1981 Mercedes 380 SL

Trade Classics > Auctions > Mercedes > 1981 Mercedes 380 SL
Auction ID
Reserve Not Met
Posted on
24th of February 2019 at 1:35 PM
Highest Bidder


    380 SL (R107)
    Reg. Date
    Interior Colour
    Interior Trim
    Chassis #
    Engine #
    October 2019
    Former Keepers
    Tyre Brand
    LHD or RHD
    Vehicle Visited
    Sale Type
    3 years
    3108 times



*** UPDATE: This car has now been sold for £6,500 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 (280 SL, 280 SLC, 300 SL, 350SL, 350SLC, 380SL, 420SL, 450SL, 450SLC, 500SL and 560 SL) and came with both soft (SL) and hard tops (SLC). 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 last R107 models, the 420/560 were made up until 1989.

The 380 SL was in production from 1980 to 1985 and some 53,200 cars were made during that time.


Louisa has owned this car with her partner Bernie for around 3 and a half years. As a child Louisa has always been around Mercedes, with it being the marque of choice for the family, and an SL from the R107 series is a model she’s always wanted.

When they had enough money to get one, they started their search. They weren’t interested in a show car or a garage queen, they wanted to get a car that they could drive and enjoy. They found this example, with its cute backstory having been a wedding gift at one point in its life, and have enjoyed using it whenever they’ve had a chance.

Lousia and her partner split their time between Ramsgate and London, and more recently Louisa has been working abroad. This along with the fact that the garage they store the car in is far away from their home has meant that the time has come to sell the car so that it gets more use from a new home.


The car is finished in white, with the original colour of olive green remaining on the hard top, we explain how that came to be below, along with our observations during the visit.

Wheels & Tyres
This SL sits on its original 14″ “Mexican Hat” wheels, and the tyres are Nankang all around. Although the wheels haven’t been curbed, it would be nice for them to be given a good cleaning treatment to make them stand out. The tyres across the car had even wear and from our observation lots of life left in them.

Overall the cars bodywork is solid. Louisa and Bernie had any bodywork issues that needed fixing like the wheel arches remedied in their ownership. Take a look at the comprehensive video review to see the detail, the areas we observed that need attention are as follows; the front of the hard top needs some new trim to stop and water getting in to it, above the front nearside headlight there is some slight bubbling, front offside bodywork behind bumper/under the grill needs attention, the boot has rust bubbling across the rear and the boot catch needs to be fixed.

At some point in the cars history, it was bought as a surprise wedding gift between spouses. At that time, the owner painted the car white as he gave it to this wife on their wedding day. This was many years ago, and now the car would really benefit from being resprayed. You can see the quality of the paints condition in the video and images.

Glass and Trim
The glass and trim across the car present in good condition in line with the age of the car. The chrome across the car hasn’t suffered from lots of pitting, and the rubber trim looks ok too. The drivers side door chrome trim needs to be fixed down correctly as it was loose, and some of the chrome/rubber strips could be adjusted so that they provide straighter lines but all in all, in line with the age.


The interior of the car is in great condition. No excessive wear visible on any of it, and finished in black throughout.

Seats and Carpets
The seats look great, and were comfortable to sit on. No rips or tears observed. The carpets looked good too, they look to have been changed we think based on their condition. In the video you’ll notice that under the carpets there is some surface rust. The drivers side window had a leak at some point in the cars life, that was remedied by Louisa and Bernie when they bought the car. Take a look at the images to see the detail.

The dashboard and dials look good. The wood veneer across the interior looks nice, and the car has a period radio in it that sets it off. There is a small split around 1cm in the covering of the dash right by the window. Watch the video to see it in detail.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick
Both are in original condition with wear in line with the age of the car.


Louisa took us on our usual drive to try and put the car through its paces, watch the video to see how the car performed.

Engine and Gearbox
Cold start, and driving the car from cold around the town, we experienced no issues with the engine or automatic gearbox. Watch the video so you can see the car on the road.

Suspension and Brakes
On our little drive, we did not observe any issues, and the suspension components from the underside images all look as they should.

The Drive
The car wafted along the town, the V8 burbling away under the hood, and pushing us along without a strain.

