The all-new Mercedes-Benz 350SL convertible and 350 SLC coupe were introduced in 1971 as the replacement for the long-running 230/250/280SL (W113) series, with the new design internally designated Type R107 and the coupes C107. The designs were courtesy of Bruno Sacco who had also performed the design work on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans of the 1970s. In comparison to its predecessor, it was slightly larger and rounder, and based upon a unibody structure incorporating steel, rather than the aluminum body panels of the outgoing 280SL. The interior featured more luxurious accouterments and trim.
Most of the production was destined for the North American market and came with a 4.5-liter V-8 engine. The European-specification 350SLs were equipped with a 3.5-liter V8 powerplant. The larger 4.5-liter engine offered a torque boost and allowed the use of taller rear-axle ratios to deliver better freeway cruising and fuel economy. American cars came with larger, rubberized DOT-compliant bumpers and quad headlamps, and most received an automatic gearbox. In Europe, the SL was faster than its predecessor with more predictable handling, thanks in part to the revised rear swing-axles which acted like semi-trailing arms.
The R107-generation SL series received continual updates and modifications during its production lifespan which lasted nearly two decades in five variants. Sales of the 4.5-liter model began in North America in 1972, released as the 350SL. The following year the car was correctly badged as a 450SL. The 450 SL was produced from 1973 through 1980 and appeared in numerous movies and television shows including 'Hart to Hart,' 'Kojak,' 'Dynasty,' The Six Million Dollar Man,' and 'The Streets of San Francisco.'
The 1974 model year brought even more DOT and EPA regulations that mandated five miles per hour impact bumpers, unleaded fuel usage, and catalytic converters. The R107 was quickly retrofitted to accept the large, imposing bumpers that would remain throughout its production run on the cars destined for the United States. The R107 was one of the few convertibles available throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s, as most U.S. manufacturers shied away from its developments due to rumors of stricter rollover standards forthcoming.
66,298 examples of the 450 SL were produced, with 5,583 for the final 1980 model year. Colors and interiors were modernized for 1980 replacing the dated 1970s color chart. In February 1980 production began on the U.S.-bound 380SL for the 1981 model year alongside the 1980 model year 450SL. The last 450SL was built in October 1980.
by Daniel Vaughan | Apr 2020
Related Reading : Mercedes-Benz 450 SL History
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1980 Vehicle Profiles
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|1985||Chevrolet (1,418,098)||Renault (1,322,887)||Oldsmobile (1,192,549)||537,909|
|1984||Chevrolet (1,655,151)||Renault (1,429,138)||Ford (1,180,708)||469,385|
|1983||Renault (1,491,853)||Chevrolet (1,175,200)||Toyota (1,068,321)||483,359|
|1982||Renault (1,491,853)||Chevrolet (1,297,357)||Toyota (1,068,321)||428,725|
|1981||Chevrolet (1,673,093)||Renault (1,295,713)||Toyota (1,068,321)||414,527|
|1980||Chevrolet (2,288,745)||Renault (1,492,339)||Ford (1,162,275)||469,385|
|1979||Chevrolet (2,284,749)||Ford (1,835,937)||Renault (1,405,330)||52,820|
|1978||Chevrolet (2,375,436)||Ford (1,923,655)||Renault (1,240,941)||382,622|
|1977||Chevrolet (2,543,153)||Toyota (1,884,260)||Ford (1,840,427)||401,250|
|1976||Chevrolet (2,103,862)||Toyota (1,884,260)||Ford (1,861,537)||370,348|
|1975||Chevrolet (1,755,773)||Toyota (1,714,836)||Ford (1,569,608)||356,477|