1980 Mercedes-Benz 280SLC

The US-spec C107 Mercedes-Benz SLC probably isn’t going to win any beauty contests. Mercedes had their hands tied with bumper and headlight regulations and probably knew people were going to buy their cars regardless, so they put a band aid on it and that is what we live with. In countries who didn’t have to live with antiquated regulations, things were much better. Slim chrome bumpers and flat headlights plus some engine and transmission choices that made everything just a little bit more exciting. Luck would have it, this is what we have today.

This is a 1980 280SLC that was sold new in Germany and imported to California some time ago. It has the M110 2.8 liter inline-6 paired with a 4-speed manual gearbox, a combo that is rare to say the least. This seems like a far cry from the lumpy V8 and sluggish automatic that was offered to the US buyers when new. Is this a Porsche 911 or E30 BMW M3? Of course not. It’s a car that wasn’t very attractive nor fun to drive and is now slight less of that. Right?

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1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

Most of the time the cars I feature are really nice examples. Mostly because no one wants to look at junk, outside of a few exceptions, and the majority of the cars that are offered for sale to the masses are actually cars people want to buy. For every nice W124 Mercedes-Benz on eBay, there are a dozen of them sitting behind barbed-wire fences at Buy-Here, Pay-Here lots with one flat tire. Today’s car, a 1982 500SL, is in an interesting position. The model itself is always considered desirable and people generally like them, but this specific example needs a lot of love to get it back to its former glory. Given the price, compared to really nice ones, is it worth taking on as a project?

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1984 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5-Speed

For every Craiglist-special Mercedes-Benz R107 out there with its average condition and crazy price, there is one R107 that is actually worth the money. You wouldn’t believe the number of 450SLs and 380SLs I dig through day after day with phrases like ”Great condition” and ”A real peach” only to see they have tires on them from 1996 and the canvas top is full of mold. I chalk it up to nearly two-thirds of the 300,000 R/C107s built ending up in North America over the unheard of 18 year production run. Combine that with their durability and most people treating them like some sort of investment, and you now have a market flooded with R107s. As the baby boomers hit retirement and their three-bedroom ranch house has a for sale in the front yard, so does the SL in the garage. The overwheling majority of the time they are over priced (in my eyes) and there just aren’t many buyers out there for them. The W113 Pagoda is a much more attractive car and the R129 is a much more livable car with its modern amenities. You are left with the R107 right in the middle with its giant bumpers, four eye head lights and underwhelming performance numbers. However, there is a beacon of light for the R107. This car is none other than the 280SL 5-speed.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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