In April 1971 a new SL rolled out onto the highway and it was first time the model series had eight-cylinder power. The series was also had a very high safety concept which had a strengthened A-pillar that could meet USA standards. The result was a resounding success, and the formula was built from 1971 to 1989.
In Autumn of 1971, the 450 SL was produced exclusively for the US market. Its engine (M 117) developed an output of 165 kW at 5000 rpm. Top speed was 215 km/h, and it needed 8.8 seconds to go from 0 to 100 km/h. In 1972 the corresponding Coupé version, the 450 SLC followed, with identical engine and identical performance. Prior to March 1973, both were destined exclusively for export to North America; after that they were included in the general sales range.
After 1974 American-delivered cars were equipped with larger, rubberized DOT-compliant bumpers that extended the car eight inches. Throughout production all American cars had quad headlamps and many were fitted with a three-speed automatic transmission.
To distinguish the the 450 SL from other 2.8 and 3.5-litre models in the range an inconspicuous front spoiler was attached to the rear lower end of the front apron and distinctly increased the radiator’s air throughput.
Between November 1975 and February 1976 the fuel injection systems of all three engines were changed for better compliance with the emission standards, which meanwhile also had become stiffer in most European countries. The electronically controlled Bosch D-Jetronic was abandoned for the newly developed mechanically controlled Bosch K-Jetronic.
At the Geneva Motor Show in March 1980 the SL and SLC presented themselves in updated form. The new light-alloy eight-cylinder engines of the 126-series S-Class made their arrival in the 107 series and replaced the outgoing 450SL with the 500SL
4-Speed Manual, 5-Speed Manual or 3-Speed Automatic
~217 kph / 134.8 mph
fuel econ epa
18.5 L/100 km or 12.71 mpg-us
90 litres or 23.76 gal.
Auction Sales History
1973 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL Roadster – sold for $12,100 The current owner, who recently passed away, acquired this remarkable 1973 450SL over 20 years ago. With fewer than 22,000 miles showing, it is finished in gold with the original brown leather interior and equipped with an automatic transmission, a tool roll and both hard and soft tops. As offered, it is a very nice example of the iconic 450SL – the definitive European luxury convertible of the 1970s. Auction Source: 2010 Vintage Cars of Meadow Book by RM Auctions