In my never-ending quest to show everyone the best Mercedes-Benz R129s I run across, I present something a little different. This 2001 SL500 looked just fine from smaller photos and a number of feet away. The price was lower than average but it had some higher miles so I guessed it might just be that and a motivated seller. It wasn’t until looked at the enlarged photos and took a good look at everything until I really saw why this car was inexpensive. The once very valuable SL500 is a now a giant pile of battle scars and neglect. I’d even wager this one of the worst condition R129s I’ve ever come across. But it still runs and drives, so if the price is right, is it worth it?
Last week I checked out probably one my favorite R129s, a 2000 SL500 Designo that everyone else seemed to enjoy too with its unique paint and interior color combination. Well, turns out we weren’t the only one who fawned over this unique SL. Recently decrowned richest person in the world, Bill Gates, seemed to have an eye for this R129 too. According to this seller, this 2000 SL500 up for sale in Silicon Valley no less, was originally owned by the Gates for the first two years of its life. This is wonderful and all, but unlike the car I checked out last week, I’m not totally in love with this specific example. Let me explain why.
Everyone once in a while I run across a car that makes me say ”Wow”. It doesn’t have to be expensive or all that rare, but more so something that I haven’t seen before or a car in outstanding condition. Today’s car, a 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 up for sale in Arizona, is one of those cars. This car is not in outstanding condition for having 73,000 but it is featured in a color combination that I maybe have only see once. This R129 is finished in Slate Blue Pearl with Designo Two-Color Dark Blue that I think compliment each other so well. Of course, this SL comes with the ultra-desirable SL1 and SL2 packages which just to refresh everyone’s memory on is ”AMG designed” bumpers and sideskirts, 18 inch Monoblock 1 wheels, Xenon headlights, a 6-disc CD changer and heated seats. Could it get any better? Maybe.
”How cheap can they really get?”
That is what I ask myself all the time when checking out almost any car. I understand why cars get to a certain point, even ones that were really expensive to start with. Sometimes it is just the natural cycle of used cars. Sometimes it is a situation where the car just isn’t worth the trouble and prices hit the floor. Of course this is a case by case basis, but it is always interesting to see how certain cars slot into the market when they’ve matured to over 10 years old. Today’s car, a 2005 Mercedes-Benz SL500, is one of these cases where I always wonder how cheap they are going to get.
The R230 generation isn’t like SLs of years past; this is a modern-era SL with a retractable hardtop and a sleek design. Gone are the square slabs and lightweight feel, this is a bloaty, heavy grand tourer. Of course all this came at a very expensive price. The 2005 SL500 started at $92,000 ($118,000 in today’s money) and only got significantly more expensive from there. The thing is, these are pretty stout cars. They aren’t mechanical nightmares like a Land Rover (I know this from personal experience — I own one) and maintenance won’t bankrupt you even if you daily drive one of these. But this SL500 isn’t a mint to get into: it is a mere $9,000. That’s it. No, it doesn’t have a rebuilt title and it’s not full of mold, it is just a 2005 SL500 with a 141,000 miles. This makes me wonder; are all R230s heading towards this level of cheap buy-in?
A few months ago I checked out a really unique 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 with the Designo interior package. Outside of the garish red and black leather, there was one major thing would chase me away from this car: the giant crack in the carbon fiber trim. It wasn’t so much as there couldn’t be anything done about it, but rather it would cost $3,000 to replace that piece of trim that surrounded the shifter. Much to my surprise, this same car is back up for sale many states away with an increased price tag of almost $3,000 and that same crack is still there, although hidden really well with some clever photography angles. Honestly, at first I thought this was a different car and it didn’t have any flaws in the carbon fiber. Then I compared the mileage and knew it wasn’t just dumb luck to find two nearly identical cars. While it might have been in the right market range at the original $11,900 ask, good luck trying to sell it for $15,000. I just don’t think the market is there for this odd ball with a wart.
The below post originally appeared on our site September 4, 2017:
There are probably cars you really like and want to own, but only with certain options or packages. In my world, the Mercedes-Benz R129 falls into the category. For me to spend money and commit to one, I need the SL1 and SL2 packages. What do they include? The SL1 comes with the ”AMG designed” bumpers and sideskirts with 18 inch Monoblock 1 wheels. The SL2 includes xenon headlights, a 6-disc changed (who cares?) and heated seats. For me, that is the pinnacle of the R129. Well, I’d love a pano hardtop too, but you can’t have it all. But every R129 that I come across without these packages seems disappointing to me because I know that there are other ones out there that are better in my eyes. Today’s 1999 SL500 for sale in Pennsylvania has these packages and in a rare color, but it has one catch.
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 117,000 mi
Price: $15,000 Buy It Now
This car has been garage kept and meticulously maintained. Driven for pleasure only. Excellent inside and outside rare grey interior for this year model (most are tan in color). Car is located in Manchester , Pa. 17345
Please call me @ 717-818-9033 if you have any questions.
If you have a keen eye, you might notice something about this car is ”off.” Well, if you guessed the wheels, you are correct. This R129 has the 17 inch Albali wheels instead of the 18 inch Monoblock 1 wheels that come with the SL1 sport package. I have no idea where those original wheels went, but it is really unfortunate because this car also has the SL2 package. To top it all off, this SL500 is painted in Amber Red which is a really rare color for a R129.…
Last week I checked out a wild E55 AMG with a blue interior to match the exterior. Today we have another Mercedes with a little wild flavor, although this one needs a peek inside to see what is going on. This 2000 SL500 for sale outside of Chicago looks great on the surface. It spent most of its time in California, has a hair over 58,000 miles and nice options like Xenons with 18 inch Monoblock wheels. But unfortunately, this R129 has one little flaw that might keep the majority of the buyers away.
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Mileage: 58,123 mi
Price: $11,900 Buy It Now
**DESIGNO EDITION** Very rare 2000 SL500 Convertible from CALIFORNIA with only 58k miles on it since new! 100% CARFAX CERTIFIED, Looks and drives awesome! Has power top, heated seats, designo interior with black/red combination leather sports seats, 17 inch AMG wheels, Xenon lights, BOSE Premium audio, and much more! Very rare find! California car with only 58k miles!
Clearly, this SL is all about the interior. The Designo option of red and black is one that I very rarely see on the R129 because the majority of SL buyers usually don’t go for color combinations like this. On top of the two-tone seats, this SL500 also has the W40 and W42 carbon fiber trim options. This is also very rare because almost every R129 has the standard wood trim and not carbon fiber. While cool, there is one major problem. Take a close look at the center console to the right of the shifter and you’ll see a giant crack that goes through almost the entire length of the piece. Not a big deal, right? Just buy another one to replace it, right?…
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.
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.
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.