1997 Mercedes-Benz SL320 40th Anniversary Edition

Last week I checked out a 1999 Mercedes-Benz S500 Grand Edition and explained that I think it is one of the few ”special edition” Mercedes that actually has some kind of impact on the value of the car. Today, we have of those ”special edition” Mercedes that really doesn’t move the needle with people and even more so, some think what was done to it makes it undesirable.

This is a 1997 SL320 40th Anniversary Edition. I’ve covered these before, but the short of it is Mercedes made 250 SL320s painted in Quartz Blue Metallic with matching wood trim called ”Royal Maple” which is far from a color that comes to mind when you think wood. Some like the uniqueness of it, some say it’s garish and doesn’t make any sense. Either way, this example up for sale in Georgia is probably one of the lowest mile examples I’ve seen with just over 21,000, but does that mean the price tag has to match?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL320 40th Anniversary Edition on eBay

Year: 1997
Model: SL320 40th Anniversary Edition
Engine: 3.2 liter inline-6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 21,350 mi
Price: Buy It Now $21,000

Absolutely spectacular car with an exterior blue color that is exclusive to 250 ever brought into the country. Having been a one owner California car until 2012, the paint still looks and shines like new. There are a very few nicks of any size, no dents or scratches, and anyone that has seen the car cannot believe it is a ’97 model. Mercedes added a special premium grade grey leather that shows minimum wear, even on the driver side bolster. They put Bird’s Eye Maple Wood interior trim on the doors, console, and steering wheel and dyed it a blue hue to match the exterior. I’ve never seen any thing like it, and its looks are tastefully unique. The original convertible top is a special Royal Blue and looks like it was rarely, if ever, exposed to the elements. The rear glass is perfect. The original hardtop is without flaw, and has a glass window with defogger. I’m not sure if the factory or original owner/dealership did it, but the special wheels have been chromed, and are as close to new as any. The Pirelli P-Zero tires have about 60-70% tread. Additionally, wide chromed wheel well arches were added that make the car pop. Again, I’m not sure if that was factory installed or done by the selling dealership, but the difference is amazing. Both seats are powered, a 6 disc CD changer that is working, and the air blows cold. The radio sometimes tends to drift off station a little, but not enough to bother me. This car was purchased in 2012 by Don Sutton, Baseball Major League Hall of Fame pitcher, who brought the car back to Atlanta. I have a copy of the title to prove it. As far as I know, the car has always been garaged and never smoked in. There can’t be another one like it, can there?

There isn’t really anything to complain about with this car other than those god awful chrome wheel arches. My goodness, I thought they died a slow death in the 1980s but clearly the ghost of them still stuck around to commit hauntings like what we see here. I just don’t understand the purpose of them. They never looked good since day one and I honestly think people put them on their cars is just to say they did something. Some people can’t just leave well enough alone and have to mess with everything and chrome wheel arches are one of those things. Now that is out-of-the-way, the rest of the car looks like a true 21,000 mile vehicle should. The trim is crack-free and the rest of the interior is in great shape. But the price?

$21,000 is a tough ask for any R129, let alone a SL320. Up to this point, The 40th Anniversary Edition cars have had zero impact on value and I still think this is true. You are basically buying this car because it has 21,000 miles and the fact that it is an Anniversary Edition is just a sidenote, not a selling point. I don’t see the seller getting that unless someone out there thinks that these will one day become valuable but in all honesty there are just too many R129s out there. For my $21,000, find me a pristine late-year SL600 with a pano top, then I’ll consider it money well spent.

– Andrew

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3 Comments

  1. The 2 worst things on a MB, chrome wheels and chrome wheel arch trim.

  2. I agree, the chrome wheel arches are the worst though. Plus it’s even a 6 cylinder:(

  3. The wheels and wheel arch’s were part of a semi-popular dealer treatment cars of this era were given. The dealers would upcharge for this “chrome package”.

    For the record, I agree. In my opinion it has never benefitted a single car it was ever added to.

    I do, however, appreciate the monotone interior. More garish in my mind would be the more typical bright brown wood on that grey background.

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