978 car, this could be a problem – if it hasn’t been properly federalized, you might have to resort to extreme measures to get it registered and past smog. With that out of the way, the 450 SLC will give you significantly more power, up 40hp to 225hp and up 102 lb.-ft. to 278 lb.-ft. of torque. That kind of power will probably still not win any races, but will likely make for easy 80-110 runs on the
freeway track. Not that RustyButTrusty endorses that kind of anti-social behavior.
The interior looks a little more worn on this car, with limp cushioning in the driver’s seat, but makes up for that with working air conditioning. The car is said to run and drive well, so if you’re able to get the legal issues out of the way, this may be the better deal. How about pulling the hideous chrome wheel arches and bundt wheels, replacing with some Ronal 5-spoke or BBS mesh wheels, adding a whip antenna, fog lights, and a black hood for an SLC rally clone?