The best of both worlds? This Mercedes 380 SL from 1982 has an LT1 exchange

Engine swaps have led to some amazing creations, whether it’s an opulent build for SEMA, to liven up a project, or to grab attention by putting a rotary engine in a Corvette. However, sometimes an engine swap can be to make a car more practical and livable on a daily basis or to make a car look as good as it should have looked from the start. This version of Craigslist is a perfect example of the latterwith a stunning, effortlessly cool car remaining as it was from the factory, except the anemic old engine has been replaced with something much more appropriate.

Fuel the always deserved SL

The Corvette LT1 under the hood.

The model started life as a Mercedes 380 SL powered by a 3.8-liter iteration of the M116 SOHC V-8 capable of just 155 horsepower. Its low power was due to US emissions regulations which required Mercedes to restrict engines destined for the United States. Mercedes then installed a 5.6-liter V-8 in the SL in 1986, but even that only topped out at around 227 horsepower. That’s where that wonderful engine swap comes in.


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The M116 was ripped out to make way for a 5.7-liter Chevrolet LT1 V8 from a 1994 C4 Corvette. massive upgrade from the stock 3.8-liter V-8. The Merc’s stock gearbox was also replaced with the 4L80E four-speed automatic transmission and stock ECU from the same Corvette. Mercedes collectors and purists will not be happy with the modifications and the engine change, but they are impossible to please anyway.

When mediocrity is a good thing

The interior of the 380 SL

The V-8 needed a custom oil pan to clean the front crossmember, and the red paint is a new spray but appears to be the stock color. Other than that, the exterior appears to be in relatively good condition. It’s another story inside. The cracks on the seats and the mismatched wood on the center console are the main offenders that would put off a collector. However, the original Mercedes shifter remains and somehow works with the Chevrolet gearbox.

Related: The Mercedes AMG SL Is The Best Generation SL Ever Made

The car comes with a clean title, but the odometer only reads 14,684 miles. Needless to say, that’s oddly low for a 40-year-old car in this condition, despite having been out of service for a decade. Everything right and wrong with this SL leads the seller to list it for $11,500. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, however.

Judging by the car prices, especially for the classics, it doesn’t seem like a bad deal, someone just has to appreciate the unconventional adrenaline rush that was infused into the dusty old SL. The Chevy V-8 will surely be more reliable than the Mercedes V-8 and is a massive upgrade. The M116 in its American 3.8-liter configuration was a dog, anyway. Hopefully we’ll see more functional and reasonably priced engine swap versions more often.

#worlds #Mercedes #LT1 #exchange

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