Overall condition: Very Good
Number of owners: 7
History: Part, with some recent
MOT: 12th March 2024
The Mercedes-Benz R107 series roadsters are supremely-engineered grand tourers, very much designed with America in mind. While V8s were the initial fitment, the oil crisis of the mid-1970s caused Mercedes-Benz to add smaller, six-cylinder engines to the range with mechanical fuel injection ensuring that even the smallest 280SL had a respectable 182bhp to offer. That ensures a 0-60mph of around 10 seconds. Not bad for such a heavy car.
The heftiness was very much engineered in, with solidity and reliability going hand in hand. There’s a reason this class is often referred to as ‘Panzerwagen’ – they do have a certain tank-like quality in terms of construction, though thankfully they do not drive like an army vehicle. Refinement is key and the rare manual four-speed transmission in this example means it can be quite brisk when asked.
Sales spoke for themselves, with Mercedes-Benz selling around 300,000 SLs and SLCs between 1971 and 1989 – a remarkable production run. This example has clearly been well cared for over the years and while not quite perfect, is a very good example of the breed with reassuring recent service history with noted marque specialist The SL Shop. The removeable hardtop is included in the sale, along with a full-sized alloy spare wheel and the tool required for roof removal.
Champagne gold is a colour that suits the car well and overall, the paint is in very good condition. Look really hard and you’ll find a hint of bubbling on the rear wheelarches – a common issue – though the area seems reassuringly solid beyond this. The front wings are another common rot spot but all looks good here. There is some very minor tarnishing to the top of the grille.
The hardtop is in very good condition with one very minor defect to be found near the front edge of the roof, though this is being picky. These are not always stored well but care has clearly been taken with this one.
We removed the hardtop to allow a thorough inspection, and the soft top beneath is in good order with some very mild discolouration to the plastic rear window section. The roof has been replaced but some time ago. It remains in very good order and has clearly seen very little use. There are one or two very small scratches on the rear deck that we suspect are from when the roof has been fitted or removed.
The wheels are in good order, the tyres likewise though they do date from 2008.
The engine bay is tidy, but not show standard with some mild surface rust on some components, such as the air filter assembly. The straight-six, twin-cam engines fires swiftly into life and shows good oil pressure. The fuel injection assembly looks to have been refurbished at some point. It holds a steady temperature and the heater is fearsome if required for a winter’s roofless drive.
The four-speed manual transmission sounds healthy and has no problem selecting gears. The brakes are formidable for the age of vehicle. The car drives very well.
The interior belies the 1970s heritage of these cars, but is in very good condition. A few small holes can be found in the base of the driver’s seat but otherwise, it is in top condition including the vast amount of carpeting. Lift the rear luggage area lid and a small rust blemish can be found on the driver’s side, and similar in the offside area of the boot, but these are very minor. All controls and switches appear to work correctly.
If the idea full-blown sports car seems a little uncomfortable to you, an R107 is a fine alternative, offering almost limousine comfort in a stylish, optionally open-aired package. Despite being the baby of the range, there’s enough performance to entertain and less thirst than its V8 stablemates. These cars were designed to cover distance rather than thrill down a B road, but if you’d like to enjoy the sunshine without jolting your spine, an SL could be the car for you. This one is in great condition.
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