The seventies

107 series SL-Class Roadsters, 1971 – 1985

In spring 1971, another production sports car was presented with the Type 350 SL, replacing the 280 SL, which had been built since January 1968. Technically, this model was a brand new development which had almost nothing in common with its predecessor. However, the same basic components had already been used in other Mercedes-Benz models: Front and rear wheel suspension was basically the same as that of the ” Stroke Eight” models and the V8-engine was a familiar feature of the saloons, coupés and convertibles of the 280 SE 3.5 Type.

The R107 Roadster

The Mercedes-Benz R107 series was produced from 1971 until 1989.

237,287 cars were built.

107 series SLC Coupés, 1971 - 1981

Type 350 SLC, presented at the Paris Motor Show in October 1971, became the successor of the coupé models 280 SE and 280 SE 3.5. They had not been produced any more since June and August 1971 respectively. In February 1972, four months after the premiere, the series production of the newcomer – internally called C 107 – began. In contrast to its predecessors, the new coupé was not based on a limousine of the upper class, but rather was a sister model of the 350 SL, presented six months ago. Except for the hard roof of the SLC, both variants were identical up to the door rear edge. The differences showed themselves in the rear half of the car. The wheelbase, prolonged by 360 mm in comparison to the SL, allowed a larger interior and four full-sized seats.

Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC 

Flagship model of the luxury-class coupés based on the SL Roadster of model series 107, produced from 1980 to 1981. The 450 SLC 5.0 was built from 1978 to 1980 with the same engine.

W116 series S-Class Saloons, 1972 – 1980

In September 1972 a totally new car generation of the upper class was presented to the public. For the first time the name “Mercedes-Benz S-Class” was officially used. It replaced model series 108/109 and at that time consisted of Types 280 S, 280 SE and 350 SE. Six months later the S-Class saloon was also available with a larger displacement capacity in the 4.5-liter V8-engine, parallel to the 450 SL and the 450 SLC. At the same time Type 450 SEL was launched with a wheelbase extended by 100 mm. As with its predecessors the rear passengers thus benefitted from the newly gained leg room. Since November 1973 the prolonged version was also available as 350 SEL, since April 1974 finally also as 280 SEL.

W123 series saloons, 1975 – 1985

In January 1976 the W 114/115 series “Stroke Eight” models were replaced by a totally reconstructed type range with the internal designation W 123. The model family ranged from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder Diesel with 55 hp to the 2.8-liter 6-cylinder injection engine with 185 hp.

The new model range orientated itself to the S-Class which had been produced for three and a half years. Thus the new medium-size type was also provided with a semi-trailing arm rear axle which had already been introduced with the “Stroke Eight” models. Furthermore it was equipped with a double-wishbone front suspension with zero steering-offset. The chassis sub-frame of the preceding models was not necessary any more. All other safety-related construction details realised for the first time in series 107 and 116 were of course transferred to the medium-size types. The most important improvements, in comparison to the preceding model range, was the even more stable security passenger cell with stiffened roof-frame structure, high-strength roof and door pillars as well as reinforced doors. The energy absorption of the front and rear deformation zone in the front and rear end was significantly increased by a controlled deformation capacity.

The seventies
The Seventies

In March 1977 a coupé variant of series 123 was presented at the Geneva Motor Show.

Types 230 C, 280 C and 280 CE succeeded the 114 series “Stroke Eight” coupés. Their production had run out between June and August of the previous year.

As in the preceding Types there was a close technical and stylistic relationship to the saloon. In contrast to the “Stroke Eight” coupés, which were based on the unshortened body platform of their four-door counterpart, the wheelbase of the new two-door cars had been reduced by 85 mm in comparison to the saloons. This measure made the coupé variant stylistically more independent and enabled a more homogeneous and more attractive design. Especially the tail end was now less dominant and therefore fitting in more harmoniously.

the seven

123 series estates, 1978 – 1985

At the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA, in September 1977, the so-called “T-Model” was presented as the third body variant of series 123. “T” was to be interpreted as “tourism and transport”. For the first time a estate solely produced by Mercedes-Benz was part of the official model range. From April 1978 onwards, the production was carried out in the Bremen plant. Having been reserved to the manufacturing of delivery trucks before, it now step by step was equipped to assemble passenger cars.

The estates saw an immediate success and were offered with Diesel and petrol engines. At first, the model range comprised Types 240 TD, 300 TD, 230 T, 250 T and 280 TE. As with the saloons there were differences in the equipment of the body. Only the top model 280 TE exhibited rectangular wide-band headlamps and chromed air-inlet grills in front of the windscreen. All other types were equipped with the characteristic twin head-lamps and the black air-inlet grills.




126 series S-Class Saloons, 1979 – 1985 (first generation)

In September 1979 a new generation of the S-Class was presented at the Frankfurt International Motor Show IAA. The range of series 126 first comprised seven models. There was a choice of four engines – from the 2.8-liter six-cylinder carburettor engine with 156 hp to the 5.0-liter all-aluminium V8-engine with petrol injection and 240 hp. Furthermore, one could decide between two body variants. Beside the normal version there was a prolonged variant as had been offered for generations in the upper-class saloons. This time the enlargement of the wheelbase with 140 mm was more remarkable than usual. As always it all was of benefit to the passenger leg room and the entrance width of the rear doors.

No classical bumpers any more

The layout of the vehicle basically corresponded to the previous models. The new S-Class saloons, too, were equipped with a semi-trailing arm rear axle as well as a twin control-arm front wheel suspension with zero steering offset.

The body had been constructed according to the newest insights into safety research. Thanks to new construction principles the passenger cell now also remained unharmed at an offset impact at a collision speed of 55 kph. World wide the 126 series saloons were the first series vehicles fulfilling the criterion of an offset crash.

The characteristic design elements of the new S-Class present themselves more in the lower zones. For the first time a Mercedes-Benz car hat no classical bumpers any more. In stead, there were generously dimensioned plastic-coated bumpers seamlessly integrated into the front and rear apron. Broad side protection strips formed an optical link between front and rear apron, placed at the height of the bumpers between the wheel cut-outs.

February 2021, editorial

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