*** UPDATE: This car has now been sold for £13,833 all inclusive ***
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In 1971 R107 Mercedes-Benz SL took off where its R113 predecessor left off. It was offered in a range of engines and came with both soft and hardtops. Initially, it was sold in V8 form only – 350 and 450 SL, although the extra engine capacity didn’t add much power, but torque took a big leap and allowed it to be fitted with a much taller rear axle ratio. And it was this that cemented the SL as even more of an open-topped cruiser than the cars that came before.
The R107 and C107 took the chassis components of the midsize Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them initially to the M116 and M117 V8 engines used in the W108, W109 and W111 series.
Volume production of the first R107 car, the 350 SL, started in April 1971 alongside the last of the W113 cars.
The 350 SL was in production from 1971 to 1980 and 15,304 cars were made during that time.
Importantly the engine that was fitted to early American 350 SL cars, like this one, was the larger 4.5l V8 unit with the Bosch D Jetronic injection system.
Paul is a friend of ours here at Trade Classics and we sold an E-Type for him a few months ago. Paul bought this car for a single trip in mind, Le Mans Classic, as he’s a fan of big engine convertible cars and thought this would make a great car to travel to the event in. Basically he was planning to waft down to Le Mans in comfort and style. However, since buying the car Paul had the opportunity to take a Series 1 E-Type convertible to the legendary event, and importantly he got the opportunity to drive a parade lap in the car. So unfortunately this 350 SL was never used for the purpose that Paul indented.
Paul has since acquired a few more cars and he doesn’t have the garage space to keep this car, so this is good news for us as we are delighted to consign a car from Paul, and really excited to move it on to a new owner.
I personally consigned the car on a beautiful summer’s morning and finished around lunchtime. I was planning to have the afternoon off and take a trip down to the Cotswolds, Paul said, ‘why don’t you take the SL’. I didn’t need to be asked twice, so I said yeah, great, thank you Paul! Soon after I drove it out of his drive, put some petrol in and headed down to Lower Slaughter, a drive of about 50 miles in circa 25 degrees of summer weather. I thoroughly enjoyed the car and it drove faultlessly, I kept it to 50-60 mph and it was a joy to waft along the Fosse Way. The engine was super smooth together with the most comfortable of rides to keep my passenger happy, as we gently breezed passed beautiful Cotswold villages and stone cottages. We stopped at a few towns on the way to take some pictures (see images) and the car looked simply stunning and I had a few of the expected comments like, ‘nice car mate’. It’s a car that people see and love and want to say nice things to you. It was a very pleasant experience and really enjoyed my time with the car. I was sad to give it back to Paul!
Please take a look at the real world review video here from Harry Metcalfe, although, the one in the video is the UK specification with the smaller engine.
Okay, so yes this car is brown. But if you’re anything like me you’ll think it’s the best colour for this car. It’s totally period and is called Tobacco Brown that was carried froward from the earlier Pagoda range, also browns are back in vogue on new cars right now! But this car isn’t about fashion. It’s about originality and the colour combination is rare and just looks lovely. Forget reds and silvers; this is the colour to have. The paint and bodywork is in really good condition for a 46 year old car. In fact you have to remind yourself the car is really that old as it doesn’t look, feel, or drive like it at all.
Wheels & Tyres
The car is fitted with its original wheels and the M&S tyres all have good tread and even wear.
The car looks to be good in terms of both rust and rot. On our visual inspection we noticed a few small imperfections that have been highlighted in the video, e.g. a very small bit of raised paint on the OSR wing, NSF wing and windscreen pillar. Importantly, common areas of rust are the wheel arches, sills and doors; all these areas show no visible signs of any rot. Please see the media pack and videos to review the condition and underside.
The brown paint is very striking and there are no visible signs of any colour differences across the panels, even in direct sunlight. The are a couple of areas on the bonnet that have the very faintest micro-blistering that you only notice when looking hard – it’s very light and has been picked out in the video. There are a few small marks on the rear area where the hardtop fits against the body – this is usual as it due to taking the heavy hardtop off and on.
Glass and Trim
Both are in good condition across the car. The chrome is in good condition and so too are the rubbers and plastic trim. The brown fabric roof is in near mint condition, i.e. there are no rips or tears and the plastic screen is excellent. A colour matched hardtop is also included in the sale that’s in good condition and includes the folding stand on castors.
The interior is exceptional on this car and the colour scheme is beautiful and really suits it. The seats are in excellent condition and very comfortable as I found out during my half day of driving the car.
Seats and Carpets
The seats are in really lovely original condition with no rips or significant wear. The carpets look to be original and in excellent condition. There are pictures in the media pack of the front foot well carpets being lifted to show the original sound deadening underneath.
The gauges and interior are in excellent condition. The only slight issue is a split in the top of the dashboard near the window. It’s set far back so you only see it if you look for it, so I wouldn’t recommend replacing and would favour keeping the original dashboard with the car. The radio has been changed at some point in the past and would benefit from a period correct replacement and the aerial needs to be replaced too.
