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. Don't worry, we won't 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 couldn't go out in the sun without seeing one. Today, however, finding a good one isn't so easy, because they, like most cars of the period, were susceptible to the dreaded tin worm just like everything else. Fortunately, this one has led an easy life with a long-term owner and shows none of the issues that you see on cars that were used for daily transport. The paint was refinished back in the early 2000s and remains in fine order and the sheetmetal underneath is quite straight save for a small bump on the tail panel by the taillight. Fantastic build quality is a big part of these car's appeal and a key to their longevity, and you can feel it just by closing one of the doors. The dark blue paint gives it a sleek, subtle look that ideally suits the 2-seater, a grown-up look that doesn't need to resort to flash to make a statement. You'll also note that the rubber bumpers are in excellent shape and not cooked by the sun and the chrome remains shiny.
The gray seats are in good shape thanks to the durable MB-Tex upholstery that wears like iron. The natural wood on the dash adds a luxurious warmth to the interior and remains 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. By 1985, most of these came loaded with every available convenience feature, including automatic climate control (A/C is ice cold!), power windows and locks, and even a rear defroster for the removable hardtop. Heck, even the original Becker AM/FM/cassette stereo is still in the dash! It's also worth noting that the convertible top is in excellent shape and the hardtop seals it up as well as a coupe.
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. The car has always been properly maintained and the critical timing chain upgrade has already been performance, and as a result, this is an SL will last practically forever if you keep it up. The automatic transmission shifts properly and the car has that same firm but supple feel in the suspension that makes it feel confident under almost any conditions. Familiar Mercedes-Benz "pie crust" alloys were chrome plated, which is a nice upgrade, and carry brand new 205/70/14 Michelin blackwall radials.
With manuals and long-term ownership, this is the SL that you can buy without worries. Enjoy one of the smartest buys in the hobby today and call now!