I Love the 90s? 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

I Love the 90s? 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

Last week Craig looked at a really nice early R129 500SL. Today’s car is another early R129 500SL, but as you can probably tell, this one is a bit different. This 1990 for sale in Orange County, CA comes from an era where you actually had to paint a car to change its color. It’s a rolling piece of 1990s car culture and it hasn’t aged particularly well. I compare it to a nice house that hasn’t updated the kitchen in 25 years. It’s not that the workmanship is low, it’s that time has left it behind. Now of course with any custom car, it’s priced way too high and has some strange things going on with it.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 500SL on Orange County Craigslist

Year: 1990
Model: 500SL
Engine: 5.0 liter V-8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 85,730 mi
Price: $13,995

A unique, one of a kind, customized Mercedes-Benz SL500. This car has new B.F Goodrich tires, rebuilt suspension, all new shocks and struts, new conv. tan top, and all original leather tan interior. This auto was customized by Santini with AMG bumpers and trim, Lorinser wheels, and the PPG Harlequin, Vibrance PPG-VM, green to purple paint that changes color as lights hits at different angles. Custom electronics offer remote starting, door and window operations, and remote convertible top opening.

At first glance, I thought this car was customized basically right off the lot. It has all the period correct items like the chameleon paint, early R129 AMG bumpers and sideskirts, Lorinser wheels and remote everything. But upon closer inspection, this car has the 1996-2002 side vents on the fenders. 1990 to 1995 R129s have three squared slots but in 1996 those were swapped out for two slots that were rounded. So if I had to guess, the paintwork and probably all of the other modifications didn’t happen until at least 1996.…

1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

The R129, produced between 1989 and 2002, is a bit of an odd duck. It’s too old for those in the market for a roadster with modern levels of power and convenience. But it’s not yet old enough (or rare enough) to be of interest to collectors or vintage aficionados. The upshot is that a nice example can be had for relatively little money and it might well appreciate in value over the coming decade, following R107 values through the roof. The 600SL was the halo car of the lineup, with a monster of a V12 under the hood. But the 500SL – powered by a 5.0 liter V8 that developed a perfectly usable 320 hp – is where real value for money can be found. Perhaps not as sporting as one would hope, these SLs nonetheless continue in a long line of high quality boulevard cruisers known for their high precision engineering, longevity and classic good looks.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL on eBay

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

Ending Soon – What We’re Watching

I’ve got my eye on another interesting and diverse set of affordable no reserve auctions this week. Take a look and feel free to chime in where you think cars will end! Let’s get things rolling with this BMW E28 with only a few hours remaining:

Click for Details: 1987 BMW 535is

This 1987 BMW 535is is definitely on the driver-quality side rather than a show piece; but all the important bones are there and the rust-free claim is worth its weight in 1980s Bavarian metal, anyway. Overall, though there are some obvious needs, for a 200,000 mile car it looks reasonably tidy and so far bidding is only at $2,500.

Click for Details: 2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDi Wagon

In an era of Volkswagen production that saw a sharp upswing in quality and performance, who would have guessed that the second most desirable model in the used market (outside of the R, obviously) is a Jetta Wagon with the diesel motor? Unlike its bigger brother Passat TDi Variant, the Jetta could be had with a 5-speed manual and they’ve developed a cult following. This one ticks the right boxes with lower miles, what appears to be good condition and the ALH/5-speed manual combination in a wagon, so bids are nearly at $7,000 with a few hours to go on the no reserve auction.

Click for Details: 1997 BMW M3 Sedan

After yesterday’s polarizing M3 Lightweight, we’re back to normal series production (and lower prices) with this still desirable M3 Sedan. In -3/4/5 configuration, these have quickly become the preferred weapon of choice for the practical E36 lover. In Artic Silver with Dove interior, this one isn’t stock, but with under 100,000 miles and in good condition, it looks like a solid investment at under $9,000 at time of writing.

