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HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL affordably priced

Pick of the Day: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL affordably priced

These SL models have never hit their stride as collector cars and sell at bargain prices

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Mercedes-Benz brought back its greatest post-war nameplate, the 300SL, when it completely revamped its 2-seat sport/luxury cars for 1990, bestowing the title on the inline-6 version, as opposed to 500SL for the V8 cars.

The Pick of the Day is a 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL convertible described as being in near-perfect factory condition and driven only 37,000 miles, mainly by the first of its three owners, according to the Reno, Nevada, private seller advertising the car on ClassicCars.com

As well as low mileage, this Mercedes has what seems like a low asking price of $15,500.  But that’s not too surprising as these 6-cylinder convertibles dwell in the bargain basement of collector cars for whatever reason, never having achieved much of a following.

Mercedes, Pick of the Day: 1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL affordably priced, ClassicCars.com Journal
1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL

I find this perplexing.  These are truly lovely grand touring cars featuring a load of significant features, such as adjustable suspension, full-luxury interiors and “pop-up” roll bars that deploy in the event of a rollover accident.

Yet according to the Hagerty value guide, a 1991 300SL in average #3 condition is worth under $10,000, putting it in the territory of much-lesser sports cars.  Ones in excellent #2 condition – which I believe would include this Mercedes – rise to only $22,400.  And a totally dolled-up concours example would command just $32,400.

That’s totally chump change for such a fine GT. I would assume that the more-powerful V8 models get the bids, but they fare only slightly better, according to Hagerty.  In my view, these late-century Mercedes SLs are forgotten gems, way undervalued for what they are. 

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL engine

Mercedes has produced the SL-Class (SL standing for Sport Leicht, or Sport Lightweight in English) since the 1950s, and the attractive new R129 models for the ‘90s were designed to replace the popular R107 design that had carried through from 1972.

The 300SL, by the way, gets 228 horsepower out of its dual-overhead-cam 6, which seems like enough, and there are the somewhat rare examples that were ordered new with 5-speed manual transmissions. Most, like this one, are equipped with automatics.

These Mercedes were faulted at the time for being overweight and not nearly sporty enough, but when I did road tests in a number of them back then, I found them to be quite appealing.  I like their wedgy styling, overall drivability, excellent build quality and supreme comfort.

This Mercedes seems like quite a find despite its apparent lack of collectability. The seller describes it as being in “impeccable condition.”

“There isn’t a ding, scratch or chip on the car,” the seller says.  “The car was always garaged and never driven in the snow. Hard top and new soft top. AMG wheels, European headlamps and new set of extra floor mats still in the plastic… otherwise fully loaded as were all the SLs. 

1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL interior

“The car was purchased new by wealthy business owner in Connecticut and later shipped to his home in Palm Beach. It was purchased by a high-end car trader who did not drive car and it was subsequently purchased by me in 2014 for our collection.”

The 300SL has been regularly serviced by a certified Mercedes technician, the seller notes, and presents pretty much like a new car, ready for its next luxurious road trip. 

The $15,500 asking price still seems low considering the car’s stated condition. The bright-red color is not ideal, these Mercedes looking more attractive in neutral shades, but that would not be a deal breaker.

“You will find other 300SLs for less money, but none in the condition of this car with these miles,” the seller notes.    

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

Hagerty
Bob Golfen
Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Hi, I am not a serious car collector or expert in any way.

    You describe the Mercedes might have looked better in a neutral shade of paint.

    What would that be?

    Thank you

  2. I have a bright red Mercedes 350 SLK from 2007. I love the car and would not want it in a “neutral” shade. It too is in perfect condition — low miles; always garaged. At 270 horsepower and with a manual 6 speed, it can really roll! As to its value…no respect. Probably around $15K. I have the original sticker at $60,000. I don’t get why these great little Mercedes go for so little money. Mine is not for sale so it really does not matter to me. A good one is the best buy out there!

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