Electrics and Other
The drivers side electric window has had issues in the past which have been rectified. Louisa and Bernie have confirmed that everything works as it should.


The car comes with almost all of the MOT history, and paperwork of how its been serviced by various owners over the years. The clock was changed in 1995, as can be seen from the mileage recordings, which now puts the true mileage at just over 100,000 miles.

HPi Check Results
– Our own HPi check is in progress.

Previous MOT’s
– 08.08.85 – 17,424 miles – Service
– 25.06.86 – 24,290 miles – Service
– 02.07.86 – 24,307 miles – MOT
– 11.10.86 – 41,677 miles – Service
– 12.06.87 – 29,648 miles – MOT
– 05.10.87 – 43,378 miles – Service
– 10.06.88 – 34,062 miles – MOT
– 19.09.88 – 35,818 miles – Service
– 16.06.89 – 39,295 miles – MOT
– 19.06.89 – 39,416 miles – Service
– 06.06.90 – 44,224 miles – Service
– 07.06.90 – 44,224 miles – MOT
– 18.06.91 – 50,017 miles – MOT
– 18.06.92 – 51,456 miles – MOT
– 06.12.93 – 52,470 miles – MOT
– 09.12.93 – 65,270 miles – Service
– 04.01.95 – 3,229 miles – MOT
– 14.01.95 – 3,229 miles – Service (New clock fitted)
– 08.12.95 – 8,022 miles – Service
– 04.01.96 – 8,097 miles – MOT
– 03.01.97 – 14,297 miles – MOT
– 17.04.97 – 15,903 miles – Service
– 07.01.98 – 20,382 miles – MOT
– 27.02.98 – 21,148 miles – Service
– 07.01.99 – 26,767 miles – MOT
– 05.05.99 – 28,411 miles – Service
– 07.01.00 – 32,197 miles – MOT
– 20.02.01 – 36,252 miles – MOT
– 21.11.02 – 36,705 miles – MOT
– 16.01.04 – 36,782 miles – MOT
– 22.01.04 – 36,793 miles – Service
– 17.05.04 – 38,391 miles – MOT
– 21.05.04 – 38,391 miles – Service
– 13.06.05 – 39,630 miles – MOT
– 19.05.06 – 40,803 miles – MOT
– 29.01.07 – 41,783 miles – MOT
– 28.01.08 – 42,989 miles – MOT
– 22.01.09 – 43,998 miles – MOT
– 22.01.09 – 43,998 miles – Service
– 28.01.10 – 46,309 miles – MOT
– 31.01.11 – 47,363 miles – MOT
– 01.02.11 – 47,363 miles – Service
– 26.02.13 – 48,964 miles – MOT
– 22.01.15 – 50,460 miles – MOT
– 18.01.16 – 52,122 miles – MOT
– 18.01.17 – 52,952 miles – MOT
– 16.08.17 – 52,964 miles – MOT
– 02.10.18 – 53,992 miles – MOT


This is a lovely little SL, that comes with lots of history to help verify its ownership and use. Importantly it drives well, the V8 sounds great as we were cruising along.

With their lives on the coast in Ramsgate, Louisa and Bernie really want to ensure that the car doesn’t just sit unused, and so now there is the opportunity to pick up a nice running example of the R107 SL before the summer.

As ever, we have pointed out the good points and bad points on the car, and when it goes to auction the reserve has been set to allow for the new owner to work on things like the paint. If it was originally blue, I think I would be seriously considering bidding myself! Best of luck if you decide to take part in the auction.


This listing was written by Kulraj Singh Salh from information gained from Louisa the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

If you have any specific questions about the vehicle then please use the comments section below. Louisa will receive a notification and will reply as soon as she can.

UsernameBid AmountDate MadeWinner
MrMarky76£4,701.0008-Apr-2019 19:52:36 
cruiser£4,500.0008-Apr-2019 15:50:05 
MrMarky76£2,350.0004-Apr-2019 18:29:21 
wheeler£1,500.0003-Apr-2019 10:52:02 


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Kulraj Salh

Getting closer to the reserve, but not quite there yet…

Adam - Trade Classics

Very low reserve on this car… might buy it myself 🙂