A magnificent Mercedes Benz SL, from the era of legendary Mercedes build quality.
At a glance:
- Mercedes 300SL-24, 3 litre six cylinder automatic
- Totally original specification
- Nautic blue metallic, cream leather, blue soft top & blue hard top
- 136,855 miles
- Full Mercedes service history to 91,784 miles (18 Stamps) and then various subsequent services, last serviced in August 2017
- MOT to April 2021 with no advisories
This is a magnificent Mercedes-Benz; German over-engineering from the time when Mercedes-Benz built cars to the ultimate specification, rather than to a budget. The R129 SL class, was a beautifully engineered and very expensive sports convertible. In its day was probably the best engineered sportscar money could buy. The R129 models replaced the R107 models after 1989.
The 1989 Mercedes-Benz SL was a revolution for its maker. At a stroke, it banished the 1970s styling of its predecessor, it favour of an up-to-the-minute look overseen by Bruno Sacco. It was such a successful styling job, that the R129 remained in production for more than a decade, and still looked fresh at the end of its life. But the SL's beauty was more than skin deep - it was packed with technology.
Alongside the power-operated roof, it featured and dual-range four-speed automatic gearbox. Passenger safety moved to another level, thanks to a pop-up roll-over bar, that reacted within milliseconds of an impending roll-over, and a profusion of airbags and traction/stability systems. Six-cylinder 300 has either 190bhp or 231bhp in 24-valve twin-cam form; the 500 packed a 32-valve 326bhp V8. Unlike earlier SLs, these cars have the performance to be considered proper sports cars.
The history of this car:
The car was first registered on the 10th of September 1990 to a Mr Nolan of Canford Cliffs, Bournemouth, and has had 8 owners spanning 27 years and 1 month. The last registered keeper collected a number of classic cars, SLs, 911s and so on in his barn, but due to an imminent barn conversion, had to reduce his collection. The car was last on the road in 2013, and after a period in dry storage has been serviced, MOT’d (passed first time with no advisories) and has been undergoing a process of gentle re-commissioning.
This car is the 300SL- 24in Nautical Blue metallic blue “Nautikblau” (paint code 929, used from 1985 to 1994), coupled with a cream leather interior with walnut trim. A very pleasing colour combination.
According to online sources, there are only 454 of these 300SL-24 models still taxed on UK roads, which means this car is increasingly rare and desirable.
This car has covered a low 136,855 miles (at time of writing) which seems commensurate with the minimal wear and good condition, indicated also by previous MOTs from every year between 2006 at 114,884 miles to 2017 at 135,573 miles. This is an average of roughly 5,100 miles per annum.
Last service was in August 2017 and there is the original service history book with 18 stamps from Mercedes Benz up to 91,784. The condition of the interior and mechanicals suggest that this is a car that has been cherished and cared for over the years.
The car will be serviced prior to collection by the new owner.
On the Road:
These cars drive exceptionally well, even after 27 years, which is testament to their superb build quality. The car starts swiftly and reliably, and cruises well, effortlessly wafting along to the muted burble from the engine. The automatic gearbox changes as expected and operates smoothly. The car has a very solid German feel and is very engaging to drive, whilst easily keeping up with modern traffic. The speedometer appears accurate and the car is capable of covering long journeys with ease. It’s a very pleasing experience driving a car of this quality on either short or long journeys. The steering is precise yet light and the engine is responsive and packs a punch when required.
These modern classic convertibles are great for long distance touring, day to day travelling or occasional jaunts on fine days. They draw admiring glances and are still widely recognised as an extremely desirable sports car. The seats are comfortable and supportive, suspension is very smooth and the car is a joy to own and enjoy. These cars can be used for everyday commuting if required, or just for pleasure as a weekend treat - by being capable of either these cars are the best of both worlds.
Original engine line-up spanned six cylinders and a V8 version. Of the six cylinder 3 litre engines, there were two variants; the standard 300SL 12 valve and this 300SL-24 with 24 valves and increased power output. The 300 SL-24 featured the M104 3.0L 24-valve DOHC inline six giving 231hp as opposed to the 190hp of the standard 300SL. There was also the 500SL 5 litre V8, which had quite a thirst. Subsequently Mercedes expanded the engine range to the SL280 2.8 litre six, SL320 3.2 litre six, SL500 5 litre V8 and SL600 6 litre V12. Of the lineup, the 300SL-24 had the best balance between power and economy at the time, and is the most desirable engine from this era of production.
The engine fires up as expected and runs very smoothly at the correct temperature with perfect oil pressure; (3 bars cold idle, 3 bars under acceleration/load and 2 bars on hot idle).
The gearbox is four speed switchable automatic. It changes gear smoothly and quietly and performs as it should.
Sold with MOT until April 2021 with no advisories.
The car will be having the 3 clear windows in the soft top professionally replaced due to age & cloudiness. The cloth hood is in good condition, as is the matching hard top. The interior is in very good condition for the age of the car, with no significant wear or damage. As can be seen from the photographs the car is very clean, tidy and well presented. It’s always difficult to express in words the condition of any car, and most people have differing opinions about condition, so the best way to get a true impression will be to view this lovely car in person. I’m confident that anybody with realistic expectations will be delighted to own and enjoy this modern classic.
The original price of these cars was eye-wateringly high, largely due to the high build costs and the over engineering which built Mercedes’ reputation for quality. The new price for the 300SL-24 in 1991 was £54,460, and if you consider the average UK house price was £59,785 in 1990, that was an awfully large sum of money to spend on a car. These cars are appreciating in value from around £3,000 for an example requiring repairs and restoration, up to an astonishing £35,950 for a 20,278 mile mint example currently being offered for sale by a classic car dealer on eBay.
The general value range for these cars in good, road worthy and presentable condition with sensible mileage and long MOT is £4,000 - £7,500. However, this car is offered to sell swiftly at a tempting £4450.
This is really attractive ‘feel good’ modern classic, being practical, durable and hugely enjoyable. Prices are rapidly appreciating and the R129 is starting to rise in value as it predecessor the R107 model has done. There are fewer ‘good ones’ left, so this is a rare and exciting opportunity. These R129s aren’t quite as ‘classic looking’ and chrome laden as the R107, but they are infinitely easier to use as an everyday car, the driving experience is far improved, equaling that of modern cars today, and they represent better value for money. They also tend not to suffer with the same structural rust issues which can blight and limit the lifespan of the previous model.
MotorSport magazine in 1991 described this car as “…the finest of 2+2s, one that pampers its owner beyond belief… and yet remains fun to hustle in an ungentlemanly manner. Truly the 1989 debutante 300SL-24 should be renamed 300TLS or ‘touring luxury sport’ as comfortable speed is its apparent priority”
These cars were the preserve of royalty, celebrity and the very well-to-do, and now all of that heritage, prestige and luxury can be had for less than a tenth of the original cost when new, or for less than a set of four new alloy wheels for the current model SL!