1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Last week I looked at a 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL with just 1,500 miles on it. I was pretty underwhelmed with it because of the presentation and the fact that it looked like every other R107 that wasn’t beat to death. I was even more underwhelmed by the $75,000 asking price. To no one’s surprise, the car didn’t even up selling and they actually relisted it for $500 more at $75,500. Yeah, I don’t get it either. Today, I thought I’d present another 380SL at a much more reasonable price and actually in the same ballpark in terms of condition. The best news? This is a European-spec car so there is much to be excited about.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL on eBay

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL with 1,500 miles

Last week I looked at a 2008 Mercedes-Benz S550 with little over 2,700 miles on it and quite honestly, wasn’t all that impressed. Maybe because it was a modern car that was only 10 years old, but the low miles didn’t really blow me away all that much. Today, we have a 1985 380SL that has just 1,500 miles on it. That’s it, exactly 1,500. I don’t know why or how this car only managed 1,500 miles, but that’s what I’m seeing. The problem is, like the S550 from last week, this car just isn’t doing it for me.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL with 1,500 miles on eBay

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Like anyone, I love rare and interesting colors. So when I saw this 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL in the great China Blue, I just had to take a closer look. Upon taking that closer look, things got even better when I found out this car was a federalized European specification car. From there, it got even more interesting, but maybe not for the best…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 380SL on eBay

Year: 1983
Model: 380SL
Engine: 3.8 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 158,800 km (98,673 mi)
Price: Reserve Auction

 

VIN Number: WDB10704512000498
498th 380SL off the assembly line
Ultra rare factory optioned China blue paint (color code 934)
True grey market import european version
Owned by German Mechanic and maintained to highest standard
158,800 Kilometers (About 98,700 miles)
Functioning Vacuum headlight adjustments and working clock on the gauge cluster
Dry, Rust free, Accident free Car
$8,000 spent in professional rebuild of a Mercedes 420 engine with the original euro 380 heads (the 380 heads have bigger valves and mechanical idle system with no idle computer.) This solves the 380s issue of being underpowered. It is now very responsive, yet still nimble and light. Giving the car 215HP vs 185HP (380SL). Just as powerful as the 500SL. The car was previously owned by German Auto in Phoenix, the largest independent Mercedes mechanic shop west of the Mississippi. The shop owner personally rebuilt the engine and spared no expense. This car has power!!!!
$25,000 in records dating back to 1983 when it was sold new in Scottsdale, AZ by Young Motorcars. Original loan documents, purchasing agreement, and sale documents included along with the other stack of records. Over $3000 in work in 2017 alone.
Ice cold AC
New kenwood head unit
Clean Arizona Title
Located in San Diego, CA
Overall this is an amazing car. I purchased it for personal use, however it is going to cost too much money to get it smog legal here in California. The car is extremely tight and so well maintained. Just about everything has been done to this car and it could be an amazing daily driver or weekend cruiser. Minor cosmetic issues that come with a 35-year-old car. Being sold ASIS. International buyers welcome.

Cosmetically, this isn’t a bad SL at all. It does have a cracked dash and some fairly weathered wood, but the big picture of this R107 looks really good. It has it faults, but the total package presents well. One thing to note is that this car doesn’t have headrests which might bother some, but they can be added without too much trouble. I don’t mind the chrome Bundts on this car as it is more of a period correct thing as long as they are in decent shape, which they look to be.

Mechanically, this is an interesting car. The seller says this is a 4.2 liter with the 3.8 liter heads. Thing is, the 420SL never made it to North America and we didn’t get the 420SEL until 1986. I guess sometime after 1986 they sourced a 4.2 liter and kept the 3.8 liter heads, which is totally possible. I just wish the seller would be clearer on this or at least provide the invoice so everyone could read what exactly was done. On the other hand, it does have invoices for timing chain work so that is a huge plus for everyone. What isn’t a huge plus is that this R107 can’t pass smog in California. Seeing as the car is currently for sale in California, this poses a problem for possible bidders. Unless you really love China Blue, most people are probably going to move on from this one.

I think bidding will suffer some with this one because of smog issue. I do think it will sell rather easily, but it just won’t have all those California bidders raising the price with every click. Getting it over $10,000 shouldn’t be too much of an issue, but anything beyond that, who knows.

– Andrew

 

Feature Listing: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Hard to believe though it may seem with today’s plethora of topless options, back in the early 1980s your selections were quite limited. Bucking the belief that the convertible would be killed off, Volkswagen emerged with a Rabbit Cabriolet that featured a massive rollover hoop for protection. Porsche entered the fray in 1982 as well, bringing back the cabriolet model that had been missing since the 356. But the only choice if you wanted a luxury convertible was the Mercedes-Benz SL. From 1971 to 1989, this car was the undisputed king of open-air motoring, and for good reason. This weekend, I walked by a Buick Cascada and thought “Wow, that looks cheap”. Though the 1980s were accused of being the era of rampant consumerism, the reality is that it was a very narrow window of incredible products. In the 1970s, for a new car to last a few years and maybe up to 100,000 miles was semi-miraculous. Yet suddenly in the 1980s we as consumers were presented with a number of cars that would run for three times that amount with little difficulty. They started every time, were mechanically well engineered and even got reasonably good fuel economy. It was the brief period where the engineering overtook the penny pinching accountants, when cars were made well and to a standard that would last. By the 1990s, cars had become much more disposable again – the reality of keeping a car company afloat, unfortunately. But looking through the photos of this 1985 380SL, I happened across the sticker bearing the signature of Gottlieb Daimler. The sticker is a bit worn and peeled around the edges with a slight discoloration, but on that sticker are the words “a DAIMLER-BENZ product”. That meant something in the 1980s, because these were simply the best engineered and constructed cars in the world. You were buying one for a lifetime of service, not two years of commuting. They were expensive, but they were the benchmark by which all others were measured. I still remember when the Cadillac Allante debuted in 1986, aimed to compete against this very car. Now, by that time the R107 was 15 years into production and probably 20 years from original sketch, so it was pretty tired as designs go. But Car and Driver compared the two and walked away saying that the Mercedes-Benz was still the car to get. You know what? They were right, because here we are 31 years later and this 1985 380SL still looks lovely, fresh and ready for top-down action:

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1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

The Mercedes-Benz R107 SL is one of those cars that will always capture my imagination. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve lusted after one of these roadsters. Some friends of mine never liked these SLs but others loved them. Whatever your thoughts might be, these cars certainly made their fair share of appearances in television and movies over the past several decades, amplifying their star power. They also had one of the longest production runs in Mercedes-Benz history, giving prospective buyers lots of choice when it comes to specific years and models. This 380SL for sale in Portland, Oregon represents the end of the 380SL run, right before the introduction of the 560SL, the final version we would see in the US market.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL on eBay

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