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  #1  
Old 10-09-2019, 05:32 PM
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1981 Mercedes 380SLC

Now that the 300SE is a solid daily driver and the 300CE is "impounded" by my girlfriend after her Volvo got smashed in an accident, I'm looking for a new project car to pour my money in. I've found a 1981 Mercedes 380SLC for not to much money. Always liked the look of those coupes and I'm intrigued that it's the final year of the C107. Never knew there was even a 380SLC, always thought the last was the 450SLC, before it was replaced by the 380/500SEC.

Anyone around here who owns one of these and what is there to look out for and did they come with the single row chain, like in the 380SL?
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:08 PM
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380SLC is a one model year only (1981) so that alone make the car special. 2.47 axle so good mpg and uses regular gas.


what to look out for:


1. It came with the old climate control that uses a servo so make sure to check that climate works and if it's been upgraded then that's a plus

2. Yes when it was new the 380's came with a single chain up until 1983 but there is a small chance that your car has a replacement motor with a dual chain, euros came with a dual chain from the beginning.

3. cracked front sub-frame is a possibility 450SL were recalled not sure about 380slc, bushings in the front subframe can go too

4. rust, mostly floors and rockers and rust behind front cowling can cause interior water leaks

5. typical old mb stuff like steering box play, flex disc etc...

6. frameless windows that can be a plus and a minus (wind noise from bad sealing)
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by christuna View Post
380SLC is a one model year only (1981) so that alone make the car special. 2.47 axle so good mpg and uses regular gas.


what to look out for:


1. It came with the old climate control that uses a servo so make sure to check that climate works and if it's been upgraded then that's a plus

2. Yes when it was new the 380's came with a single chain up until 1983 but there is a small chance that your car has a replacement motor with a dual chain, euros came with a dual chain from the beginning.

3. cracked front sub-frame is a possibility 450SL were recalled not sure about 380slc, bushings in the front subframe can go too

4. rust, mostly floors and rockers and rust behind front cowling can cause interior water leaks

5. typical old mb stuff like steering box play, flex disc etc...
I'm familiar with the old climate system, same as my old 300CD.

The single chain is a bummer, but expected.

Is there a way to determine if the front subframe is cracked without putting it on a lift?
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Old 10-09-2019, 06:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Jorn View Post
Is there a way to determine if the front subframe is cracked without putting it on a lift?

I think it's one of the lower ears that bolts to the control arm that cracks from the subframe


I know there is a subframe reinforcement kit from mb that you weld in there to strengthen it, 560SL came with reinforced subframes from the factory
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  #5  
Old 10-09-2019, 06:42 PM
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Nothing great about the last year of the US SLC. Get a euro or get 1977 or earlier is my opinion. And any SLC MUST have small bumpers to look good IMO. You can fit small bumpers to a US SLC.


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Old 10-09-2019, 06:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorn View Post
I'm familiar with the old climate system, same as my old 300CD.



The single chain is a bummer, but expected.



Is there a way to determine if the front subframe is cracked without putting it on a lift?


The subframe replacement is not a HUGE project. Figure probably $2000 to have the entire front end rebuilt with a 1986+ reinforced subframe from a 560sl. Yeah, it could b more expensive, maybe less, but itís a number to start with if you find the front subframe is a problem. Usually it is not. The 380 didnít get the recall, even if it should have.

The only US 380slc I ever owned was a dual row chain. Lots got converted to dual row by MB. This was the top of the line coupe in its day.


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Past mb: '73 450sl, '81 280slc stick, '71 250, '72 250c, '70 250c, '79 280sl, '73 450sl, parted: '75 240d stick, '69 280s, '73 450slc, '72 450sl,
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Old 10-09-2019, 08:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorn View Post
The single chain is a bummer, but expected.

Dual row chain is not exactly maintenance free either on M116/M117

by 100k it needs replacement and especially the guides because many of them broke due to a bad driver's side top guide coming apart.
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Old 10-12-2019, 02:19 AM
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Not a car that's worth bringing home and spending any real money on. Rarity doesn't always mean it's worth anything.
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  #9  
Old 10-12-2019, 10:32 AM
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I'd expect the reinforced subframe came on it from the factory. If it is a clean car it would be a worthwhile investment in my mind. The drive trains on them have always been referred to as bulletproof.
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