1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

I promise everyone, this is the last Mercedes-Benz R107 for awhile. I am just as sick of writing about them as you are reading about them, but I want to go full circle and look at this 1984 280SL up for sale in California. This European-spec car is the low man on the totem R107 pole but that doesn’t mean it is the worst of the bunch, at least not in my eyes. It uses the 2.8 liter M110 inline-6 that puts out a respectable (for the times) 182 horsepower and 176 lb⋅ft of torque.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SL

Earlier this week I checked out a 1984 Mercedes-Benz 380SL that was in a cool European-spec setup. I don’t mean to focus too much on R107s, but one just happened to pop up that I couldn’t overlook. This is a 1986 420SL. Yes, a 420SL. If that number ‘420’ followed by ‘SL’ seems odd, you aren’t wrong in thinking that. In North American, Mercedes only sold the 350SL, 380SL, 450sSL and 560SL offically through their dealerships. Back in the 1980s, some people were bringing in the 280SL, 300SL and 500SL through grey-market channels before that was put to a stop by ironically, Mercedes themselves. For whatever reason, I can’t recall ever seeing the 420SL for sale in North America and they are even not that common in Europe. They use the same 4.2 liter M116 from the W126 420SEL and is generally thought of as ”not the 560” the same way you think of the 420SEL sedan. Either way, one popped up for sale Florida and it doesn’t look like a bad example at all.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 420SL on eBay

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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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1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

One of the greatest crimes in automotive history were the 5 mph bumpers mandated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1973. As a result, our favorite cars from Europe went from being great designs to cars with massive underbites. Arguably no car was hit harder by this mandate than the Mercedes-Benz R107. A great, boxy design was totally transformed because of these massive bumpers. Thanks to another ridiculous rule at the time that required sealed beam headlights, the R107 design was basically decimated. Thankfully, there are enthusiasts out there who told the NHTSA where to go and swapped back on the slim bumpers and non-sealed beam headlights. This 1986 560SL up bid in California is one of them. Thank goodness.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL on eBay

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1976 Mercedes-Benz 450SL

One of my favorite configurations of cars is ‘business on the outside, party on the inside’. A reverse mullet of sorts. What I mean is, a car that has a standard appearance on the exterior, usually a subdued color, but a totally bright and wild interior. Usually you can just peak inside the windows to see something happening in there and it is all the more interesting once you finally get a full look inside. Today’s car, a 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450SL up for sale in California, is exactly that.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1976 Mercedes-Benz 450SL on eBay

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Roll the Dice: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC

The majority of the time, I can ”figure out” a car pretty quickly. I usually give them a quick glance, form an opinion on them, then move on to the next interesting car. Not with this one. Not with this 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC.

It started out harmless enough. A listing for a $1,500 for a 280SLC. Naturally I’m intrigued by this. The 280SLC with the M110 inline-6 engine was never officially sold in North America so this was a big plus for me. Then I peeked inside and saw a manual transmission – things are looking even better. Yes, it’s pretty rough looking, but the extra parts the seller is throwing in with the car could make this deal worth it especially since one of the parts looks to be a real pre-merger AMG bumper. But when I really started to do some digging into this car I was just confused.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC 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

 

1981 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

I go back and forth on whether or not I like the R107. I just think they stuck around way too long and those that want to sell them have grand illusions of what they are actually worth. I think sellers have some kind of mental formula in their head that goes “Mercedes + old + convertible = valuable” when we all know that none of those factors matter unless someone actually pays for it. But every once in a while a R107 comes along that I actually think represent good value for the money you would pay. This 1981 280SL, which looks to be a grey-market import, really represents what I think is the R107 to buy — if you really want one in the first place.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1981 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on Mercedes Heritage

Year: 1981
Model: 280SL
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 186,000 miles
Price: $12,500

Very well cared-for German-engineered classic. I am the second owner and have owned the car for 31 years. It was 5 years old when I purchased it with 36,000 miles, current odometer is 186,000. It was always garaged but certainly driven and enjoyed over the years although with careful consideration to weather and other road conditions. I have all maintenance records and do the oil and filter changes myself every 3,000 miles. In short, this one’s been “babied” and if you have ever wanted one, this is the one! Too many attributes to list, so just enjoy the pictures and if seriously interested, let me know. As you can see, I have the original rims as well as the OEM pictured in some of the images. The soft top will need replacement soon although I had it done 8 years ago…..beginning to see some dry-rot.

The quick rundown on this R107 shows 186,000 miles which is high for one of these, but it has been with the same owner for the past 31 years. That is an insane amount of time in the car world as people who usually buy luxury cars are itching for something new around the four-year mark. If anything, it tells me that this car was taken care of as it actually was a long-term investment (I don’t like using that word) for the owner and they didn’t skimp on upkeep. The seller mentions that he has all the maintenance records but it might need a new top in the not too distant future.

