1979 coupé received a series of internal and external modifications so as to become a rally beast and give Mercedes-Benz a historic victory
Before the short-lived tenure on the roadster which used to be the SLK, the SLC nameplate was used on a coupé version which the SL-Class had in its R107 generation. Despite the fact that it did not last long in the market, it was used in several competitions. One of those cars, nicknamed “Rallyewagen”, is now going on auction with a history that is simply impressive.
In the late 1970s, Mercedes-Benz used its SLC coupé to compete in the WRC. The unit going on auction has the chassis number 836 and snatched a second place at its very first race, the 1979 Bandama Rally Côte d’Ivoire. It used the company’s all-new 5.0-liter V8 engine made of aluminum. Björn Waldegård was the race driver, with navigation done by Hans Thorszelius.
If a silver medal does not look impressive to you, there is no need to worry. Mercedes-Benz competed with four of those cars at that race, and earned the historic finish of first, second, third AND fourth places. If that is not enough, the 450 SLC was also the first vehicle with a V8 engine and the first vehicle with an automatic transmission to have ever won a WRC event.
What does it have to be that special?
The Rallyewagen received several modifications compared to the regular 450 SLC. Hood and trunk panels are made of a lightweight alloy, a custom-made transmission, additional engine cooling, and a radiator that also worked as a grille to protect the power steering system. The German automaker built a total of only 19 examples of this vehicle for international racing.
When it comes to this particular unit, it raced during that first season then went to Argentina to be used as a training vehicle. Two years later, the Mercedes team sold it to H. Beankens, a Belgian enthusiast. The coupé would trade hands some more times over the following years until reaching the current owner. It has integrated their individual car collection since 1990.
Now, that does not mean that the 450 SLC stood still all those years. The owner made sure to restore it to the original condition, including the livery used at that Bandama Rally Côte d’Ivoire, and has preserved it in pristine shape ever since. The car is now auctioned by RM Sotheby’s with its original German title and a genuine document attesting its racing history.
Genuine tuning parts make a difference
One of the reasons why the 450 SLC had such an amazing performance is the use of genuine parts. They are the only ones that can provide top quality to make use of the car’s potential, whether on or off the road. Mercteil is proud to offer a wide selection of genuine Mercedes performance parts for all models. Take a look at our online catalog today to purchase yours!
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