Later Mercedes 300SL makes the million-dollar difference

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The 300SL looks to be in very good condition

Many
of us in the collector car hobby have dreamed of owning a Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
They simply amazing, combining striking styling and world class performance
with best-in-the-world build quality.

There
is a problem, though:  a classic Mercedes
300SL roadster or Gullwing coupe from the 1950s or early ’60s is likely to cost
more than a million dollars these days.

Mercedes
The Mercedes has been driven fewer than 50,000 miles

Well,
there is another Mercedes 300SL that can be bought for around 1/100 of the cost
of the classic model, a 300SL roadster from the early 1990s.

These the same basic cars as the 500SL or 600SL of the period, built on the R129 chassis, except they are powered by 3.0-liter inline-6 engines instead of the V8 or V12 engines, respectively, of their big brothers. Remember that it was an inline 6 that powered the classic 300SL.

The Pick of the Day is  a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300SL finished in Arctic White with a grey leather interior roadster located in Costa Mesa, California.

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The 300SL is a luxurious grand touring car

This 300SL has only covered 46,902 miles from new and is in immaculate, according to the dealer advertising the car on ClassicCars.com. The many pictures seem to justify this, showing a car that looks close to new.

The
only flaw I saw was a slight scuff on the rear bumper. The interior looks to be
as new, with excellent seat leather and nice wood trim.

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When new, the 1990 300SL sold for the staggering price of $70,000, which was around $12,000 less than the 500SL. What you lost in the bargain was the 5.0-liter 32-valve V8 under the hood, and that’s about it. The 300SL had a 0-60 time in 8.4 seconds compared with the 6.4 second time of the 500SL. The 300SL tops out at 140 mph versus 155 mph for the 500SL.

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The interior i richly finished in leather and wood

All
of the superior build quality and options also were present in the 300SL. In
addition, the 300SL feels lighter and is a bit more sporting to drive on a
twisty road.

A key consideration with these Mercedes roadsters is that they need to have been properly cared for. They were technologically advanced for the time, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong with one.  A prospective buyer should have any R129 roadster completely vetted by a Mercedes mechanic before buying one.

This
300SL is advertised for the fair price of $11,990.

As
a bonus feature, owning the car would mean you honestly could tell your friends
that you have a Mercedes 300SL in the garage.

To view this listing on ClassicCars.com, see Pick of the Day.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Where is the factory aluminum hardtop? I recently sold a very clean ‘92 500 SL in the same color white with grey leather, 83,000 actual miles for $11,900. with the factory hard top and new MB installed soft top. Be aware, the 12 hydraulic micro cylinders that operate the ‘automatic’ one-button top can be an expensive repair. They can be ‘rebuilt’ by a few hydraulic service shops. Some of the replacement parts for the R129 can be quite pricey. They are wonderful drivers when properly sorted out.

    • I sold my 1990 500SL RHD w/32,000 orig. mi. when I left Australia in 2017. Original sticker price was AU$250,000!
      The refurb for the soft top hydraulic system isn’t bad. the big problem is that a fair bit of plastic was used for interior trim and is now disintegrating. It took me three months to find the last ‘Factory New’ passenger seatbelt left in the universe in color Royal Blue. Cost was $1,279 w/o installation. Auto-level sensor was $1300…etc. BUT… not much beats the power and sound of the quad cam 5 liter motor with the top down!

  2. Actually, the 1998 SLK 230 is an even better choice and closer to the spirit of the Gullwing. These hardtop convertibles are light and quick with supercharged engines.

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