Classic sportscars can be quite a lot of fun. The best of them can transport you to a place in time unlike anything I can think of. The sounds and feel of driving one of these cars is a truly immersive experience.
That being said, these cars are not without their drawbacks. I drove my first Ferrari Daytona from Northern Virginia to Monterey in 2002 and will never forget how hot the car’s interior was once I got to Nebraska. The car was amazing, but driver comfort over long distances in the summer was something no one in Maranello considered when they designed the Daytona.
This is what makes more modern sports cars interesting to me. About six-years ago I bought a SL55 AMG and drove it in Monterey for car week. The car was extremely fast, fun to drive, elegant, and comfortable. The Daytona ticked three of those four boxes but was not comfortable.
The Mercedes was the perfect car to drive on the 17-mile drive to get my Pebble Beach credentials. I pressed at high speed over the challenging and fun Laureles grade shortcut from The Quail to the track, and made an impression when I parked on the street in downtown Monterey. The car did everything I asked from it and delivered in every way.
The most surprising thing was how fun it was to drive, even equipped with an automatic. It had just enough driver aids to be somewhat safe at the limit, but still letting you hang the tail out in the turns, while at the same time delivering an intoxicating exhaust note. The exciting factors were somewhat tuned down in the later SL63 AMG.
According to the seller, this SL55 has covered 45,199 miles from new and is described as an excellent example that includes the original owner’s manual and extensive maintenance records. These records are important as the SL55 is not a car that responds well to neglect and the service costs on these cars can be expensive, which is no surprise as when the car was new in 2007 it had a base price of $128,800.
My SL55 was a 2005 model, but this 2007 model had a few notable upgrades that make it better than mine. These include 17 more horsepower, as well as improvements to the steering and suspension that add to the sporty feel of the car. In 2007 Mercedes claimed a 0-60 mph time of a very conservative 4.5-seconds from the SL55. I say conservative as many magazines who tested the car saw a figure as low as 3.6-seconds when they tested it. The top speed is limited to 155 mph but can be increased to a remarkable 189 mph with a simple visit to your local Mercedes dealer.
Now for the best part; due to people’s somewhat accurate perception, especially with cars that have been abused, the SL55 remains one of the best bargains in a high-end modern sportscar. Keep in mind that if the top should fail that the bill to replace it could cost as much as $5,000. But even with expensive repairs factored in these cars are, in my opinion, seriously underpriced. Before handing over your hard-earned cash for one get a thorough pre-purchase inspection performed at a Mercedes specialist who is familiar with the SL55.
To illustrate how much of a deal these cars represent, this SL55 AMG is being offered for $38,995. This may seem high, as there are many that sell for as little as $20,000, but you never want to buy a car like the SL55 for the lowest price you see. This looks like a perfectly maintained example and is bound to deliver a decade or more of fun.
What the SL55 AMG does is give you a car that delivers a true supercar experience in an incredibly comfortable package.