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Closed Auction- Unsold

1996 Mercedes-Benz SL320 (R129)

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  • Mileage~44,503
  • TransmissionAutomatic
  • Engine3.2L
  • LocationLymington


1996 Mercedes-Benz SL320 (R129)

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Darren Rungasamy
Automotive Editor, Photographer and Consigner

Hard to imagine these are ~30 years old and as a usable classic car, the R129 makes an excellent choice.

Mercedes-Benz has forged a reputation for longevity, thanks to their solid engineering and peerless build quality. Add in their virtues such as state-of-the-art technology, safety, comfort and power, it is not hard to understand why the SL continues to be a popular pick for those who appreciate open-top sporting virtues and luxury.

The R129 series is the 4th generation to carry the ‘Sport-Leicht’ badge, and when launched in 1989, boasted several innovative aspects. These included electronically controlled damping, an automatic roll-over bar, a hydraulic convertible top and the distinction of being the first passenger vehicle to incorporate the seat belts into the seats. The continuous development of the long-running R129 kept the model fresh with the 1996 facelift offering body colour bumpers, side airbags, a new style of wheel, clear front indicators and two vent holes on the front wings. The SL320 model hits a sweet spot in the SL line-up, offering reasonable running costs thanks to the 24-valve 3.2-litre straight-six with more than enough power to enjoy.

This 1996 "Brilliant Silver Metallic" SL320 with grey leather interior comes with its factory hardtop and retains much of its original specifications and fittings. It has seen 3 former keeper, displays a mileage of just over ~44,500 miles and comes to market from ~1.5 year ownership. Smartly presented throughout with a beautifully presented interior and the benefit of a recent service, new rear brakes and recent tyres, it comes with two keys, its digital "Go Card" and has an MOT to November 2024.

This listing was written from information supplied by Darren after meeting Alex the owner, and having visited and photographed the vehicle.

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Secure Auctions

We verify all our sellers and buyers to keep our community safe whilst also providing the highest levels of website security.

Full Transparency

8 out of 10 people that buy cars via our service don’t feel the need to visit due to the transparency and thoroughness of our listings.

Vehicle Delivery

We're there every step of your buying journey and will even arrange pick-up and delivery of your new vehicle.

Meet the owner

I’ve always wanted an SL from the 80s or 90s - loved the look of them ever since I was a kid.

Alex has fond memories of his Father's Mercedes’ when he was younger, with nostalgic appeal the SL was a natural choice for him. He tells us that it's a useable, reliable classic car - perfect in the summer with the roof down but can still do a long motorway run without missing a beat.

Initially used as a daily, he decided to protect the car over the winter months and only use it when the weather conditions were suitable. He considered placing the SL in storage but appreciated that it needed to be used regularly. The decision to sell was also sealed to free up capital to contribute towards a house renovation. Alex will be happy to answer any questions about the car in the comments section below.

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Elegantly presented, the positive condition of the exterior suggest it has been well looked after over the years.

Wheels and Tyres

The 12 spoke 16“ "Monkar" alloys are in presentable condition, with evidence of lacquer wear noted on the rims.

The car is fitted with 4 Tomket Sport tyres, all less than 2 years old and displays plenty of even tread. Take a look through the gallery to see the detail.


We didn't notice any significant blemishes on the bodywork, the panels are flush with even shut lines. There were no signs of panel damage, dents or corrosion. All doors open and close with reassurance, although the passenger door hinge emits a 'snap' noise when opening and closing. The car comes with its original factory hardtop, painted in matching colour as pictured.

Structurally the car is in very sound order, with no notable problems in terms of damage. The floor pan and boot floor are solid, with no issues observed on the suspension mounts. We've highlighted in more detail our observations through our high-resolution images and videos, so please take time to look through all the media files for a detailed view of what’s on offer, and for you to assess the condition of the car for yourselves.


The "Brilliant Silver Metallic" paint has a positive lustre, with a consistent colour match on all panels and no significant road wear or chips. The bonnet has a minor lacquer blemish, which Alex pointed out is the result of a recent reaction to bird dropping. There is also a minor paint drip mark on the offside front wing and the lightest of scuffs on both of the rear wings, but overall, there is not much that would distract you from the impressive presentation of the car.

The images are taken from a few different angles to show off the car as you would see it if you were standing there for yourselves. So please take the time to fully assess these high-resolution images and videos of the car, for you to make up your own minds about the condition of the paint.

Glass and Trim

The windscreen is free of chips, with minor signs of lamination damage noted to the edges. All of the other glass panels are in good shape. The lights and rear lenses are clean, with just a minor crack noted on the offside front indicator lens.

The rest of the body trim is in good shape, with some wear noted on the bonnet emblem. The bumpers and lower side panels are well-mounted and free of damage.


With grey leather and wooden veneer, the interior is a classy place to be and this one has been well kept.

Seats and Carpets

The grey leather seats are free from damage, with just the usual light wear on the driver seat bolster. Alex pointed out that all of the electrical seat functions work.

The carpets and mats are in good shape, with some minor signs of wear in the footwells but all free of dampness, including the boot item.


The dashboard is in excellent condition, well above the expectations of a car of this age. We didn't notice any damage on the veneer, the controls are all functional with no significant wear noted on the switches. The binnacle is in great order and the dials are fully legible.

The car has a period Pioneer Multi-CD/Tape head unit, and corded Motorola car phone that wasn't tested. The soft top headlining is in decent shape, with no major marks noted on the door cards or interior trim.

