Last week on Christmas day I looked at a 2002 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrow that had a little bit of a mixed reaction. Even though it had only 70,000 miles and spent the majority of its life in Florida, the wood on the center console had some odd stuff going on with it. That is often the one minus of cars in the regions of no snow: you have to deal with the heat, along with the sun, that can wreak havoc on wood and leather. For the $17,000 asking price, you could probably find a better car or at least a better deal if you planned on driving it regularly. Today, I might have found that better deal. This Silver Arrow up for sale Atlanta, Georgia has 40,000 more miles but of course has some flaws to go along with those miles. The good news is the price is much cheaper than $17,000. How cheap?
Update 12/25/18: This Silver Arrow is listed as sold for $16,900.
Last weeks very special 1970 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.6 was one of the most interesting cars I’ve looked at in a while but one of our readers spotted something in the background. As you might have noticed, that something was a R129 SL500 Silver Arrow. Today’s vehicle isn’t that same car because that dealer doesn’t seem to have it listed for sale, but it is another very nice Silver Arrow so I figured that will work just fine. This one up for sale in Florida checks in with just a hair under 70,000 miles and honestly, has a very fair price on it. How much?
Last week I looked at a really cool 1993 Mercedes-Benz 600SL that took the early R129 styling cues and freshened them up a little bit thanks to some different wheels, tail lights and a little bit of paint. The price was more than reasonable for all you were getting and I think that you would probably do just fine when it came to keeping the value on that car. Today, I wanted to look at another early R129 that is nearly stock just to compare it when it comes to styling. This 1992 500SL up for sale in Alabama is painted in the classic Pearl Gray with dark gray lower cladding that is just a wonderful example of what these early R129s are. Nothing is aggressive or flashy, just a perfectly crafted Mercedes roadster that is built to pass the test of time. The best part about it? You can grab this one for under $10,000.
I’ve been really itching for a convertible of late and specifically a Mercedes-Benz SL. Maybe it is just the nice weather or the want to start another project, but I always seem to be digging around for a R129, R107 or even if I’m lucky, a Pagoda. During my digging, I came across today’s car which would be perfect for a summer daily driver but believe it or not, I actually want it because of what it does with the top on. Yes, that means this 2000 SL500 has the panoramic hardtop option that turns the normal boring hardtop into a full glass roof that still people go nuts for. Myself included.
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. The rest of this car looks outstanding with no major flaws despite its 117,000 miles. I like the gray leather but black wouldn’t turn me away either if that was the case.
This seller is asking $15,000 and in my eyes, it is probably a few thousand too high. If this car had the wheels and half the miles, then yes, $15,000 might be doable. But the market is still pretty soft even with these desirable options and rare paint, so I doubt anyone is going to overpay when they can find a comparable car for thousands less.