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HowStuffWorks «MercedesBenz 350/450/380/500/560SL»

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Mercedes-Benz 380 W22

Mercedes-Benz 350/450/380/500/560SL

Strictly the R107 Mercedes SL isn’t a car but a two-seat GT. You may or may not consider that A Thing, but it’s precisely Daimler-Benz intended.

D-B began a successor to the pagoda-roof W113 SL in the The firm was in an expansionist mood, increased profits (though not more sales) especially in the U.S. market. Management that bigger, plusher, cars were the way to go. Kicking off design cycle for the entire line, the replacement SL, internally R107, was the first model to this new philosophy, from D-B has reaped vast rewards since.

Bigger and plusher the certainly was, and very designed with America in Compared with the 230/250/280SL, it was overall (by 3.3 inches) and in wheelbase to a little more space the cockpit and room ahead for air standard for the States.

It was also wider to accommodate required door guard as well as bigger tires almost a necessity, as a switch aluminum to steel body added some 300-400 to curb weight. The extra undoubtedly contributed to passive though several other did more: a fuel tank out of harm’s way over the rear safety door handles and wheel, new-design seatbelts.

The certainly looked heavier, none of the previous SL’s simplicity. A lift-off pagoda-style was retained (and even by a slight trunklid concavity) and were functional features ribbed taillamp lenses and troughs that shed and muck to help the driver see and be Overall, though, the styling was not accepted. One U.S. magazine described it as Americanized and Anti-agile.

And this weightier Mercedes-Benz SL was agile than its predecessors, more civilized. Yet its chassis was capable, evolved from of the late-60s New Generation compact with D-B’s typical swing axles (altered to like semi-trailing arms) and recirculating-ball power steering. To the greater heft and enhance D-B specified its smooth 3.5-liter V-8 as for Europe.

American SLs got a 4.5-liter enlargement emission controls rendered no powerful. A clumsy four-headlamp instead of single flush-mount also marred the U.S. as did protruding 5-mph impact federally mandated from

The R107 SL was plusher inside, one of aspects of the car designed with the market in mind.

Though far from the original Sports concept, the R107 sold no previous Mercedes-Benz SL, and has remained for a remarkable 16 years without alteration. Not that Daimler-Benz has advocated change for its own sake with sales consistently there’s been no need to with this assured, and solid sports tourer timeless in its open-air appeal and decently quick, sometimes

Mercedes-Benz 380 W22

Which brings us to the changes have been made, in engines. Let’s start Europe, where a 2.8-liter six-cylinder version was added in as an Energy Crisis special. ran through 1985, when D-B its new 3.0-liter sohc six (from the sedans) for a new 300SL (though it was like the hallowed Gullwing).


A hot appeared for 1980 — in time for Energy Crisis II, inflation had lifted all Mercedes such rarefied price by then that sales hardly affected by a mere shortage.

Meanwhile, America got a version of this all-aluminum V-8 for a 1981-model 380SL, whose acceleration led to a black market for European 500s that embarrassed Mercedes-Benz of North This plus an eventual oil persuaded D-B to develop a 5.6-liter as a U.S. exclusive for ’86. the 500, it boasted improved control, Bosch anti-lock and front chin spoiler no rear spoiler), plus airbag, limited-slip differential, and trim and equipment. In Europe, a replaced the 3.8-liter as the mid-range

Today, the R107 is the senior of the Mercedes line, and engines no matter how good, aren’t against younger, higher-tech, aerodynamic competitors. D-B is ready a new R129SL, for 1989-90, and the R107 be retired at last.

Many will be sad to see it go, but it will not be Good Things never

To learn more about and other sports cars,

Mercedes-Benz 380 W22
Mercedes-Benz 380 W22
Mercedes-Benz 380 W22
Mercedes-Benz 380 W22
Mercedes-Benz 380 W22

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