Steering Wheel / Gear Stick

A simple affair given the advanced for the time technology the car came with, the steering wheel and gear lever are in good condition with very little in terms of marks or wear noted.


The smooth refined 3.2L straight-six is only bettered by its driving manners.

Engine and Gearbox

The engine fired up readily and idled smoothly with a regular tone and no hiccups. The dashboard warning lights remained off after the start-up. The exhaust remained smoke-free. The 3.2L M104 straight-six power plant presented neatly, with evidence of regular maintenance. We noted decent hoses and no signs of water leaks or ingress. There were no other fluid leaks noted on the day, although the sump guard showed minor patches.

The 5-speed auto gearbox operates as expected with no reported issues, the gears engage with no delay and the kick-down felt positive. Watch the video to see the car in motion and hear how it performs too.

Suspension and Brakes

The suspension felt taut with a firm and stable ride, it never pulled to the sides and no clunking was heard during the test-drive.

The car brakes evenly, with no unwanted vibrations, squeals or judders noted at any point. The car saw front wheel alignment, new front lower wishbone arms and new rear pads/discs in 2023.

The Drive

The SL, by default, is a supremely comfortable and reassuring driving experience. Of all the R129 series of SLs, the SL320 has the best reputation for dependability and this car is no exception.

The familiar and proven straight-six engine has more than enough power in the real world and pulls smoothly with no drama. It cruises beautifully, the long straight roads of the New Forest offered us a glimpse of the SL’s touring potential.

It handles without unwanted leaning and tucks into the corners neatly with plenty of confidence and no negative steering feel, which is no doubt supported by Mercedes' robust engineering. Alex has been very happy with the reliability of the car and has not experienced any issues regarding the oil pressure or engine temperature.

Electrics and Other

The soft top is free of damage with no ingrained outdoor elements. The power hood for the soft-top operates without any issues, there were no strains or complaints from the electric motors. The pop-up roll-over hoop is also functional. It also has its body colour factory hardtop, it's in good condition with no significant signs of age. With regards other electric elements etc, all are in working order to the knowledge of Alex.

History and Paperwork

Coming to market from ~1.5 year ownership, just 3 former keepers, this low mileage example was serviced last year and is ready for the summer.

First registered in November 1996, it is believed to have been ordered for use as a diplomat car when new. The vehicle comes with invoices for its last three services, all of its MOT certificates and recent evidence of maintenance work including new rear pads and discs, recent tyres, suspension components and paintwork to the bonnet.

There are also older copies of its V5, which help trace its provenance and its comprehensive MOT documents that can verify its genuine mileage.

It was last serviced in August 2023, has an MOT to November 2024, and comes with two keys and a digital "Go Card".

We’ve done all our usual seller checks including photo ID, V5 and also actioned an HPI check on the vehicle.

We've summarised our own view on the car based on information gained from the seller in the listing above, however, as you can see, we go to great lengths to photograph and video the car in hi-resolution detail - this has been done for you to make your own assessment from the comfort of your sofa. So please sit back, have a cuppa and take your time to review everything on this listing in order to make your own assessment of the vehicle's condition. Viewings are also welcomed with all our listings, so please get in touch with us to arrange a suitable time - we just need to speak to you first and receive a valid photo ID before confirming.

If there's anything you're unsure about, no matter how small, then please first ask the owner in the comments area below before placing your bids, as bids can't be retracted and form a binding contract if you win the car - just like a traditional auction house.

Alex will be happy to answer any questions about the car in the comments section below.

Service History
Date Type Mileage
28-11-2023 MOT 42,147
18-08-2023 Oil Service
07.06.2023 Bonnet Paint
17-11-2022 MOT 38,024
25-06-2021 MOT 37,926
14-12-2020 MOT 37,910
18-12-2019 MOT 37,759
17-12-2018 MOT 37,282
07-12-2017 MOT 37,038
14-12-2016 MOT 36,198
30-11-2015 MOT 35,506
30-11-2014 Oil Service 34,402
15-12-2014 MOT 34,395
09-12-2013 MOT 32,752
12-12-2012 MOT 31,003
29-11-2011 Full Service 29,658
28-11-2011 MOT 29,651
06-12-2010 MOT 27,309
03-12-2009 MOT 25,526
06-02-2009 Oil Service 23,570
16-12-2008 MOT 23,374
11-09-2006 MOT 21,356
29-09-2005 MOT 19,821
08-10-2004 MOT 18,885
09-10-2003 MOT 16,953
30-08-2002 MOT 15,122
11-01-2001 MOT 12,361
14-01-2000 MOT 9,652
Key Details
  • ModelSL320 (R129)
  • Transmission5-Speed Automatic
  • Reg. Date29-11-1996
  • CC3,199
  • Mileage~44,503
  • HistoryRecent
  • ColourBrilliant Silver Metallic (744U)
  • Interior ColourGrey (268A)
  • Interior TrimLeather
  • Chassis #WDB1290632F146250
  • Engine #10499122024907
  • Last Service18-08-2023
  • RestoredNo
  • Engine RebuildNo
  • MOT27-11-2024
  • MOT ExemptNo
  • Road Tax ExemptNo
  • HPi ClearYes - All clear
  • Former Keepers3
  • Tyre BrandTomket Sport
  • Tyre Age2022
  • Security SysBattery Alarm and Immobiliser
  • # of Keys2
  • VisitedYes
  • Sale TypePrivate
  • Owned1.5 years
  • Key FeatureGreat condition & low mileage
  • Auction ID1941

Auction Closed

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This car didn't meet its reserve price and may soon be available as a private sale - please contact us for more information.

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