A few weeks ago Craig featured a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL that caught our eye. Everything he said about the R129 I agree with. It is a quintessential Mercedes design which remains attractive today; sporty and taut yet elegant and handsome. Today we feature a R129 300SL that’s every bit as handsome — along with some other goodies.
Some cars come and go, but the Mercedes-Benz SL has had staying power. Ever since the mid 1950s, this name has been going strong in the lineup, transforming from the original Gullwing coupe to a smaller hardtop two-seater, to the boulevard cruiser of the 1970s and 1980s and into the present day as a refined but capable luxury roadster. One of my favorite SLs was the R129 from the 1990s. It was no easy task taking over from the iconic R107 SL which had an impressive 18 year production run. This car was literally the face of Mercedes throughout the oil crises, recessions and the boom times of the 1980s, yet stayed fashionable all along. However, the new for 1990 300SL brought back an option to US buyers, albeit for a short time, that was lacking throughout the R107 production run: the manual gearbox.
Yes, you could order your 300SL from a US showroom with a 5-speed manual, making the most of a 3.0 liter inline-6 engine that was tasked with moving around 4,000 lbs. of car around. If you’re used to a V8 in your SL, performance is a bit underwhelming in this model, but given that only a few hundred R129s were sold in the US with a manual gearbox, the novelty factor is certainly there. This 300SL-24 for sale in Arizona is one of the nicest 5-speed manual R129s I’ve come across in my time at GCFSB, tempting for someone who absolutely must row their own.