1970 Mercedes 280SL in unrestored condition

This ride comes to us from reader Daniel, it is a a vintage 280SL in nice driver condition. Some W113 SLs command seriously high prices if they are in perfect condition; auction prices over $50,000 have been seen. The car featured here doesn’t appear to be a garage queen. It shows signs of use, but doesn’t show neglect. This car looks like a nice entry point for a Benz fan looking to get into the top of line of late 60s early 70s topless Mercedes motoring.

The car has 88,000 miles on it and has plenty of room for improovment in terms of comesmetic problems. Overall it presents nicely. The chrome looks decent and the engine bay looks clean. The seller says it is mostly rust free and that it is clean underneath. A new owner could fix the paint bubbles with a full strip and respray or try to do some touch up work and just enjoy it. Inside things like the cracks in the dash are easily fixed with readily available custom dash pad covers. This is a very common occurrence on Mercedes. The wood may not be past saving, but it looks close so a new owner will probably want to pull it out and see how rotted it is. Some sanding and new varnish could make a world of difference. Again this is a very common problem and many helpful Benz aficionado can provide advice or service for the wood depending on budget.

The seller says the A/C hasn’t been run in several years, that can be read as doesn’t work. A new radio is in place, while I appreciate keeping it German with a Blaupunkt unit, I’d source a proper vintage Becker unit or one of the vintage look newer units. Honestly, as much as some of the newer features are nice, the old Becker units were truly high quality devices and for regular over the air entertainment would offer satisfaction for most users when matched to some nice high efficiency speakers.

A new owner will need to pay attention to the backwards transmission. A number of Benz models featured these backwards shifting autos, with park at the bottom, before going to the more familiar park at the top layout. These cars are fun to shift manually even without the manual transmission, but enjoying that means taking note of this reverse layout. Despite the indents on the shifters it is pretty easy to unexpectedly. go from 3 to 2 or 4 to N.

The 2.8 liter engine offers plenty of power and provides great thrumming inline six sound. Being an owner of a 1970 two door Benz with this same M130 engine I can attest to its easy of maintenance and enjoyment.  This engine is a thirsty one though so despite being a six an owner should expect 15 or so MPG.

Current price is just under $14,000 with the reserve not met. A nice solid car like this will see something around $25,000 despite its needs. A couple thousand in work by a new owner and $10k more is possible.

1970 Mercedes 280SL in unrestored condition on eBay

~Evan

1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5-speed manual

The late 1970s was a about the halfway point for the R107 Mercedes-Benz SL. Here in the US, the only SL on offer was the 450SL, powered by the 4.5 liter V8 producing 222 horsepower. This engine was teamed exclusively with a 4 speed automatic in the US market. If, however, you lived in other parts of the world, you could order the 182 horsepower, 2.8 liter twin cam inline six and even opt for a manual transmission with four or five gears. In the case of our feature car, it has the desirable combination of the 2.8 liter six with the five speed manual transmission.

1977 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5-speed manual on eBay

A Mercedes SL with a 5 speed transmission? A rare car in the USA, because it was never directly imported by the Mercedes-Benz factory, but rare even in the home markets, with 1347 produced in 1977. This car was privately imported early in life to California, so has NO RUST and no evidence of accident history. We purchased the car some time ago, with a previous history of a long term owner. We bring our favorite Mercedes-Benz cars right away to a Mercedes-Benz Factory trained technician, for a thorough inspection and repair program.

The car runs great!! The low total mileage of 115,031 represents a large amount of remaining use. Driving feel is fantastic: maneuverable, tight, responsive are all words that come to mind. Most W107 SL cars were produced with V-8 engines, mostly to satisfy the US market. The MUCH lighter twin cam six cylinder engine coupled with a 5 speed transmission gives a completely different feel. The high output engine has a definite growl and the manual transmission is a perfect match. Also, as a technical note: automatic transmissions absorb approximately 35 horsepower, where a manual transmission absorbs only 8 -10 horsepower. It makes for a better feel when the engine starts out with 185 horsepower.

While going over the car, we check over and service the brake system, cooling system, all fluids, electrical systems etc. We are happy to report that all systems are go, only needing basic operations to bring them up to date. As usual, the electrical systems on 107 Mercedes-Benz cars are quite trouble free, and this car has all working gauges, lights horns etc. Air conditioning and heating systems have been serviced and are operating properly. Water temperature and oil pressure all operate at proper levels, as befitting a low mileage car.

