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 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.