Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Rally Car

Some time ago, Harald von Langsdorff purchased a Mercedes-Benz 350SLC for the purposes of preparing a rally car in order to compete some time-speed rallies like the Great Race.  That is not to say that the car won’t compete in many other rallies, but it was important that the car would be eligible for the Great Race.  In order to compete in the Great Race the model year must be 1972 or older.  Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350SLC meets this criterion as it is a 1972, the first year of the Mercedes-Benz SLC series.  These cars were not directly imported into North America in 1972 and Harald’s car is no exception.  It was a German market car that was subsequently imported into Canada some years ago by a previous owner.  Over the years quite a few of these cars have found their way into Canada and the United Staes.

Harald’s car is shown below just after a body wrap has been added to the car.  As Harald was still in Germany, Paul Henshall picked the car up from the “wrap shop” and stopped by the local Mercedes-Benz Brampton dealership on the way home.  The Mercedes-Benz Brampton folks kindly let Paul position the car in their shop for some photographs.  These photos were the first glimpse that I’ve had of this car.

Harald von Langsdorff’s 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SLC Rally Car

There are still a few things to complete on the car.  Just looking at the photo above I can see that the front bumper and the rally lights need to be added.

The livery of Harald’s Mercedes-Benz 350SLC is modeled after the rally cars that Mercedes-Benz entered in marathon rallies like the Safari and the Ivory Coast rallies in the late 1970s.  I scanned the image below from “The Guinness Book Of Rallying” by John Davenport showing a Mercedes-Benz SLC from that era during a rally in Argentina.

A Mercedes-Benz 450SLC Competing In A Rally In Argentina

The Mercedes-Benz SLC rally car that is in the Mercedes-Benz Museum was crewed by Bjorn Waldegaard/H. Thorselius.  Note that this car has the number “8” as its competition car number.  As a tribute to this car, Harald requested and was permitted to be Car #8 in this summer’s Great Race.

A Mercedes-Benz SLC Rally Car In The Mercedes-Benz Museum

I think that the car looks great!  It looks just the way it should.  I will get to see the car in person in a few days as Harald and I will be competing in this car in the upcoming Penn-York Rally in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania.  This is a Northeast Rally Club time-speed rally similar to the Great Race.

Note The Slight Wing On The Rear Deck

Inside the car, the front seats have been replaced by  the same Recaro seats that Harald and I used in his Mini at Targa Newfoundland in 2003.  A roll bar has also been installed inside the car, which we hope never gets used.  A Timewise 825 adjustable speedometer has been placed in the instrument binnacle as it easily fit within the space that was occupied by the original Mercedes-Benz speedometer.  Harald says that he has a good central mount on the dash for my Sawtooth time-of-day clock.

The Car Is Nearing Completion

We will be preparing the Performance Chart for this car next Thursday, the day before the Penn-York Rally weekend begins.  Our real purpose in competing in the Penn-York Rally is to work the bugs out of the car in preparation for the Great Race in June.  We are not particularly concerned about our results in the Penn-York Rally.

If you have any questions about this post, then please leave a comment below or you can send me a private email message at the following address: shanna12 at comcast dot net

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