From The Late Brake Show.
Without this 1975 450 SLC rally car (you’ve probably never heard of) Mercedes would not be in motorsport today. Why? Because although it is such an unlikely rally car, this ex-press office car ended up persuading Mercedes to return to international motor racing after a tragic 1955 Le Mans accident. Therefore, this luxurious 1970s V8 coupe could be most famous motorsport Mercedes you’ve probably never heard of!
In the previous film Jonny was invited for a tour of a stunning private museum entirely populated by classic Mercedes. The man behind this beautiful obsession is Danny Lucas who, as you can imagine, is nothing short of Mercedes mad.
In these special Car Cave collection episodes Jonny tries to find time to take one of the cars for a quick spin, and in this episode he and owner Danny head out in the 1975 450SLC rally car. For more info on the Danz Benz collection head to https://www.danzbenz.com/
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Starting its life as a specially selected press car in 1975 for the SLC launch, this car later became the daily driver of Jonathan Ashman of Mercedes Benz Great Britain. In his custody, it was entered into the 1976 Tour of Britain Rally, with rally ace Tony Fowkes driving, placing first in its class. The car competed in various rallies following this and continued to cause a stir in the world of motorsport.
Most notably, in 1977, the car excelled in the notoriously treacherous Epynt Rally. With Tony Fowkes and Bryan Harris driving, they placed first in class and fifth overall – also winning the ‘Man of the Rally’ award. During this era the car had been repainted black and signwritten (in gold leaf!) in order to satisfy Johnson’s car wax as a sponsor.
The car was then sold to Nicky Porter, a leading light in the Durham Automobile Club and the owner of an independent Mercedes Benz dealership.
Under Nicky’s ownership the car continued to compete in rallying on a hobbyist basis before eventually being restored back to its standard spec – with a higher differential ratio and lower ride height – apart from the BBS monoblock period alloys similar to the works SLC cars that came thereafter. Nicky campaigned the car in various sponsorship liveries, but the Johnson’s and Goodyear signage is what it was best known for.
Meanwhile, building upon the path that this particular UK car paved, Mercedes went on to enter the more powerful 500SLC into rallies. This was the first official Mercedes team car to compete since the 1955 Le Mans disaster.
Everything that Mercedes has done in motorsport since arguably stands on the shoulders of this unlikely rally car…. LLC 432P
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1975 Mercedes SLC 450 Group One
4520cc V8 with Bosch fuel injection
225bhp @ 5,000rpm, 265lbft @ 3,250rpm
Magard sump shield and front cross member protection
Safety Devices FIA approved safety roll cage
2 x 2.5kg fire extinguishers
Quick release bonnet pins
Glovebox removed for analogue timing equipment and map light
Quad Hella spot lamps with custom bumper mount
Modified 3-speed auto gearbox, with 3:46 final drive ratio and factory LSD
Factory 278mm / 229mm disc brakes
Front wishbone suspension feature check straps
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Jonny Smith Creative content maker, car presenter & car pervert for hire since ’98 Website: http://www.carpervert.com Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/jonnycarpervert Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/carpervert
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