The early 1970s is an interesting period for GT cars – many were built in the idiom of the golden age of postwar GTs, but most weren’t anywhere near as successful due to all those 1970s factors – fuel crises, emissions regulations, and in a way, safety regulations. Some pretty interesting cars were built in that period, including the Jensen Interceptor, Citroen SM, Triumph Stag, BMW E9 coupes, and Mercedes C107 coupes. The latter car remains the most affordable option today, and you can get a pretty decent car for short money compared to the others. What’s more is, parts are readily available due to the long life of their R107 roadster siblings, if not exactly cheap, and if you get an early-build (1972-3) car, you can get slim chrome bumpers instead of the ridiculous diving boards that did a lot to deface what was actually a fairly elegant design. You can find this 1973 Mercedes 450 SLC for sale for $4000 in the Willow Glen neighborhood of San Jose, CA.
It’s not unusual to find these cars with more, um, earthy paint colors, but they really work well in white and metallics. The metallic paints of that era tended to fade prematurely, but this car looks to have a nice gloss – hopefully it’s not a quick resale job. It’s a toss-up whether the Bundt wheels work better than the steel wheels with hubcaps, though some specialized period aftermarket wheels would really hit the spot – the obvious Ronals look nice, but how about some reproduction Momo Vegas to be different? Later phone-dial steel wheels might be cool too.
The car is said to have new brakes, tires, upholstery, and tune-up. Hopefully, the seller’s attention to less-than-essential things (okay, brakes are pretty essential, but upholstery is not) means the rest of the car is already good, and that the job’s been done well. With only 97,000 miles, there’s probably a lot of life left in this car, and it’s pretty easy on the eyes in a 1970s kind of way. Bring a map and a gas card, and pick a destination.