1985 Mercedes 500 SL

Trade Classics > Auctions > Mercedes > 1985 Mercedes 500 SL

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HISTORY LESSON

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 CAR & STUART

SLs are one of Stuarts favourite cars. He’s been lucky enough to own them throughout his life, and currently has a 1965 Pagoda, along with this example of an R107 from 1985.

He has always liked Mercedes as a marque, and this particular model he believes is a timeless classic, describing this one as having “A real Bobby Ewing, Dallas style” to it. We’d have to agree, the interior really setting off the look.

This is the first 500 SL that Stuart has owned, previously having the smaller engine variation, and the power and delivery of it really surprised him. Compared to 280s and 350s that he’s driven, the 500 drives much better.

The original plan Stuart had for this car was to bring it back to life, as it had sat in a garage for a long time, and cherish it as a pair alongside his Pagoda. However, due to space, he’s parting ways with this car now after spending some time and effort recommissioning it.

 

EXTERIOR

Finished in white, this is a lovely example of a R107 SL. Take a look at our write-up and the detail across the videos and photos.

Wheels & Tyres
Sitting on the “Mexican Hat” style wheels, and wrapped in Dunlop 14″ tyres across the car, all presenting in good condition. Review the photos for detail on each wheel.

Bodywork
Straight lines across the car were the order of styling for the R107. This cars bodywork presents in very good condition. We’ve filmed our usual extensive review, capturing the shut-lines, panel gaps and any corrosion. There is a small rust spot on the underside of one of the doors, we didn’t spot any visible rust on the body panels of the car.

Paint
The white paint and finish across the car is great. The finish is even, and the colour too. We didn’t spot any scratches on the car, but there is the odd small chip in the paintwork in the usual places; a couple on the front of the car, some on the door shuts from time gone by and one where the hard top fits on to the car. Take a look at the extensive video review for all the detail.

Glass and Trim
All of the trim and the glass on the car looked great. Sometimes the trim on these cars can really perish and ruin the look, but this example looks very nice.

 

INTERIOR

What a charming interior in this car, finished in blue across the cabin. The interior was definitely one of the things that attracted us when consigning the car.

Seats and Carpets
Finished in a blue check cloth, with matching accents on the door cars, and blue carpets across the car; a lovely place to be. The interior presents in great condition. There is a little wear on the driver’s seat cloth, and some of the door cards that could be cleaned / treated to really make the interior pop. It’s lovely just as it is though, and in line with its age. Take a look at the media for the details.

Dashboard
Also finished in blue, it looks really nice. The dials look great, and the dash didn’t show any signs of being marked. Please watch the full video to see the detail, along with the wood veneer trim on the centre console.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick
Original specification steering wheel and gear stick in place, they both look in line with the age of the car. Photos and videos in the media on this car to show you the details up close.

 

MECHANICS

Stuart took us on a little drive to a private road where we could put the car through its paces and see how it performs.

Engine and Gearbox
We performed our usual cold start on the car to see how the engine started and settled down. We didn’t observe any untoward smoke from the exhaust, and the automatic gearbox shifted through the gears with ease on the drive. Watch the video to see for yourself.

Suspension and Brakes
On the drive, we didn’t observe any suspension knocking sounds, nor any issues with the braking of the car. The video of our drive captures the road and view from the cabin.

The Drive
A quick drive around some private roads to get a sense of what this SL is all about, very enjoyable.

Electrics and Other
Stuart the seller informs us that everything on the car is working as it should do, with the exception of the driver’s side window. This is being fixed before sale, and we will update the listing when it has been completed.

 

HISTORY


This car comes with a great history file that tracks the mileage steadily over the life of the car, through services and MOTs. There are also some invoices that detail mechanical work over and above the standard services that have been carried out.

The car is showing just over 88,563 miles as of 25.05.2019.

HPi Check Results
– The seller tells us the car is HPi clear and will be supported by our own HPi check.

Mileage Records – MOT/Service
– 17.09.1985 – 7,431 miles – Service
– 19.09.1986 – 12,614 miles – Service
– 20.03.1987 – 15,374 miles – Service
– 18.09.1989 – 30,588 miles – Service
– 01.06.1990 – 35,087 miles – Service
– 16.05.1991 – 39,200 miles – Service
– 25.03.1992 – 42,296 miles – Service
– 24.01.1994 – 48,248 miles – Service
– 24.01.1995 – 51,130 miles – Service
– 10.04.1996 – 55,841 miles – Service
– 09.04.1997 – 58,274 miles – Service
– 14.08.1998 – 66,171 miles – Service
– 22.06.1999 – 70,008 miles – Service
– 29.03.2001 – 74,886 miles – MOT
– 17.07.2002 – 76,342 miles – MOT
– 28.04.2003 – 79,946 miles – MOT
– 24.05.2005 – 80,824 miles – MOT
– 08.05.2006 – 82,398 miles – Service
– 24.05.2007 – 84,336 miles – MOT
– 25.06.2009 – 85,742 miles – MOT
– 01.07.2010 – 86,471 miles – MOT
– 04.07.2011 – 86,813 miles – MOT
– 17.07.2012 – 86,864 miles – MOT
– 22.07.2013 – 86,925 miles – MOT
– 21.08.2014 – 87,417 miles – MOT
– 05.08.2015 – 87,498 miles – MOT
– 26.04.2019 – 87,930 miles – MOT
– 25.05.2019 – 88,563 miles – Visit

 

OUR SUMMARY

The second iteration of the SL, the R107 as the internal code is known, is firmly regarded as a classic now. Mercedes continued the sport lightweight form from the Pagodas before it with lots of modernisations, but in keeping with the original ethos.

This model is the 5.0L V8 version, and a later produced example which benefits from a better suspension and braking set-up. Finished in white, and looked after, it’s a lovely example for someone to enjoy as the warmer months are on us. Along with the low mileage and condition, it makes for an attractive purchase for a new owner.

 

WRITER

KABIR AKRAM
This auction listing was written from information supplied by Kabir after meeting Stuart 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. Stuart will receive a notification and will reply as soon as he can.



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