Mercedes W107 Profile

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Mercedes W107 General Information

The Mercedes 500SLC is an evolution to the 450SLC 5.0. The changes were rather minor, just detail work. We would not have listed the 500SLC as an independent car but as an evolution of the 450SLC here if it wasn't for Mercedes to change categories with it. Despite the minor changes, the car had been moved from group4 into group2. You see more explained about these W107 models in the group4 450SLC chapter. However the 450SLC with the 5.0 added to its name was a homologation special. But when a 500SLC and 500SL became available to the public with the same base engine, soon production numbers became big enough to transfer the car into group2 without its performance being hampered. In fact, the group2 car had even 30BHP more, which however was kind of normal development after 2 years rallying the original 450SLC 5.0.

The 500SLC did not have a great life. It was launched pretty far into the 1980 season and only ever competed on 3 events as a works car. All this was more in preparation for a full WRC program with the car in 1981, but that program had been called off completely days before the season's start.

The group2 500SLC could be identified from the group4 450SLC 5.0 for the new car having round, black, Escort Mk2 style wheel arch extensions. In simple terms that is. In the real order the group4 450SLC already showed these big black wheel arches in Portugal 1980, but that was a "couple-off" for this "sprint" event, next round Safari they disappeared again. The wheel arches were fitted again for the Acropolis. The group2 500SLC then was launched in Argentina 1980 and also then started NZ and Bandama with the wheel arch extensions always fitted.

If that short lived 500SLC was in preparation for a full 1981 attack, even if this program would have gone ahead the 500SLC would only have competed on 3 WRC events. For 1981 their car of choice was the W107 500SL. The difference to the 500SLC - and here it is like similarities to the 307 WRC - was that the SL was the cabriolet version of the SLC coupé. The hardtop was only fitted and welded to the shell after the roll cage was installed and the car was a fair bit lighter than the SLC. Engine work had the power go up from 310/340BHP to a potent 380BHP! And also at long last the 500SL got rid of that silly automatic transmission for a proper manual one. (500SL listed here with "KS-" Kassel reg plates were a de-tuned version prepared in a private attempt by a Mercedes dealer.)

Our database allows an interesting observation in context with all this. Towards the end of 1980 Mercedes registered 4 new rally cars at once (S-EH 1418, 1419, 1420, 1820). 2 were for the Bandama Rallye, the only 2 W107 rally cars that actually started life as group2 500SLC (the other cars were converted group4 450SLC). The other 2 cars registered at the very same time were the new 500SL test cars! Interestingly the first SL prototype was S-EH 1419 with 1418 & 1420 being the two new SLCs for Bandama 1980, showing how these projects belong together.

Walter Röhrl even already tested the new car before Rallye Monte Carlo 1981. Then the naive, arrogant Mercedes bosses called Röhrl and asked him what he thought of the car and if there was any chance they might not win Monte Carlo. When Röhrl replied the obvious, Mercedes did not like rallying if wins were never guaranteed and called the project off. What a shame, Walter Röhrl wrote in his book that Mercedes even had plans for a mid-engined version W107. So it is a shame they were gone, but this naivity and arrogance they displayed here not for the first nor last time, also makes it hard to find sympathies for them.

The attitude of Mercedes was a strange one, so please read in the 450SLC 5.0 file for more details about Mercedes' attitude and the car!

Mercedes W107 Related Content

Mercedes W107 Evolutions

Model & Evo. (Activity)
Mercedes W107 500SL (81-81) 380/6500 450/5000 4390.1790.1300 1330 (3.5) RWD (2460)
Mercedes W107 500SLC (80-80) 340/6500 430/4000 4750.1790.1330 1395 (3.9) RWD (2820)

Random Mercedes W107 Photos

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Mercedes W107 Results

This is an unofficial Car Results list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego hh:mm:ss
2nd. 1980 WRC Rally Argentina H. Mikkola A. Hertz #3 [UNKNOWN] 13:04:35
3rd. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand H. Mikkola A. Hertz #3 [UNKNOWN] 12:29:22
5th. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand B. Waldegaard H. Thorszelius #1 [UNKNOWN] 12:42:38
1st. 1980 WRC Bandama Rallye B. Waldegaard H. Thorszelius #8 [UNKNOWN] 2:36:00
2nd. 1980 WRC Bandama Rallye J. Recalde N. Straimel #15 [UNKNOWN] 3:47:00
5th. 1980 WRC Bandama Rallye V. Preston Jnr. C. Billstam #6 [UNKNOWN] 5:43:00

Mercedes W107 Retirements

This is an unofficial Car Model Retirements list and may be incomplete.

Pos Event Driver Co-Driver # Rego Reason
Ret. 1981 WRC Rallye San Remo H. Bohne P. Diekmann #20 [UNKNOWN] SS1 rear axle
Ret. 1980 WRC Bandama Rallye H. Mikkola A. Hertz #4 [UNKNOWN] SS42 rear axle
Ret. 1980 WRC Bandama Rallye A. Cowan K. Kaiser #7 [UNKNOWN] SS21 crash
Ret. 1980 WRC Rally New Zealand A. Cowan K. Kaiser #6 [UNKNOWN] SS29 crash
Ret. 1980 WRC Rally of Finland J. Vilkas J. Soini #30 [UNKNOWN] SS47 suspension
Ret. 1980 WRC Rally Argentina B. Waldegaard H. Thorszelius #8 [UNKNOWN] SS6 driveshaft
Ret. 1980 WRC Rally Argentina J. Recalde N. Straimel #14 [UNKNOWN] SS6 disqualified - illegal servicing