The JDM vs. Euro debate has been going on as long as enthusiasts have had access to both types of cars, but every so often a unique build will come around that fuses the opposing cultures. This special Mercedes SLC is one of those builds, and notable automotive photographer Larry Chen checks it out in his latest video.
400hp 2JZ-swapped Mercedes 450SLC Wangan Sleeper
What makes it so special, you may ask? The answer is that it has the engine from a Mk4 Toyota Supra hiding under its unassuming hood. The owner wanted something a bit less nose-heavy, as well as something that made more power, so he settled on one of the most iconic powerplants of all time.
In place of the standard 4.5-liter V8, the 1977 Mercedes 450SLC is powered by the famous 2JZ-GTE engine, which has been upgraded to make around 400 hp (406 PS / 298 kW). Some of those modifications include a Mitsubishi TE06 single-turbo setup, a Z32 intercooler system, a custom exhaust, and an enlarged-core OEM radiator.
Mated to this engine is a four-speed automatic transmission sourced from a Toyota Aristo to stay in keeping with the Mercedes’ cruiser ethos, and to allow everything to talk to each other properly, all management is done with a standalone MoTeC ECU. That even extends to the climate control system, which is based on Toyota underpinnings rather than Mercedes.
Arguably even crazier than all the Toyota parts, though, are the Ferrari brakes, which came from the legendary F40 up front and the venerable F430 in the rear. And as is the case with most of this car, the owner did a lot of custom work to get them to fit.
Custom fitting brakes does get a little easier when your wheels are custom-made as well, and that’s exactly the case with this SL. The owner of the car also owns his own wheel company, and after seeing that his vintage Mercedes wheel style of choice only came in 16-inches, he decided to make a custom set with a 17-inch diameter. Supporting those wheels is a new suspension setup, which was also custom-made, albeit by a third party.
Taking a look at the aesthetics, this car is about as close to OEM as it gets, and the owner didn’t want it any other way. The only visible components that aren’t original Mercedes are the wheels, brakes, and a single Toyota switch in the cabin. Even all the gauges are original. And seeing as it served as a display car in a Mercedes dealership for a while, it’s in superb condition, with things like the rear seats and headliner retaining their original upholstery. The paint was resprayed and the front seats reupholstered, but both jobs were to the OEM specs.
All in all, the build took two years to complete, which is actually quite impressive given the scale, attention to detail, and overall clean execution. Nevertheless, to see more of the baby blue Benz and hear its sonorous straight-six sing.