How The 1970s Mercedes-Benz 500SL Beat America

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There’s a reason why Bobby Ewing drove an R107 Mercedes SL. It’s because it was the best of the best all the way from 1972 to 1989, thanks to a group of brilliant engineers working hard to come up with elegant solutions for difficult problems set by American politics.

A Mercedes built all the way up to the first E-Class (W124, 1984-1997) is a Mercedes that will outlast us all if properly maintained. We know that. But while people usually refer to the 190 ‘Baby Benz’ as the most over-engineered Mercedes of the last fifty years, the R107 SL-Class is a worthy contender for that title as well. Germans don’t give something a nickname like ‘Panzer’ for nothing.

As Charles Morgan explains on Carfection while floating through the Welsh countryside, while Mercedes had to give up on the Wankel engine idea, they still managed to built a car that was both powerful, comfortable, elegant, highly refined and safe like no other car at the time. Or ten years later, as a matter of fact.


And while Porsche had to go Targa with the 911 to meet those rollover regulations, Mercedes wasn’t ready to give up on convertibles...

Yes, it’s bit of an old man’s car, I know. But we all planning to get there, don’t we?


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