For those of you just joining the old car hobby, you can scarcely do better than an R107 Mercedes-Benz SL of any kind. Handsome, durable, fun to drive, and with great parts availability, they are easy cars to own. Even better, most folks still think they cost a fortune, so showing up in one of these makes you look like an A-lister. Dont worry, we wont tell anyone how little this 1985 380SL really costs.
Almost everyone in the world can draw one of these from memory, and throughout the 80s, you couldnt go out in the sun without seeing one. Today, however, finding a good one isnt so easy, because they, like most cars of the period, were susceptible to the dreaded tin worm just like everything else. Fortunately, this one is a California car and it comes with all the goodness youd expect with a pedigree like that. The paint is mostly original with a few touch-ups to keep it in fine order and the sheetmetal underneath is quite straight. Fantastic build quality is a big part of these cars appeal and a key to their longevity, and you can feel it just by closing one of the doors. Silver paint gives it a sleek, subtle look that ideally suits the 2-seater, a grown-up look that doesnt need to resort to flash to make a statement. Youll also note that the rubber bumpers are in excellent shape and not cooked by the sun and the chrome remains shiny.
The gray leather seats are rather rare, as most SLs carried MB-Tex vinyl. The natural materials add a luxurious warmth to the interior and remain in fantastic condition with minimal wear and none of the expected signs of age. The seats are firm and comfortable for all-day cruising, and supportive enough for the spirited driving for which this car is intended. Theres also natural wood on the center console and big, no-nonsense instruments behind a massive steering wheel. By 1985, most of these came loaded with every available convenience feature, including automatic climate control, power windows and locks, and a tilt steering column. The top of the dash is perhaps the only demerit, where there are a few cracks that are inevitable in a California car mar an otherwise impressive interior, right down to the plush carpets that show minimal wear. Its worth noting that the hardtop has never been off the car(!) and the trunk is extremely well-preserved with more plush carpet.
The 3.8 liter V8 was downsized from the earlier 4.5 liter unit, but gives up only 7 horsepower (215 vs. 222). As a result, the 380 feels more agile thanks to a lighter front end, yet still zips around town with ease and hammers down the interstate at supra-legal speeds. We have receipts for the maintenance over the years, which is critical because a well-maintained SL will last practically forever. The 3-speed automatic transmission was rebuilt about 20,000 miles ago it has that same firm but supple feel in the suspension that makes it feel confident under almost any conditions. Shiny chrome alloys are a nice upgrade and carry 205/70/14 BFGoodrich blackwall radials that still have a lot of life left in them. Although it could use a little TLC here and there make no mistake this car is still an amazing piece of machinery ready for another few decades worth of fun.
With lots of factory documentation and receipts from single-family ownership, this is the SL that you can buy without worries. Enjoy one of the smartest buys in the hobby today and call now!