Final Assembly Required: 1976 Mercedes 450SLC

This 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC could be a good project for the DIYer in the room as it’s had some exploratory work performed to assess whether it’s a good candidate for a rebuild, but the engine remains in pieces. These U.S.-spec C107 (and R107) cars are a tough sell in project-car form, as you don’t have to look too hard to find a solid driver. You’ll find this gold example here on craigslist in Seattle for $2,500 or best offer.

I’m always so drawn to these classic German roadsters and hardtops, largely because they are so cheap. But we all know that’s not a good reason to buy a car, and this example will certainly need some bucks thrown at it to run cheerfully again. Unfortunately, if you use a shop to do the work, you’ll be upside down pretty quickly given the generally low resale values for these classic Mercedes roadsters.

The interior, like so many other Mercedes of the era, looks phenomenal despite the car’s prolonged state of inactivity. No word on whether the paint is original, but the colors at least seem to go well together and the door jambs and under hood all match. The dash is a very rich brown color I can’t recall seeing too often, and is a nice change of pace from the typical black dash. The seller notes there is no rust on the car and that the automatic transmission fluid is clean.

Here’s what you’re looking at as it relates to determining how far you want to take this. The seller notes he tore down the engine to free up the pistons, as they had become stuck since the car had been sitting for so long. It will need new piston rings, a timing chain, and related gaskets to get it all back together. The question is – is it worth it? This is one of those cars that I’d consider only if the convenience factor was through the roof, but that’s me. Would you take it on?


  1. Sam61

    Here goes…crate sbc and tranny swap…why not…cheap fun with a solid car.

    The gold color made me think about my roasting turkey…Happy Thanksgiving!

    Like 3
  2. ChrisCoach

    I have two of these, one Euro, both run and need restoration, plus TONS of parts like interior kit, brakes etc. I’d take 3k for both!! So you could buy this car and my two, end up with two running cars for under 6k! Not to mention you would corner the market on the West Coast for SLCs!!!

    Like 1
    • Jack Quantrill

      Is yours a 280SLC, euro?

      • ChrisCoach

        Yes one is a Euro model and the other US….TWO for the price of one!!


    Bodywork scares me more than the engine. I would try to find a passenger door to replace.
    The engines in these are pretty stout and I would check it over but not really that complicated. A set of pistons is a grand and gasket set is 125. Add another grand for all the other parts and machine work.
    While I have never seen it done I guess you could drop a SBC in it, but it is foolish economy. The cost of installing the SBC will far exceed the cost fixing this engine. Those SBC just don’t jump in and have all the linkages and connectors magically attach.
    The problem is that with the body damage, the cost of repairing the engine and the cost of fixing everything that has deteriorated in the last 12 years will likely exceed the cost of just buying a good running car. The good thing if you fix all of this is that these things will run forever if properly maintained.

  4. Brakeservo

    The SLC was never really a desirable car, I’m not even sure how they sold when new?? $2500 asking price?? The best one in the world would probably only bring $10,000 if that right now. Not economically viable UNLESS the seller gives you the car AND a $2500 starting allowance!

  5. alphasud Member

    Update to this listing in November. It was recently relisted in CL for $1000. I bought it. Owner had put the engine back together but it still doesn’t run. I’ve always liked the look of the Coupe model and thought what the heck. For 1K you can’t go wrong. I’m guessing the K- jet is throwing a fit having old gas in her after 12 years. Im expecting a complete rebuild of the FI as these don’t like sitting.

    • ChrisCoach

      I still have two running SLCs for sale and would let them go for $2500 for the pair! Plus I have a ton of parts that are included including a interior upholstery kit too!!! If interested please send a PM and I’ll give you my number to discuss as I’ve got to get my warehouse emptied since I’m moving out of the US and need to pass the building on to the new owner. Both cars are stored inside in Richmond CA.

      Like 1
      • alphasud Member

        You definitely have my interest. Send pictures

        Like 1
      • Brian Williamson

        Interested if you still have some parts…

  6. alphasud Member

    Another SLC update. I decided to find a donor car with a running engine to bring this one back to life since the cost to rebuild both the engine and fuel injection would not be practical. Spring 2020 I found a 87 560SEL that was running and driving. After driving the SEL I fell in love with that car and it’s currently my daily. Fall of 2020 I found a 88 SL with front damage for $1200. Car has 88K and I promptly drove down and paid for it. The owner handed me the service folder and when I got home I discovered he spent several thousand in repairs prior to his wife running into the back of another car. Plans are to do a complete drivetrain/harness/ suspension swap to update the 76 and turn it into a 560SLC. Stay tuned for updates.

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