Overall condition: Recently recommissioned
Number of owners: 5
History: Restoration Diary/Invoices for work
MOT: April 2024
The ‘R107’ or third generation of Mercedes-Benz’s SL grand tourer was launched in 1971, and with a production run spanning eighteen years, became their longest-running passenger car model. The R107 found itself existing at a time when many manufacturers were constrained by economic unrest and ever stricter safety and emissions regulations, yet Mercedes-Benz had designed a car that could take anything the regulators could throw at it. The elegant roadster featured modern crumple zones, a windscreen frame that could withstand a rollover, bonded glass, and a fuel tank mounted above the rear axle, minimising chances of incidents. But through its time, it continued to follow the arc of technological advancement, with features such as ABS and airbags both debuting in the early 1980s. But the expensive SL’s name was not made by its safety – but by its all-new silky smooth V8 engine, the ability to waft across continents in supreme comfort, and a truly timeless appearance. The SL was so ahead of its time that many of its contemporaries copied its style, and Mercedes-Benz stuck with the principles it debuted through to the mid-1990s.
This car is an example of the 350 SL – featuring the incredibly durable 200 bhp 3.5-litre M116 V8, made operatic by a stainless steel aftermarket exhaust fitted by a previous owner. ALZ 1876 was originally registered in Northern Ireland on 11th January 1980 before making its way over to England at some point in its life. Little is known of the car’s history prior to its purchase by the current (sixth) owner as a ‘barn find’ in 2018, following six years off the road. But it has since been sympathetically restored, retaining as many original parts as possible, as well as much of the original ‘Classic White’ paint finish. The car comes complete with a diary of its restoration and a number of invoices for the work, as well an MOT until April 2024, despite its exemption as a historic vehicle.
With 178,600 km showing on its odometer, this Mercedes-Benz is proof of the breed’s status as a truly usable and dependable classic car. This example would be a worthy classic for an enthusiast looking to be able to use their car to its fullest potential, in taking the car across the country and even onto the continent. As can be seen in the photographs, the Classic White paint sheens elegantly and every panel on this SL is as straight as the day it left Stuttgart in 1979, with no scratches or even small door dings to speak of, although there is some small peppering of corrosion above the nearside front indicator and on the front panel behind the bumper. All the exterior trim is in generally good condition, barring the nearside corner of the front bumper, which has a small gouge in it, and the windscreen, which is cracked at its lower edge. The ‘Mexican hat’ alloy wheels are all in very good condition. Finally, this car comes complete with its factory metal hard top, pictured, as well as a brand-new soft top, fitted in April 2023. As such, this car is in good condition to be used regularly and to impress on sight. Additionally, this example has the potential to be a showstopper with a thorough clean, polish to bring out the potential shine, and some fine detail work.
Under the bonnet is the overarching feature of the 350 SL – its famously reliable and smooth 3.5-litre M116 V8. The engine bay is proof of its reliable use, and barring a few patches of surface rust, there is no notable corrosion in any location, including the strut tops and below the brake master cylinder. All components appear in good condition, including the radiator and fan. The underside of the car has been undersealed to protect its repairs and all suspension components appear in good condition. As mentioned, this car comes fitted with an aftermarket stainless steel exhaust which brings out the burbly tones of the V8 engine, and the car drives down the road with incredible smoothness. There is no hesitation from the automatic gearbox, the engine pulls cleanly and smoothly, and the ride quality is sublime. There are no noises or untoward reactions from the suspension, just the performance one would expect from a pure-bred grand tourer.
Inside, the nature of the SL’s grand touring nature becomes apparent with the perfect driving position, smooth automatic gearbox, and ergonomically designed and comfortable seating. The half-cloth, half-MB Tex seating is in exceptional condition, retaining the tightness of material you’d have found in 1980, as is the dashboard and wood trim, with no cracks or marks to speak of, though the fuse box cover is missing. All minor switchgear is in good condition, and the car has been fitted with a Panasonic auto-reverse cassette deck, while the cabin retains the solidity and sense of strength in construction that built the Mercedes-Benz name. The carpets are all in good condition and feature their original fitted blue fabric mats, though the car would benefit from a vacuum, and there is a small amount of mould that has accumulated in the driver’s footwell. The hood folds into the convertible position smoothly and easily, and the car comes complete with its two original top lowering tools. As you would expect, the lining of the brand-new soft top is perfect, and the headlining beneath the factory hard top is in very good condition.
The R107 Mercedes-Benz SL is an iconic luxury sports car that epitomised elegance and exceptional taste in the higher middle- and upper-classes for the best parts of two decades, and that image remains today as the SL is a clear appreciating classic, not suffering in terms of reliability, dependability, or desirability as many of its period competitors have done, and with a reputation so strong, this example is in the perfect condition to be used as its manufacturer intended.
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