A Historical Celebration of Road Sports Cars That Took To The Tracks...
MERCEDES-BENZ 450 SLC ( 1978 )
( Raced in IMSA , Australian GT , Le Mans qualifying 1978 )
ENGINE : Mercedes V8 Cylinders 4520cc
POWER : 420 BHP with manual gearbox ( road cars had 222 )
WEIGHT : 1372 KGS ( road cars were 1690 KGS )
TOP SPEED :
( 1978 Le Mans data )
PRODUCTION : 1971-89 all engine-size variants ( 280-560 )
The famous Mercedes-Benz marque had not been seen at Le Mans
since the 50s , other than an AMG run 300 SEL at unofficial
practice in 1972 , until the team returned in 1978 with their 450
SLC car. The silver coupe had twice finished 3rd in the opening
rounds of the Group 2 European Touring Car Championship at
Monza and Salzburg. AMG owner Hans-Werner Aufrecht said at
the time`we are running in group 5 because group 2 doesnt exist
here ( at Le Mans ).However there is no question of us battling
with the Porsches...`and went on to explain the team were in the
process of homologating the new parts for the overall race
programme , including a 5-speed box , bigger disc brakes , 5-litre
engine and dry sump system. Regular drivers Hans Heyer +
Clemens Schikentanz knew the car was too heavy to be really
competitive against the Porsches in group 5 as it was the heaviest
car in the race by some 40 kgs. A best lap of 4 mins 25.5 was still
about 3 seconds too slow to bump off the slowest qualifier and so
fans of the marque would have to wait until the mid-80s to see the
Le Mans return with the Sauber-Mercedes Group C cars.
Interestingly when the car resumed in the Euro Touring cars it
had lost its reliability , failing to finish in the remaining 4 rounds.
It did return in 1980 however and won the Nurburgring round.
The SLC did subsiquently feature in GTs in Australia in the hands
of Bryan Thompson and later Brad Jones, who finished runner-up
three times in the 7 rounds the car started in 1983 to 85.
Loren St Lawrence drove both 450 and 380 shorter wheelbase SL in US Trans-Am in 1982 , best finish 6th.
In World Rallying the 450 SLC won the 1978 Tour of South
America rally as a group 4 car with autogear box and 310 BHP 5-
litre engines. Mikkola and Waldegard then won consecutive Ivory
Coast rallies in 500 SLCs in Rally Group 2 ( 330 BHP ).
In 1981 Hans Heyer built a 500 SLC protoypes with a view to qualifying at Le Mans.Sadly it never raced. It was quite a machine with the engine placed where the rear seats would normally be found , fitted into a silhouette chassis with shortened bodywork.click the link for more details...