1982 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Trans Am race car heads to auction

SCCA Trans Am Series achieved an iconic status as grids of American muscle cars. However, it has featured more variety through the years. This 1982 Mercedes-Benz Mercedes-Benz 350 SL is one of the lots at Mecum’s Kissimmee auction, Florida.

Although the race car was modeled after the R107 SL-Class at the time, it was constructed from scratch for racing. The chassis is made of a tubular frame with fiberglass bodywork. It also features large rear and front spoilers.

A 5.0-liter V-8 produces power. This was modified to make it compliant with Trans Am regulations. The racer’s engine, unlike the stock SL-Class model, is fed by dual Holley carburetors.

1982 Mercedes-Benz SL Trans Am race car (photo via Mecum Auctions)

1982 Mercedes-Benz SL Trans Am racecar (photo by Mecum Auctions).

Neil DeAtley was the owner of Trans Am SL-Class. Loren S. Lawrence drove it, sponsored by Michelob beer. DeAtley changed to Chevrolet in 1983, and won the Trans Am Championship with two Camaros driven David Hobbs & Willy T. Ribbs.

According to the auction listing, this SL-Class was the first Mercedes-Benz that has raced in a professional series of races since 1955 when Mercedes withdrew its support from motorsports after a devastating crash at 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mercedes cars were seen in rallying during the transition, but it is worth noting the Trans Am SL-Class effort was not factory-backed. Mercedes returned to racing in late 2000 with Sauber, in the FIA’s group C category.

AMG GT, Mercedes’ most popular race car, is still the AMG GT. AMG also developed the 2022 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class. However, the redesigned sports car is still more luxurious than its AMG GT brother.

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Author: Brandon Park