Wednesday, March 08, 2023

Automotif CCCL...

Probably the low-water mark for the North American import Mercedes-Benz SL-class, performance-wise at least, was the '81-'85 380SL.

It replaced the 4.5L V-8 of the earlier 450SL with a 3.8L SOHC V-8 that was rated at 155 SAE net bhp in U.S. trim, a haircut of 25 horsepower from the preceding model. The '79 Oil Crisis had left a bad taste in the public's mouth for "gas guzzlers". Further, the federally-mandated Corporate Average Fuel Economy standards for imported marques rose from 19.0 miles per gallon for the 1979 model year to 27.5 for the '85s.

It all seemed pretty par for the course in the early Eighties, which was the peak of "Decal & Ground Effects" performance packages that added very little real performance. You can see how people watching cars get slower and dumber year after year would write books like The Probability Broach. We had no idea how close we were to the renaissance.