1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SL

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When the R107 SL first debuted, few could have imagined this roadster would have lasted in production for another eighteen years. This transformative roadster placed more emphasis on comfort and luxury than “sport and light” as its predecessor, the W113 had. Somehow, though, the R107 struck a chord with buyers and became a symbol of status and upward mobility for years to come, appearing prominently in television series and movies alike. This 1972 350SL represents the very beginning for the R107, painted in a rare hue of Reed Green with matching hubcaps, complimenting the early, slim bumper look quite nicely.

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1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SL

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Few knew it at the time, but 1972 would be the introduction for one of the longest lived Mercedes-Benz models of all time, the R107 SL. It was a departure from the W113 SL, more boulevard cruiser than “sports light” special. The first R107s to make it to the US would be the 350SL, but contrary to what the badge on the trunk lid may suggest, this SL did not have a 3.5 liter V8 under the hood. Customers stateside would get a detuned 4.5 liter V8 meant to cope with ever tightening emissions standards. Then in 1974, large crash bumpers would make their appearance, further differentiating the US market SL from their counterparts abroad. This 1972 350SL for sale in Florida has a golden hue fitting for the Sunshine State.

Click for details: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 350SL on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SL Euro-Spec Lorinser

While there are some great tuners from the 1980s whose designs seems classic and timeless, there seem to be many more whose designs are massively polarizing. For every spectacular Ruf, AMG and Alpina that’s out there, there seem to be an equal or greater amount of Gemballas, Stroseks, DPs, Koenigs and Tresers. The modifications they undertook were expensive and generally outrageous. It also seems that often they were discarded by their deep pocketed builders once they were no longer in fashion – if they ever were. But even if they weren’t the most attractive, they’re still cool timepieces to look back on a decade that defined excess through conspicuous consumption. I can’t help but wonder what the trends of today are that we’ll look back upon with the same attitude as we judge the 1980s. One of the tuners that seems to skirt between garish and great is Lorinser – not so wild as the Testarossa vented Koenigs, but generally I’d say not as good looking as the AMGs, either:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SL on eBay

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Tuner Tuesday: Anti-AMGs? Lorinser and Zender R107 SLs

Just yesterday, Paul revisited a lovely green 1986 560 SL and reminded us that these cars are at the bottom of the market in terms of classic Mercedes-Benz convertible ownership. It was only a few years ago that the W113 was priced below $20,000; now getting into a good example of that car will set you back the best part of three times that amount if not more. While in my opinion the W113 was a much prettier car than the R107 successor, there’s no denying the presence and value these 1970s and 1980s drop-top Benzs offer. Yet, few of these cars were modified like the sedan counterparts; those that have are usually AMG cars. But today there are two different versions of the R107 that have been modified, showing the alternatives to Affalterbach crowd:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1975 Mercedes-Benz 350SL on eBay

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1980 Mercedes-Benz 350SL 4-speed manual

The offbeat Mercedes-Benzes are coming out of the woodwork this week. Following the 4-speed manual 280SLC we featured on Wednesday, here is a rare, V8 engined, 4-speed manual R107 SL. This 1980 350SL represents the last year for the 3.5 liter V8 before the switch to the 380SL with it’s 3.8 liter V8 engine known for timing chain reliability issues early on in the production run. The 3.5 liter V8 has 200 horsepower and a slightly higher compression ratio than the larger 4.5 liter V8 offered solely in the US. This 350SL for sale in Oregon is in amazing original condition and looks sumptuous in gold metallic over a very period brown interior.

1980 Mercedes-Benz 350SL 4-speed manual on eBay

1980 Mercedes 350SL. Rare in the US. 3.5L V8, 4 speed manual. Original paint, 54K original miles.

Up for bids is this rare Euro version of the venerable R107 Series – a 1980 350SL that was imported to US in 1984. Quite a bit of paperwork was involved to bring the car into the US, one obvious reason for all that work is the 4 speed transmission that this car features. When Mercedes transitioned from the W113 model to the new R107 they left US customers without the option of a manual gearbox. The manual transmission adds a simplicity to this model that hearkens back to the W113 cars, yet the car offers the modern safety features that defined the R107 series – kind of the best of both worlds. The European market cars also enjoyed livelier motors, more svelte bumpers, and of course the integrated one piece headlights that these cars wear so well.

