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.
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.
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.
“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.