This Mercedes-Benz SL is a Trans Am race car that was driven in period by Loren St. Lawrence under the DeAtley Motorsport/Michelob banner. Power is provided by a highly-modified 4.5 liter Mercedes V8 with dual Holley carburetors sitting on a custom intake manifold.
St. Lawrence competed in the car during the 1982 SCCA Trans Am season, competing at the Laguna Seca Raceway, the Sears Point International Raceway, and the Portland International Raceway among others.
Fast Facts – A 1980s Mercedes-Benz Trans Am
- This car is essentially a silhouette race car, with a tubular steel spaceframe chassis and a fiberglass body, it’s powered by a high-modified and de-stroked 5.0 liter Mercedes V8, now with a capacity of 4.5 liters.
- Experienced racing driver Loren St. Lawrence piloted this car during the 1982 Trans Am season, rubbing fenders with drivers like Paul Newman, Doc Bundy, Darin Brassfield, and Elliot Forbes-Robinson.
- The styling of the car is based on the Mercedes-Benz 450 SL, the German automaker’s premier luxury GT car in the early 1980s.
- It’s now being offered for sale in original condition, with a slew of spare parts including a spare cast iron block and aluminum heads, additional body panels and fenders, a rear end, camshaft molds, spare pistons, connecting rods, and springs.
Loren St. Lawrence And The Mercedes 450 SL Trans Am
Loren St. Lawrence was a popular racing driver who started competing at a professional level back in 1966 driving a Lotus Mark VI in the United States.
Over the course of his almost 20 year racing career he would drive a Sunbeam Tiger, BMW 2002, Datsun 240Z (as well as the 260Z and 280Z), Chevrolet Camaro, and of course, the Mercedes-Benz 450 SL you see here.
St. Lawrence started racing for the DeAtley Motorsport Team in 1981, later in 1981 Michelob became the title sponsor and this would continue through into 1982. DeAtley was owned by Neat DeAtley, a Mercedes-Benz dealership proprietor from Lewiston, Idaho who wanted to promote the luxury marque in the rough and ready world of North American Trans Am racing.
This car was built from the ground up with a full tubular steel chassis and a low-slung fiberglass body featuring boxed fenders, a rear spoiler, a front lip spoiler, and an elevated hood scoop to provide clearance for the velocity stacks.
The engine had to be de-stroked to bring it down from 5.0 liters to 4.5 to be within Trans Am specifications, however the array of performance modifications more than made up for this, adding significant additional power over the factory stock 5.0 liter V8.
The Mercedes-Benz V8 used in the 500 SL and the other V8 cars in the SL model line. This engine started out with a swept capacity of 3.5 liters in the 350 SL, this was increased over time to 3.8 liters, 4.2 lites, 4.5 liters, 5.0 liters, and finally, 5.6 liters.
This V8 was relatively advanced compared to the American V8s it was up against, with a single overhead cam per cylinder tank powered by a duplex chain. The engine has 16 valves was originally fitted with a Bosch electronic fuel injection system.
Although St. Lawrence and the DeAtley Motorsport/Michelob team wouldn’t see great success in Trans Am racing, their best finish was a 6th at Road America in 1982, they did create a truly memorable car that put the Mercedes SL series on the map for many Americans who had never seen one raced before.
The Mercedes-Benz SL Trans Am Race Car Shown Here
Mecum are due to offer the DeAtley Motorsport/Michelob Mercedes-Benz SL Trans Am for sale at the Kissimmee Auction in Florida in mid-January. The car comes with documented ownership history, the crew chief’s log book, and it rides on modular BBS wheels shod with Goodyear Eagle tires.
It has a full race-spec roll cage and racing seat, with full racing instrumentation, it has 4-wheel disc brakes, and it still has its original paint and hand-lettering.
The listing shows that it was recently serviced by professional facility and it is accompanied by a spare cast iron block and aluminum heads, extra body panels and fenders, a rear end, camshaft molds, pistons/rods, and springs.
If you’d like to read more about this car or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing on Mecum.
Images courtesy of Mecum
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