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SL - what does it stand for?

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Former Member
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Grosse Pointe Park, MI
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1973 450SL

Dumb question, but what does the SL stand for on the 107s. My guess is that it is for some 38 letter German words, but don't know what it means.

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Accepted convention is that SL = "sport" and "leicht" which means in English "sporty" and "light". That, of course, was truer of the 300SL, 190SL and R113-chassis roadsters that came before the rather tank-like (build quality and weight) of the R107.

However, interestingly enough, in its literature M-B grouped the 107s with the "S-class" cars (i.e. the 126), at least for marketing purposes.

The 107s grew a fair amount in bulk during its 18-model-year lifetime. The 107 of 1973 is MUCH simpler and lighter than the 107 of 1989 or 1990.

Cheers,
Gerry

Former Member
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Grosse Pointe Park, MI
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1991 420SEL
1973 450SL
Yep, light it ain't

Of the many rag tops I've owned, this one is the only one I ever felt safe in.

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gerryvz wrote:
Accepted convention is that SL = "sport" and "leicht" which means in English "sporty" and "light". That, of course, was truer of the 300SL, 190SL and R113-chassis roadsters that came before the rather tank-like (build quality and weight) of the R107.

However, interestingly enough, in its literature M-B grouped the 107s with the "S-class" cars (i.e. the 126), at least for marketing purposes.

The 107s grew a fair amount in bulk during its 18-model-year lifetime. The 107 of 1973 is MUCH simpler and lighter than the 107 of 1989 or 1990.

Cheers,
Gerry
I have a book on the SL's and according to the author SL stands for S Class and the L Long wheelbase and the C in the SLC Coupe. The SL and SLC between 78 and 80 were the top of the line cars in the Mercedes lineup. Mercedes didn't want them to be known as "sportcars", however a few SLC's were rallied and did very well. Mercedes wanted to project the image of SL's being highway cruisers. This is what the author wrote in the book that I have. Also, an SLC was the 1 millionth car produced by MB since the end of WW II. Don't know what year that was thou? :)

Anonymous
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In the case of the SL, the "L" does NOT mean long wheelbase. Again, the "S" stands for "sportlich" and "L" stands for "leicht".

This "lang" (long) descriptor has generally ONLY been applicable to the S-Class sedans, which pertained to the W109 (280SEL, 300SEL 3.5, 4.5, 6.3), W116 (280SEL, 350SEL, 450SEL, 450SEL 6.9) and W126 (280SEL, 300SEL, 380SEL, 420SEL, 560SEL, 350SDL) cars as well as S-Class cars since such as the W140, W220 and W221.

Even the C107 SLC coupes, which were an extended-wheelbase version (14.1 inches) of the R107 chassis, used the same "SL" to mean "sportlich leicht" as well as adding the "C" for "coupe" to the end of it to delineate from the roadsters.

You are correct that the SLCs were successfully rallied for several seasons and campaigns in the mid-late 1970s, primarily the rare 450SLC 5.0 models.

Cheers,
Gerry

Anonymous
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vlayton wrote:

Some of my various books contain very erroneous information...

Boy that's sure the truth. Even books from so-called "experts" in the MB community have their share of flaws and inaccuracies.

Cheers,
Gerry

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What does SL mean?

Thanks for the correction. My son speaks fluent German and he knows my car the 450SLC and he said your defini :confused: tion of SL makes more sense then mine. I am a published author and I did a lot of research to make sure what I was writing in my book was correct and also there was no room for double or triple meanings.

My book was based on federal laws and as we all know lawyers make their money interpating the law? NO offense to anyone who might be a lawyer in the group by the way. I am a bad speller also, that why I had a very good proof reader. :confused: as usual

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