Early Edition:

1971 Mercedes 350SL 4.5
2-Top Roadster

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In the late 1960s, when the Pagoda SL approached the end of its 7-year production lifespan, Mercedes-Benz had a worthy successor waiting in the wings.

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Code-named the R107, it was the first Mercedes Roadster in history featuring a V8 engine. The 3.5-liter unit was sourced from the high-dollar 280SE 3.5 W111 Coupe that was introduced in fall of 1970 as a 1971 model.

Yet when this new Roadster, the "350SL," went through final EPA emissions testing, it had to run extremely lean in order to pass. To avoid issues along the line, Mercedes' management quickly pulled the plug and decided to use a 4.5-liter engine instead, but there was no time to change the badging for the 1972 model year cars. What was from the get-go a 450SL, was badged a 350SL (4.5) until late fall 1972, when the 1973 models got the 450SL badge.
The rest is little known history.

These early R107s with their elegant European bumpers are almost identical to their European counterparts. Devoid of emission-controls that emasculated later models, they are more powerful, receptive of the slightest throttle input, and embody the purity of the concept.

The 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SL (4.5) presented here, VIN *107.044-12-001059*, was built in September of 1971. It is one of the earliest US-market cars made. In fact, we haven't seen an earlier one, nor heard of an earlier one offered for sale, ever.

The heart of the beast, the 4.5-liter V8, lives in a toothbrush clean engine compartment. It is untouched and all original and features overhead camshafts and BOSCH mechanical fuel injection. The 'big' V-8 churns out over 200 horsepower with ease. It is designed to cruise effortlessly on the Autobahn at 120mph all day long.

The motor always starts on the first turn of the key and runs magnificently. Made from cast iron, it is arguably the most dependable Mercedes V-8 ever made. Without black boxes and plethora of electronic emission controls that give nothing but headaches, this solid engine behaves very much like a 'good old' V-8 from Detroit, but it is, of course, much more refined.

There are no fluid leaks, nor are there any other issues to report.

More to come . . . .


You are most welcome to inspect this fine automobile at our location in Ventura, by appointment, or have someone inspect it for you.
Please, direct all inquiries to bill@californiaclassix.com or call us at 805-653-5551.