Steering Wheel / Gear Stick
Both are in original condition with no issues.
I personally took the car out on a short drive from Paul’s house – take a look at the ‘on the road’ video. As I previously mentioned, I also took the car out for half a day, and did about 100 miles. It performed faultlessly on that trip and oil pressure and engine temperature were rock solid on the hot day. The apparent engine and mechanical condition is a credit to the cars factual service history.
Engine and Gearbox
The car started first go from cold – it was a little lumpy to start with but that’s normal and due to the choke. Once the choke was off the car was super smooth and also started first time from hot. Paul has replaced all the ignition service components, e.g. plugs and leads. I didn’t notice any blue smoke on either during cold or hot start, or when driving, even during hard acceleration.
Suspension and Brakes
No issues noticed on the drive up to a speed of 70 mph.
Again, no issues noticed on the short drive to a maximum of 70 mph.
Electrics and Other
Electronics are light on this car, e.g. no electric windows. The only issue that Paul has found in the last few weeks is the odometer has become intermittent, i.e. the trip and main mileage stops working occasionally. Also, a common problem on these cars is the indicator stalk not staying in place when selected. This happens on right turns, i.e. you have to hold the indicator stalk up to keep the indicator selected.
It’s rare to find such good history with an imported car, as generally the paperwork is lost or not supplied with the car. Fortunately this example has great service history as you can see from the image file. Paul has worked out that the first owner in California had the car until 1995 after selling to a doctor. The next change of owner was to Paul last year.
Since the odometer issues started, Paul estimates he’s done about 400 miles extra in the car to what the odometer shows. It’s only in the last few weeks the issue has started, so ideally needs to be rectified to ensure the mileage remains accurate. On my trip I noticed the issue and ‘pinged’ the reset plunger and it started to work again. So I assume it may be a simple fix.
Current mileage is just 129,800 (accounting for Paul’s estimate) and that’s just over 3k miles on average each year.
HPi Check Results
– Paul is the first owner of this car in the UK, he paid cash for the car so no HPi check is included by us – please action your own check if you feel it necessary.
2,858 miles @ 11/2/72 by Mercedes Sunset Services, LA
3,948 miles @ 24/7/72 by Mercedes Sunset Services, LA
14,783 miles @11/9/73 by Mercedes Sunset Services, LA
19,001 miles @ 2/5/74 by W I Simpson 0f Santa Monica
66,725 miles @ 4/1/82 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
40, 029 miles @ 25/5/77 by German Motor Car Service, Santa Monica
46,096 miles @ 7/4/78 by German Motor Car Service, Santa Monica
50,898 miles @ 2/2/798 by German Motor Car Service, Santa Monica
62,124 miles @ 10/3/81 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
64,019 miles @ 30/6/81 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
70,290 miles @ 5/8/82 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
76,298 miles @18/7/83 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
80,404 miles @ 2/4/84 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
86,576 miles @ 30/4/85 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
91,830 miles @ 14/4/86 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
95,183 miles @ 3/11/86 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
97,462 miles @ 6/4/87 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
110,149 miles @ 2/10/89 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
119,743 miles @ 24/6/94 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
120.181 miles @15/3/95 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
121,400 miles @ 15/11/95 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
123,393 miles @ 15/6/96 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
125,039 miles @ 22/12/96 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
125,194 miles @ 4/2/97 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
129,000 miles @ 30/5/10 by Eddie Meyer Engineering, Los Angeles
Since I can ever remember I have had a soft spot for these cars. I love the lines and gorgeous looks of the R107 model – it may even be my most favourite generation. It just looks so classy and can’t imagine taking it to a place where it wouldn’t look good. Seriously, you could pull up outside the Ritz in London and feel the bee’s knees in a car that will cost the same price as a three year old Skoda Yeti. I actually love the Skoda Yeti but that’s a story for another day.
I’m also a massive fan of the quality and engineering that goes into these cars. When you compare them against the cars the UK was producing in the 1970’s you’ll see they are head and shoulders above them. Every detail across every component of the car is thought through and produced to the best of the German engineers’ capabilities. It’s this quality that provides us with a robust classic car you can use every day and not worry about being in hot summer sun in traffic. If I had taken my E-Type down to the Cotswolds yesterday then my eyes would be more fixed to the gauges than the road ahead – they are so delicate in comparison. However, we have to remember the new price of this SL, it was expensive, so much so that you could have actually bought two E-Types for the price of this car!
So in summary, I’d honestly snap this car up if I had garage space. The condition is amazing and I wouldn’t do a thing to this car. You can pull up anywhere and let people take a close look and most won’t find the issues I’ve pointed out here. It gives you a classic car feel and looks to match but without the reliability worries that comes with so many classic cars.
This is a proper classic that’s so undervalued in my opinion – what is there not to love.
This auction listing was written by Adam from information gained from Paul (owner and seller of the vehicle) and having visited and photographed the vehicle.
If you have any specific questions about the vehicle then please use the comments section below. I will receive a notification and will reply as soon as he can. I may need to check answers with Paul as he won’t be able to reply himself.
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