The idea of bombing the Italian countryside in a 1970’s Mercedes outfitted with over-sized fog lights is becoming increasingly attractive to us. Between last week’s 1977 W123 and today’s C107, this dream can quickly become a reality with a little persistence and a good overseas shipping contact. Today’s find can be found listed with Altena Classic & Rally Service, a dealer and workshop tucked just over the border from Germany in the Netherlands. Altena specializes in classic car restoration and rally prep so naturally we had to explore their inventory for any and all Mercedes (amongst other interesting toys). This 1976 280SLC immediately stood out from their inventory list. Asking price is a cool €67,500 ($80k USD) but with documented restoration and complete rally preparation, we’re ready to map the course.
Prepared for competitive rallying within the last five years by Altena, this 280SLC looks like the real deal and that’s because the improvements made aren’t just cosmetic. From upgraded safety measures to electrical and performance (Note the engine swap to an M104), this Coupe has already performed in a number of endurance and long-distance rally events worldwide. The SLC features additional powerful driving lamps at the front, reinforced steel wheels, a professional rally roll-cage, racing seats, an original dashboard fitted with rally instruments, upgraded and reinforced suspension, sump protection plate, custom built front bumper, safety hood catches / locks, special sports exhaust, sliding (sunshine) roof, improved electrical system and secure battery-system. To top it off, our favorite feature might be the extended map light over the passenger compartment to ensure the navigator is able to call out pace notes as needed.
Finished in Red over a Black/Anthracite interior, this SLC displays the perfect amount of light wear (some would say patina) to make any driver feel more guilty about keeping this car in the garage rather than on the road or trails. The backseat has been removed to accommodate spare tire storage and a rally-spec roll cage. The dashboard and center console, while largely still recognizable compared to most race cars, have been reinforced with readouts and safety equipment for the sole purpose of long distance stage runs. The seats are the perfect compliment and appear extremely inviting for any driving from a grocery run to a cross-continent tour.
If any of the noted details aren’t convincing enough, this SLC is powered by an M104 coupled to a 5-speed manual. Although we can think of more “fun” engine swaps, this has to be one of the best choices for long distance treks given the M104’s legendary reliability combined with torque delivery and fuel economy. No doubt the 220 horsepower is plenty for this SLC to get out of its own way and deliver some serious high-revving fun.