Click for Details: 2000 Audi S4

An interesting, and more potent, counterpoint to the M3/4/5 is the Audi S4.…

1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL

1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL

1993 was a huge year for the Mercedes-Benz SL in North America. For the first time in its 39 year history, the Sportlich-Leicht was being produced with a V12 engine. The 600SL was graced with a massive aluminum block 6.0 liter with forged steel connecting rods that produced nearly 400 horsepower. This was 80 horsepower more than the M119 V8 from the 500SL of the same year. Of course, you paid a premium for the extra four cylinders. The 600SL base MSRP in 1993 was a staggering $120,000 (over $200,000 in 2017 buying power) compared to $98,000 for the 500SL. But in my opinion, you definitely got your moneys worth. These were handsome, practical cars that you could depend on — unlike your friends with V12 Jaguars and Ferraris.

This R129 for sale in Connecticut looks to be a great example of the first year V12 cars and it’s in my favorite color of Spruce Green Metallic. It’s not a perfect example and has a couple minor flaws but most importantly it looks well-cared for because for as stout as the M120 V12 is, it still needs its regular maintenance and repairs.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL on eBay

Year: 1993
Model: 600SL
Engine: 6.0 liter V12
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 75,375 mi
Price: Reserve Auction

This Mercedes Benz 600SL is a future classic that has had extensive restoration work performed. In 1993 when this SL was sold, it represented the pinnacle of luxury and performance, 24 years later this car retains all of its original style and character and is a bargain when you consider the refinement and features that come with this car that originally had an MSRP of over $100,000.

The owner of this 600SL maintained the car flawlessly and invested in cosmetic and mechanical work to keep this car in peak running condition.

2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500

2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500

The Mercedes-Benz R129, in my opinion, is in that limbo stage where a it’s not fully a considered a classic yet, but it’s starting to be eyed up as a future collectible for the right models. In typical SL fashion, the chassis ran a staggering 12 years from 1990-2002 which saw many face lifts and engine updates. Seeing as there was a giant difference in technology between 1990 and 2002, the first R129 that rolled off the line and is a lot different than the last R129 that did. Today’s SL for sale in California is towards the end of the production cycle and takes advantage of almost all Mercedes had to offer at the time.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

Tuner Tuesday – Roll the Dice? 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL AMG

Tuner Tuesday – Roll the Dice? 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL AMG

A few weeks ago, I wrote a “Roll the Dice” article about a European specification 380SE with a host of period AMG bits. However, there was no supporting documentation that the car was actually an AMG car and, notably, several items were incorrect. The verdict was that without that documentation, it was probably overpriced for what it was. Today I’m back with another white “AMG” – this time, a pre-merger R129 500SL. Again, we get little documentation on what is reportedly a Japanese-specification 500SL with AMG bits. Is it worth a roll of the dice this time?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 500SL on eBay

1997 Mercedes-Benz SL500 40th Anniversary Edition

1997 Mercedes-Benz SL500 40th Anniversary Edition

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About a month ago I featured a 1997 SL320 40th Anniversary Edition. Today’s car is also a 40th Anniversary Edition — although a SL500 and not a SL320. With the smaller straight-six production being limited to 250 models, the V8 had twice that number (despite what the sellers ad says) with 500. The SL500 was only produced in Crimson Red Metallic with “Exquisite” parchment leather, some fancy floormats and EVO II wheels. Seeing as these don’t come up for sale often, let’s take a look at this R129 outside of Boston.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1997 Mercedes-Benz SL500 40th Anniversary Edition on eBay

1997 Mercedes-Benz SL320 40th Anniversary Edition

1997 Mercedes-Benz SL320 40th Anniversary Edition

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To continue on the theme of non-traditional colored R129s, today we have a SL320 that not only has a unusual exterior color but an inside has a color hereto unseen on the legendary Mercedes roadster. In 1997, decided to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the SL with a special edition SL320 and SL500. All painted in Quartz Blue Metallic, the 6-cylinder SL320 is more rare with only 250 examples produced while the SL500, those all painted in Crimson Metallic, had twice as many with 500 being built. Apparently Mercedes-Benz felt that special exterior color wasn’t enough to set these cars apart. So let’s find out what is inside this 40th Anniversary Edition for sale in Florida.

