In 1980, Mercedes-Benz revamped its SL lineup of sporting, luxury convertibles with the introduction of the 380SL. The 380SL was a further development of the R107 chassis, which was first used in 1972 by the 350SL, and then later by the 450SL. Like its forebears the 380SL was a heady mix of V-8 power, refined luxury, and sporty underpinnings, and it was as a very popular model with the bulk of its sales being in the U.S. ��� The 380SL, was named for its 3.8-liter V-8 engine which produced 155 horsepower. The new engine was designed with emission controls and weighed 120 pounds less than the former 450SL engine. The lighter engine helped to improve handling characteristics since there was less weight on the front end. In addition to the upgraded engine, the 380SL also received a new four-speed automatic transmission, which further enhanced long distance driving. The chassis had four- wheel, independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. The 380SL ended production in 1985, when was replaced by the 560SL. �� This 1985 Mercedes Benz 380SL roadster is owned by a well-known, St. Louis collector of vintage automobiles. Being built at the end of the 380SL's production run, it is fitted with updates and refinements not seen on earlier models. This example has been seasonally driven on a regular basis, always maintained, and properly stored. �� Upon close inspection, the body appears to be in very good overall condition. It should be noted, however, that there are some very minor dings and a slight crease on the passenger side door. Other than these small issues, which are only noticeable upon very close examination, the body is straight and solid. The doors fit the body well with even gaps and margins, the fenders are clean with crisp bodylines, the hood and trunk lid align properly. � The car is finished in its original dark blue paint, which remains in excellent condition. Dark blue is a rarely seen color on this model and really accentuates the classic bodylines. The paint has a strong overall gloss and does not exhibit any signs of excessive wear or deterioration. All of the chrome and stainless steel trim items are very clean and free from corrosion. � On the inside, the matching dark blue leather interior has been well preserved. The seats, door panels, carpets, and rear storage area appear to be in very good overall condition. The interior is accented with polished wood inlays, which are also in good condition. Accompanying this car is both the convertible top as well as the matching hard top, which are in fine condition. On the dashboard, all of the gauges have clear faces and operate properly.� The side glass and windshield are clean and clear, as is the rear window on the hardtop. �� Inside the trunk, the original mat appears to be in good condition. There is the original, matching cast aluminum spare wheel, a jack and a tool roll with tools. � � This car is being sold with various books and manuals as well as a clean CarFax report, which we will gladly send to perspective buyers. �� Mechanically, the car runs and drives excellent. It starts easily whether hot or cold. The engine does not smoke and has never shown signs of overheating. The chassis and suspension components are tight and rattle free. Driving the car is a pleasure with its accurate and responsive brakes and steering. The four- speed, automatic transmission shifts through the gears smoothly. The cast wheels are clean and the tires have many miles remaining. This car has been driven about 87,000 careful miles and has never been abused. �� This Mercedes-Benz 380SL is a fine choice for a sporty yet luxurious, 1980s roadster. It is a contemporary collectible that is fun to drive and affordable to own. This example is likely to continue to increase in value while providing reliable fun to its next owner.
Here’s a car to consider when the talk turns to future classics, those vintage vehicles that are relatively unloved and inexpensive today but have a lot of possible upside in the future.
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The story below was submitted as part of the Collecting Cars, Collecting Memories contest
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