Chrome fittings are in excellent condition, including grille, bumpers handles and body trim. Lenses and lights all operate properly, and look great. The no-rust body and chassis is very straight and original, complemented by the blue metallic paint color. We do a polish operation on all of our cars, to bring up a fresh shine, and while the paint is presentable, there are a few chips and nicks etc, as well as varying levels of paint shine quality over the totality of the body panels. Overall, the paint is in good condition.

The red interior of this car is in excellent condition, and also very outstanding visually. All the chrome trims on the sides of the seats are intact, which is a bit rare. Carpets and dash trim look great with only a few cracks on the top of the dash pad (see photos). Also, there is a matching body color hardtop included in the sale, in excellent condition. Please note: the convertible top canvas is not present. The top frame work is stowed under the metal boot lid.

In summary, this is probably the best specification W107 SL to buy, and this car in specific is a recommended buy. It is such a different feel than a regular V-8 / automatic car, the difference is night and day, as well as a great color combination.

Blue metallic teamed with a red interior is a combination not often seen on the R107. The slimmer Euro bumpers also lend a more lithe look to this roadster than the heavy crash bumpers mandated by the US government. The only thing I’d change to finish off the package would be to add the flush fitting Euro headlights. Values of R107s have been rising across the board, as enthusiasts begin to recognize the strengths of the series. This is a nicely kept example for someone who wants a little more sporting of a drive. If this SL could be had for between $12,000 to $15,000, it would be well bought.

-Paul

1983 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5 speed

With the introduction of the R107 Mercedes-Benz SL, there were some enthusiasts who lamented the transformation of the SL from a sporting roadster to a car that had a more boulevard cruiser attitude. Nevertheless, over a 19 year production run, the R107 was one of the most popular Mercedes-Benz models in history. All of the models sold in the US market were equipped with V8 engines and, except for a handful of early models, automatic transmissions. However, a few gray market six cylinder models made their way across the pond. Here is one of those smaller engined SLs for sale in California.

1983 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5 speed manual on eBay

This is a very rare European edition 280SL roadster. This was never officially imported to the USA. Ebay’s system can’t handle European VINs so I had to put a string of zeroes in there. The real VIN is WDB10704210017210. Currently registered in California.

It’s a DOHC six cylinder, fuel-injected, 5-speed ZF manual gearbox, small and elegant European bumpers, flush composite headlamps, etc. It’s also been treated to a BBS rear spoiler, plus aerodynamic body kit (chin and rear spoilers, side skirts), easily removed if you prefer, and 15″ chrome Mercedes wheels.

The car runs perfectly, stays cool even with A/C on, no oil leaks, just purrs. The 5-speed gearbox shifts like butter, brakes are perfect, all electrical works including windows, gauges, clock, power antenna, etc., AC works and blows cold! Only 98M! Nice AM/FM/CD with iPod port. Interior is beautiful condition as is the German canvas top. The original matching hardtop is included as well. The body is straight but the paint has flaws (see left fender and trunk lid pics). Small bolt holes in trunklid where third brakelight was removed, covered. A few small dings. Left side orange corner lenses have some cracks. Chrome and trim are excellent.

A great fun car to drive – much quicker and faster than an American 380SL with auto trans. Gets thumbs-up everywhere it goes!

The price for this 280SL is right around the same neighborhood for a similar vintage 380SL with similar mileage. Personally, I always thought the V8 was a bit overkill for such a small car, but I’d prefer a later model 1986 through 1989 300SL. Sadly, those are more rare on these shores than their earlier six cylinder brethren. Given that the first R107 300SLs are now 25 years old and exempt from EPA and DOT regulations for importation, we could start seeing a few pop up on our shores. And perhaps on GCFSB.

-Paul

1982 Euro Mercedes 280SL 4 speed

Very nice looking Euro 280SL twin cam. Despite being a Euro car it is registered in California so you can be sure it has been setup to pass emissions requirements.  The Euro car has the nice bumpers and headlamps. It also features the somewhat hard to find 4 speed manual for added entertainment. The interior looks wonderful despite 128,000 miles. It include the hard top as well as the canvas top. A great boulevard cruiser for summer nights. $12,500 buy-it-now price.

~Evan