1972 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL
Location: United Kingdom
Manufactured in June 1972 this is one of the first W107 Mercedes SL's to have been produced
The American market was so important, even in those days, that the larger 450 version was solely offered to the States with the smaller engined 350 being used for the British market and our friends in Europe too
Of course MB saw fit to badge the US versions as 350SL so that any stray European's did think that the Amrican's had special treatment - which of course, clearly they did!
The 450SL didn't appear on the European streets for another 3 years...........
More over the specifications for the US cars outstripped the European cars too - most cars across the pond, had alloy wheels (often referred to as Mexican Hat), heat insulated laminated glass (code 593) and most importantly nowadays, electric windows & air conditioning (factory code 585)
Naturally, our lovely example has all of those options, which are still working with ice cold air conditioning and strong operation of the electric windows too
Finished in a stunning colour combination and in almost unmolested condition upon purchasing her fresh from her trip across the pond, we asked our chum Steve Redfearn, well known Mercedes guru, to give her a once over - at which he stated that there was nothing really necessary, accept to replace her front shock absorbers
Obviously a full service was carried out as well as an MoT so that she could be UK registered
A compression check shows that she has a very strong engine, with a quiet rear end together with very smooth automatic gear changes
Obviously she had been loved in the States and her immaculate condition testifies to this, as is the underside & wheel arches which are in unmolested condition with not a jot of rust anywhere
Her original tools are in the boot wrapped in the correct bag from Mercedes - many have been lost over the years
All instruments work correctly as does the original Becker AM / FM radio with cassette (factory code 515)
Another nice touch is the fitment, obviously bespoke for we haven't seen this before, of the special rear seats with seat belts - perfect for bringing the kiddies on the journey
One of the best we have seen from this early period, which feature rather elegant touches including a clock in the centre air vent on the fascia, (later found in the main instrument binnacle) chrome bezels on the vents and chrome trim on the steering wheel too (again deleted for 1974 model year cars onwards)
Another difference was the new aero-dynamic door mirrors which were new for these models - these items were increased in size for 1974 model year and most importantly the bumpers are the same as the European version, with delicate over riders as well.
As previously mentioned the 1974 models had a host of changes, not least of which are the US impact absorbing rubber bumpers - a hateful upgrade and they just spoil the line of these pretty roadsters
The delicate differences between the early version and the later are now extremely difficult to replicate and it seems that now collectors are realising that these first series SL in 4.5 litre form are on the up and unmodified, original examples, such as ours, are more than difficult to find