What a mighty difference one little letter can make. While we’re all well versed in the heady open-top thrills of the Mercedes SL, adding a little ‘C’ to the name changes everything. The car to which that badge is affixed is in a whole other realm, a higher echelon – it’s a car for plutocrats and diplomats, the jewel in the crown of the 1970s Mercedes-Benz grand-touring range.
So what is it? Well, in simple terms, they took the SL roadster platform, added fourteen inches to the wheelbase, fitted some rear seats that could actually accommodate grown humans, and crafted a fixed roof. Oh, but the whole was greater than the sum of its already excellent parts; the details were jewel-like, from the slatted faux-curtains in the side windows to the sumptuous trim options, and in 450 spec it was packing a full-fat 4.5-litre V8. 225bhp eased it to an impressive 135mph, taking all of the alluring benefits of the SL and refracting them through a super-luxurious filter. Truly the coupe of playboys and high-rollers.
What you’re looking at here is an original and unrestored example of a ’73 SLC. Interestingly the DVLA shows it being first registered in the UK in March 1977 – and what’s even more interesting is the mileage: the clock shows just 19,650 miles, which is unverified but believed to be genuine.
The car has spent the last decade or so largely in storage in south-west London; it has been MOT’d on-and-off (it has a current MOT, and the history shows it being tested in 2013 and 2014), but it’s essentially been in stasis for the duration. With a long-term owner being overseas, the car now finds itself in the care of a private collector who’s well known to us at Car & Classic, who has decided to move the car on to a new owner who can give it the love it deserves.
Unfortunately, there was no paperwork available on our shoot. However, the seller will be sending us through what is available as soon as possible ,and this will be added to the gallery.
When Mercedes-Benz were putting this interior together, they had a very clear game-plan: take all of the blueness they could find, distil it down its very essence of purest blue, then slather the cabin with the results. It’s genuinely astounding – all of the blue things on Earth are slightly less blue thanks to the innards of this Merc.
The seats are in superb condition with minimal wear, and the fronts recline properly to allow access to the pleasantly squishy rear bench. The carpets are very good throughout, and the dash is in great condition with no cracks on the top and all the eyeball vents swivelling properly. Aside from the fitment of a modern Sony CD head unit, everything here is factory-original. The headlining is all complete and clean with no sagging, and the centre console is solid. The doorcards are great, and there’s no excess wear to the steering wheel or gearknob. As far as we can tell, all of the dials, knobs and buttons are doing what they should.
The most attractive thing about that this car is that it’s unrestored and complete. There are one or two very minor things that a purist may wish to address, but the key point here is that you’re not dealing with the unknown quantity of someone else’s restoration – this is all as it came down the production line, so everything that you might wish to deal with can be done so with fresh eyes. In terms of corrosion, there only appear to be a handful of very minor areas to the body – a little on either rear wheelarch, and a tiny bit on one edge of the bonnet, plus a little in the driver-side door-shut. Overall, the panels are solid and straight, and the paintwork is remarkably good. The correct chrome trim is all in place, and largely free from pitting or patination. The light lenses are in good condition, and all the window glass is fine. (You may spot that the outer panes on the louvred side windows are absent – the seller does have these pieces.) The alloy wheels are tidy, and wear matching tyres with good tread. As the photos show, it does all appear to be pretty solid underneath, and since our photoshoot the owner has had it all properly undersealed.
The powertrain of the 450 SLC is a thoroughly robust thing, the 4.5-litre M117 V8 mated to an automatic gearbox of supreme smoothness. And while it’s a powerful engine, what’s really notable is the torque – all 278lb.ft of it – allowing effortless progress-making in all driving scenarios. The quintessential grand tourer? It’s certainly up there.
This particular car throws up some pleasant surprises too. You might expect a car that’s been essentially unused for a while to be a bit reluctant to function, but from what we’ve seen it’s all looking very positive. Not only does it start, run and drive, but following our photoshoot the owner took it on lengthy journey through rush-hour London and beyond, reporting no issues with the brakes, suspension, steering, transmission or engine. It didn’t overheat, it didn’t misbehave, it just did what an SLC is supposed to do. So while the car may require a little recommissioning, it doesn’t appear to be a scarily in-depth endeavour.
What we’re seeing here is a whole lot of potential. The 450 SLC is a very sought-after model at the moment, and the chances of finding an original and unrestored example with such low miles is vanishingly small. Sure, this car has been largely unused for a very long time, but from what we’ve seen it’s all looking very positive to get this SLC dicing with the modern traffic in 2021: all of the original bits are there, it’s running and driving with a current MOT, and it’s not a bag of rust like so many classic cars of this age. Indeed, it all looks to be impressively solid. So you might see this Merc as a project, but if that’s the case it’s not exactly going to be a tricky one. Everything’s there and it’s good to go.
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Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.
As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.
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