How much trouble could you cause with this tube-frame Benz race car?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jan 14, 2022 | Mercedes-Benz, Mecum, Trans-Am

Photography by David S. Wallens

Yes, we admit to having a thing for tube-frame race cars topped with unconventional bodywork. Buick Somerset? Bring it. Chrome-bumper Lincoln? Totally. Vintage Ford Falcon? Already written about it.

How about a one-of-one R107-chassis Mercedes-Benz 450SL built for the SCCA Trans-Am series?

After hearing the internet chatter, we saw the creation on the floor at Mecum's Kissimmee sale. It will cross the block on Friday, January 14.

Here’s the backstory on this one:

A bonafide Trans-Am Race Car driven in period by Loren St. Lawrence, this 1982 Mercedes-Benz was commissioned by Neat DeAtley—then an owner of a Mercedes-Benz dealership in Lewiston, Idaho—who wanted to promote the performance image of the brand through visibility in motorsports.

The car might have been born in an American race shop, but it does contain some legit Benz hardware: engine block, cylinder heads, duplex camshaft chain-drive and taillight lenses.

The car’s best finish was sixth at Road America.

After seeing it in the flesh/fiberglass, we can report that there’s a lot to love here:

Box flares.

Tube-frame construction.

V8 power.

Two–count them–four-barrel Holleys.

Lots of Dzus fasteners.

Gold BBS wheels.

SCCA logbook.

Hand-lettered graphics.

Full documentation.

Did we mention those box flares?

Mecum estimates that it’s worth $450,000 to $475,000, but what’s your guess?

And what do you do with it? Radwood? Autocross? Track days? Put it on track with HSR or another historic group? Slap a plate on it and just roll around?

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Mercedes-Benz, Mecum and Trans-Am news.
Comments
View comments on the GRM forums
914Driver
914Driver GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/13/22 11:37 a.m.

Been in jail, you wouldn't like it ......

Rons
Rons GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/13/22 12:12 p.m.

I remember this car from the SCCA magazine back in the day. To me it represents the zenith of the re-imagined Trans Am. The series had gone from the funny cars of the late 70’s (Porsche 935 et al) to non turbo cars similar in concept to a tube frame Stock Car. The possibilities were endless, but they allowed the turbo funny cars back in and Trams Am  has never recovered to anything approaching it’s heydays in the 60s and early 70s.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/13/22 12:47 p.m.

In reply to Rons :

You're right, it really is a period piece. It looked good in real life. There's just something about hand-painted graphics....

DrMikeCSI
DrMikeCSI New Reader
1/13/22 2:21 p.m.

I think I saw this car racing, back in the old days. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
1/13/22 3:06 p.m.

I saw that car race at Brainerd.  smiley  I was crewing that weekend for my cousin who was there with his GT-1 Corvette.

ggarrard
ggarrard GRM+ Memberand Reader
1/13/22 3:14 p.m.

Calling LanEvo....  could possibly run with the Classic group at VARAC....devil

Gordon 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
1/13/22 3:15 p.m.

I want to know more about the intake manifold. Is that the only Mercedes engine with dual quad Holleys?

buzzboy
buzzboy SuperDork
1/13/22 5:52 p.m.

Gold Mesh Wheels!

The look is fire

Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard Publisher
1/13/22 6:17 p.m.

What did it sell for? It is seriously cool.

 

Tom1200
Tom1200 UltraDork
1/13/22 8:54 p.m.

I could cause a lot of trouble becuase if the estimate is correct I'd have to sell the house and live in the RV to afford that.

nocones
nocones GRM+ Memberand UberDork
1/13/22 9:28 p.m.

I'm not here to tell you what to do with your new bodyless ASA Stock car project...

But here's an idea for $3.5k

Or 

An actual 450SL for $6.5k

That would be rude to suggest.. 

 

Aaron_King
Aaron_King PowerDork
1/14/22 9:29 a.m.

That thing is soooo cool, but I am a sucker for box flares and gold mesh wheels.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/22 9:33 a.m.

The tube-frame Benz crosses the block later today--today as in Friday, January 14.

Anyone here going for it?

Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter)
Gearheadotaku (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
1/14/22 11:55 a.m.

That's just cool. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
1/14/22 3:22 p.m.

I dug in my files and found a couple photos of this car from Brainerd in August 1982.  My memory may be suspect but I think Doc Bundy was driving it that weekend, in a one-off deal.  Paul Newman won, in his 280ZX.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/22 3:24 p.m.

Wheel fans for the win.

Thanks for sharing. 

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
1/14/22 4:34 p.m.

I don't know what I'd do with it, but it's berkeleying awesome!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/22 5:06 p.m.

It crosses the block in just another minute. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/22 5:13 p.m.

Benz didn't sell on the block so, as they say, the Bid Goes On. 

rustomatic
rustomatic Reader
1/14/22 5:47 p.m.

This is just about the best way to have the most annoyingly crowded pit area at any track day.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
1/14/22 6:26 p.m.
rustomatic said:

This is just about the best way to have the most annoyingly crowded pit area at any track day.

That's perfect. 

Rons
Rons GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/14/22 6:37 p.m.

In reply to stuart in mn :

The 45 car should be Loren St Lawrence I believe Doc Bundy was in a Porsche 924 Carrera GTR.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
1/14/22 8:32 p.m.
Rons said:

In reply to stuart in mn :

The 45 car should be Loren St Lawrence I believe Doc Bundy was in a Porsche 924 Carrera GTR.

I looked online and saw Doc Bundy was normally in a 924 that year, but for some reason I remember him in this car for that one race.  It was a long time ago so I could be wrong...I was introduced to him that day and talked briefly, maybe it just happened when we were standing near the Mercedes.

Our Preferred Partners
LZajD8seS8wnCuF2txVpf2yAPj0Abk6QUIkEQSCXeMMmnJbeou14Yd7EoDaVazIe