The car comes with a complete set of EPA, DOT and Customs paperwork detailing the importation process, right down to the bill of lading from the Wallenius Lines ship, “Tosca.” The car was imported with 66,160 kilometers, or 41,109 miles. Once in the US, the car was brought in to Fairway Engineering to complete the legal conversion, including installing a MPH speedometer, which was specifically set at 41,109 to reflect the actual mileage. I have dated DMV paperwork that verifies this, as well as all of the car’s owner history, back to the first owner in Velbert, Germany. The car has had 3 owners, included are copies of the Bills of Sale each time the car was sold, a copy of the original German title, and a clear Oregon title at present. Always garaged, this car has been in the hands of dedicated enthusiasts from new.

The car is painted in rare “Champagne Metallic” code 473H. The paint is all original and still looking fantastic. Aside from a few minor scratches and door dings, the paint finish is glass smooth and the body arrow straight. The car shows no rust issues anywhere, no areas of past problems, the good thing about cars with original paint is that they’re an open book. Tires are Kumhos with good tread.

The bumpers add a look to this car that is just simply missing from the US market cars with their ungainly 5mph bumpers, this is the way these cars were designed to look. The bumpers are in good shape front and back with excellent chrome and no damage to the rubber moldings. All lights and lenses are in excellent shape on this car, clean and clear with no fading. The grill assembly is excellent as well, with no damage or broken fins. In addition, the lower valance and grills below the bumper are straight and true, these are prone to getting tweaked by careless drivers, not the case with this car. This SL has excellent panel gaps throughout, the doors close with a vault-like feel.

The car has some of the typical scratches you find around the perimeter of where the hardtop mounts, not very visible in the photos. The biggest flaw on the car is a scratch above the passenger side rear wheel arch. The windshield is original and is in good shape. The hardtop is in terrific condition, it transforms this car into a true all season vehicle. The 3rd photo shows the bottom of the hardtop, this is a common area to find rust, but not in this case. The soft top is original and still looking good. The OE “Wopavin” back window is clear and pliable, the top opens and closes with ease. All weatherstripping on both the hard top and soft top is in good, original condition.

The storage well for the top is clean and rust free. The perimeter weatherstipping is original and fantastic, with none of the wear or fraying normally found on the forward sections. The trunk contains the factory jacking equipment, tool kit, and safety triangle. Another spot to check on these cars is beneath the carpet on the right side of the trunk – no problems here. The interior continues the theme of low mileage survivor, it’s in excellent condition throughout and again, all original. The driver’s seat has the optional orthopedic adjustment. The aftermarket rear seat is useful for children, or adults skilled at yoga. Both sills are crisp and clean, along with the carpet, seatbelts and seat hardware.

All gauges work correctly including the clock, whick keeps good time. The radio does not seem to be getting power. The heater, fan and plenums all operate correctly – the car’s heater is very effective and makes top down motoring possible even at this time of year, at least here in Portland. The wood trim in the interior is terrific, entirely free of cracks or hazing. The fragile integrated speaker grills are both in great shape. The dash pad has no cracks or splits.

You’ll definitely like the way this car drives. The car starts easily and runs strongly with no smoke, leaks, or issues. The 3.5L V8 provides plenty of power, and delivers it in a more lithe and efficient manner than the detuned US market 4.5L V8’s. Please note that this is the last year of the 350SL, not to be confused with the 380SL, which was known for having timing chain issues. The car’s ride quality is very nice, steering and suspension are tight with no slop, this car handles very well. The car shifts flawlessly, with smooth and positive engagement. The car runs cool, shows good oil pressure, tracks straight, brakes well – it basically behaves as you would expect of a Mercedes.

The car comes with an owner’s manual in German, as well as an abundance of paperwork detailing its importation and owner history. The undercarriage shows no sign of rust and all 4 jack ports are perfect. No signs of accidents or past repair. The car has had recent exhaust and brake work, the oil is fresh and all fluids have been checked and filled – the car is ready for the road.

