Test Drive Mercedes-Benz 500 SL R107

On the dream of childhood Mercedes-Benz 500 SL does not pull – too strict and inexpressive. In the guise, there is neither the dynamics, nor the ease of flight – almost entirely monumental. Not a car, but some frozen music. Therefore, as a child, he did not like me and my automaton friends: well, yes – Mercedes, yes – a sports roadster, yes – all in the skin, and what? We loved Porsche, Ferrari, Lancia and Fiat sport. And probably, everything is right: Daimler-Benz never addressed its products to the generation of Pepsi and even golden youth.

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But it took some thirty or forty years, a magnificent SL after the restoration in DCS workshop turned up for me to test … and I looked at it with different eyes. We are both almost not old, but my worldview and its positioning have somehow become closer. In general, I rode on it, dabbled in front of the public, patted the door – and realized that now, at adulthood, it’s time to put it on your dream list, which you should strive for.

The Power of Tradition

Clearly, my lip is not stupid – I liked the most “fatty” configuration of the most powerful modification of the roadster Mercedes-Benz 500 SL, which in the factory classification was designated as R107 (1971-1989).

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Roadsters in Stuttgart have always been able to do and loved, and the SL series was generally founded by the legendary 300 SL Gullwing – from the Coupe “The Seagull’s Wing” in 1958 made an open version of the Mercedes 300 SL W198. At the same time, a similarly constructive and stylistically similar, but more democratic Mercedes 190 SL W121B2 (1955-1963) was made, and a little later they released a roadster based on the “Pagoda” W113 (1963-1971), stylistically similar to our hero today.

And he, as you know, turned out to be a real long-liver, occupying the conveyor for 18 years. During this period, our Mercedes SL R107 model tried many power units, each time getting the corresponding digital index: 280 SL, 300 SL, 350 SL, 380 SL, 420 SL, 450 SL, 500 SL and even 560 SL … Externally essentially differed only Versions of cars for the American market: for the sake of the states’ laws they had elongated bumpers and two pairs of round headlights not covered with a common glass – instead of a pair of rectangular ones.

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Interestingly, five months later the roadster SL R107 was launched production of the SLC S107 coupe. It featured a non-removable hardtop and a 36 cm long base. Thanks to this, the interior of the coupe was made four-seated, having arranged behind a pair of full-fledged passenger seats instead of a super-slim sofa, where I, for example, would be afraid to squeeze my kids (and on W121 B2 one could see a transverse single-seat armchair!). It seems that this is an unprecedented case – that the cabriolet is the base for another type of body of the mass model. The production time of the SLC S107 coupe turned out to be ten years less than the roadster – in 1981 it was replaced by the C126 model, built on the basis of the 126th S-class.

It is worth saying that for a special surcharge to the roadster, you could also get a hard roof – a removable one.

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