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

2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500

2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500

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Roughly two months again I featured a 1992 500SL in the non-neutral colors of Teal Blue Metallic combined with Lago Metallic that got a positive reaction.  Today we have another R129 SL500 that is another shade of teal although this time it’s Mineral Green. It stands out and catches your eye but not enough to seem garish or offensive. So let’s take a look at this handsome late-model R129 in Atlanta, Georgia.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

2002 Mercedes-Benz SL600 Silver Arrow

2002 Mercedes-Benz SL600 Silver Arrow

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There exists a divided community of R129 Mercedes-Benz owners. On one hand there are those who feel that the V12 is necessary to make the car feel special and unique enough to be maximally enjoyable on rare driving occasions. On the other are more sensibly minded owners who prefer the cost-effectiveness and balance of the V8. I won’t interject my $0.02 into that discourse, but I will say that few R129 owners will disagree that a Silver Arrow SL600 is a very rare and desirable machine.

The Silver Arrow was a special edition of the R129 SL offered only in 2002, the final year of production. Only available in North America, Mercedes sold 1,550 Silver Arrow R129’s. Of these 1,550, only 100 were SL600’s. Featured here is one of those very few 600’s. I cannot recall the last time that one was publicly listed for sale, but having followed the R129 market closely since 2009, I can only recall ever seeing maybe one or two listed in online marketplaces.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL600 Silver Arrow on eBay

1993 Mercedes-Benz SL700 RENNtech

1993 Mercedes-Benz SL700 RENNtech

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Back in 1993, if you hopped down to the local Mercedes-Benz dealer and asked for a 600SL, they’d gladly give to you — in exchange of giving them almost $130,000. If you somehow were dissatisfied with the car in terms of performance, you called up Mercedes super-tuner RENNtech and told them to do their thing with it — in exchange of another $60,000. Now doing some quick math here, we are at a grand total of around $190,000. Keep in mind we are still talking in terms of 1993 money. To put that in perspective, that’s over $316,000 in 2016 dollars. And you thought a drug addiction was expensive! So what did this insane amount of money buy you?

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1993 Mercedes-Benz SL700 RENNtech on eBay

1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

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A new week, a new R129. This reason I chose this 500SL was of course this wonderfully 90s color of Teal Blue Metallic combined with Lago Metallic. It’s one of those love it or hate color combinations that are tied to an era. You don’t see a lot of colors like these on new cars, if any. But I think of it like the rainbow of colors from the 70s and 80s that were featured on the W115, W123, R113, and so on. These crazy color combos are now admired over the typical sliver, black or even worse, tan. The thing is, color combinations like this only work if they are taken care of. And this 1992 500SL for sale in St. Louis certainly looks like it was.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL on eBay

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-speed

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The R129 has always been my favorite iteration of the SL roadster. Softer and more modern than the classic R107 that it replaced, but still sufficiently angular that it doesn’t succumb to the awful jelly bean aesthetic of the late 80s and early 90s, the quintessentially Mercedes design remains attractive today; sporty and taut yet elegant and handsome. While most US buyers opted for the V8 500SL or the range topping and magnificent V12 in the 600SL, the car could also be had with an entry level 3.0 liter straight six, as found in this 300SL version. Already a relatively uncommon spec, this car features the especially rare manual gearbox, available only on six cylinder R129s.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL for sale on eBay

1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mille Miglia

1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mille Miglia

These days, Mercedes hasn’t released too many limited edition models outside of their in house tuning arm, AMG. Before the days of AMG proliferation, Mercedes would release a special edition model from time to time, such as this 1995 SL500 Mille Miglia. Built to commemorate Stirling Moss’s win of the historic 1955 Mille Miglia road race. This R129, available as an SL320 or SL500, was available only in Brilliant Silver Metallic, equipped with Evo II six-spoke polished alloys and a red and black leather interior complemented by carbon-fibre trim. The side fender grills were also given a rather unique checquered flag treatment that, upon close inspection, is a clever collection of chrome squares. This right-hand drive example for sale in the UK has covered less than 70,000 miles and is a great modern day tribute to a legendary period in Mercedes-Benz racing history.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Mille Miglia at Fast Classics