An original, low mileage US market 450SL of similar vintage might bring $15,000 to $20,000 at the high end. With the higher compression, smaller capacity engine and the manual transmission, this represents a bit more of a lively drive than the more relaxed 450SL. That could be a plus for some and a detriment for others. Personally, I’m a big fan of this car and love the idea of the manual transmission mated to the V8 engine, as most manual transmission R107s you see have the six cylinder engines. I’d suspect somewhere around $15,000 would represent a reasonable value.

-Paul

1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SL AMG

Produced from 1971 to 1989, the R107/C107 second longest series in the Mercedes-Benz line up (second only to the G series). The R107 was the successor to the legendary W113 chassis and combined the nimble chassis with V8 power making these cars the benchmark for sports coupes in the ‘70s and well in to the ‘80s.

So how does on improve upon one of the most iconic German cars of all time? In this case, it was as simple as going on a shopping spree in the AMG accessory catalog. From 1980 through 1985 Merecedes AMG only offered an aftermarket catalog, rather than the turn-key cars that it does today. At some point in the early ‘80s, this car received the LL Cool J video treatment, with a full AMG interior, body kit, color matched Ronals, euro lights, and full monochrome paint making this an amazing period car.

This beautiful low mileage Signal Red 350SL for sale in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA is a time capsule of ‘80s tuning.

1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SL AMG on eBay

Classic Mercedes-Benz 1972 350SL AMG. Has 78,260 original miles documented. Title reads 77,621 actual miles. Truly a rare find. I also have a copy of the title when I bought the car. If you look up the lady’s name it says her age of 81 years, a unique name. The radiator has the original two stickers, they usually peel off after 60k miles. In one year I have put a little over 600 miles on it. New paint job last summer. I have pictures of how I found it. The paint was covering all the chrome, so I repainted it the same way. Has both original blue license plates. Both doors close with ease just release and shut. AMG interior parts, steering wheel. Color matched complete speedometer. Exterior Ronal R9s, complete body kit AMG front spoiler, AMG door wings, rear air dam spoiler and trunk spoiler. Delete chrome. Paint match. First AMG body kit built for the 107s. Repainted all red, AMG did that in its early years covering all chrome.

The wind deflector is not included in the sale. If the winner is interested in the OEM exhaust system let me know. Comes with owners manual and complete tool set, first aid kit, hard top tool. The engine and transmission are in great condition, performance exhaust system. Great suspension, the car rides firm and smooth. This amazing 1972 R107 350SL AMG has no, I mean no rust anywhere. Very rare for a 40 year old car. Complete tune up, changed all filters and fluids. Runs like a champion as it should. Just has a few cons: the drivers side power window works, but slow to go up just at the end. One big crack on the center console. Clock stopped ticking, light works. The rest is in great condition, everything works, A/C, heater, power windows, radio, you name it and it works. All padding under the carpet in the car is in very good condition. The trunk has the padding as well. Rare. I’ve seen others but none like mine. Fantastic Mercedes-Benz 350SL roadster. The first in the US. Own history. The soft top is original and in good shape. I would just change the plastic windows.

 

I’m generally not a Mercedes-Benz fan, and that’s no real secret, but add AMG to the equation, and you have my attention.  As a huge fan of ‘80s automotive styling (I know  it’s strange) I love the monochromatic look of this car, and can picture myself driving this as an extra in an LL Cool J, or Bel Biv Devoe video.

Lust aside, there are a few things that concerns me about this car, and at the top of the list is the discrepancy between the odometer, and the title. While it’s only 639 miles, I’d be curious to see if there is any documentation explaining the variance. The only other concern I have is the “too good to be true” pricing. Average retail on a 1972 350SL is in the $15,000 ballpark, considering the low mileage, and the old school AMG upgrades, the $9,000 buy it now price is a steal.

Assuming that the documented miles all check out this is a great car. It’s not an OEM restoration, which could be the reason for the price being so much lower than the market, but it’s a great time capsule of early AMG tuning, which to me is more valuable than a 100% original car.

-Brian