Here is why I really like this car: it is a 280SL. That means proper European bumpers and headlights with the M110 straight-six under the hood. Yeah, those foglights next to the government mandated maker lights really ruin the front end of this car but it is nothing that can’t be fixed in an afternoon. This 280SL weighs almost 300 pounds lighter than a later 560SL — the R107 most will tell you is the one to buy. But my argument is that you might as well go for the smaller 2.8 liter because it isn’t like you are buying a R107 to go fast in the first place. These cars are top down pleasure cruisers, not 0-60 runners. No one cares about how much power you are making with these. A new Honda Accord makes more power than a 560SL, who cares if you have the inline-six? For my money, I’d rather have the most aesthetically pleasing car that gets slightly better fuel mileage than the range topping V8 that costs way more.

How much more? This 280SL is listed for $12,500, which isn’t that crazy. I say that meaning that I think all R107s are overpriced, but I am only one man and don’t control the market. If this was a 560SL, I’d wager you’d be asked to pay many thousands more for what is basically the same car. Yeah, you get 50 more horsepower and 100 more lb·ft of torque but you gain those 300 pounds and ugly bumpers and headlights. So while the 560SL still might be king, don’t look down on the 280SL if you can find one. There is no reason to.

1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SL

Imagine walking into a Mercedes-Benz dealer today and saying “Yes, I’m in the market for a new SL. Do you have one in yellow?” The sales representative would probably look at you a little strange then come to realize he or she could talk you into plopping down an extreme amount for a custom color — granted that dealer had enough pull to fulfill the request. But roughly 38 years ago, you could grab a SL right off the lot in yellow. No one batted an eye at this because after all, it was 1979 and yellow was also a color that people painted their homes. Not everyone is now lining up to buy a yellow house (unless it’s at a beach) but this 1979 450SL up for sale in Tennessee? It’s garnering bids because it is not ugly, but period correct.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SL on eBay

Year: 1979
Model: 450SL
Engine: 4.5 liter V8
Transmission: 3-speed automatic
Mileage: 102,627 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

You are bidding on a very desirable highly optioned 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450SL Convertible finished in maple yellow with saddle interior. Between 2013 and 2017, this classic was painted back to the original color, base coat/clear coat including the removable hard top. A brake job was completed including resurfaced rotors and drums, new pads, hone wheel cylinders. New plugs, wires, distributor cap, and battery were installed and tires replaced as well as a complete tune-up. A new set of Jaspe (Black-Tan-Rust) floor mats were installed. Reserve is less than restoration receipts alone. Winning bidder will also receive a new hard top rolling stand with cover to store the hardtop when not on car. Vehicle will need a new convertible top installed and you can pick your favorite color.

Mileage may vary slightly from photo as this car is driven occasionally. Clear Mississippi title will be provided. Reserve is very low (less than recent restoration receipts) so bid with confidence. This car runs and drives great with no smoke or leaks. Tracks down the road straight with plenty of power. Chrome is in good condition with one minor scratch shown in photo and black bumper trim is in good shape. All gauges work (speedometer, odometer, tach, temp, gas gauge, oil pressure, etc. )including the clock. Lights and blinkers work perfectly. Even the original AM/FM Becker radio and speakers work properly. Among the many factory options include power electric windows, folding armrest, auto antenna (works), heat insulating glass, bumper guards, central locking system and others. Headliner on hard top is in good condition. Some small pieces of carpet have been removed when car was painted but are in trunk and can be reinstalled or you can inexpensively install these small pieces with new carpet. Two pieces of chrome trim missing on side of seats but these are available and do not affect the functioning of the seats. Dash pad is good with one small crack shown in photos. ACC unit works intermittently.

VERY LOW RESERVE, less than restoration receipts provided with sale of car. Local pick up available but buyer is responsible for pickup or shipping. Car is being sold for a friend and is located in Memphis, Tennessee. $1,000 deposit required within 48 hours (cash, certified check, or PayPal. Balance due within three days. I can assist with loading if car is being shipped.

This R107 is far from a cream puff or garage queen. It has been painted once, it needs a new convertible top, the wood is cracking, some of the carpet is missing, it has a dash cap that even has a large split in it and under the hood is some serious oxidation. Despite all this, the seller says that mechanically the car up to snuff and everything is working fine. I’d still be wary of everything on this car but it doesn’t seem like it is a total lost cause. 1979 wasn’t a great year by any means for the R107 as you still were saddled with the 3-speed automatic, single-row timing chain M117 V8 and god forsaken automatic climate control system. But for whatever reason, these things still have a fair amount of demand.

Where this auction ends will be interesting. This is no doubt a real work in progress car that can still be driven, but you would think anyone buying one of these in yellow wants to show it off. The haggard interior will need some effort and I would think the price would reflect that. It still amazes that R107s like these will bring a higher price than a decent R129 that is in much better shape. If this thing tops $10,000 I’ll be beside myself, but then again nothing in this inflated market really shocks me anymore.

– Andrew