A motoring icon and one of the most desirable classic sports cars from the 70s and 80s - a legendary 1979 Mercedes 450SL.
At a glance:
1979 Mercedes 450SL 4.5 litre V8 automatic
Originally a South African car, imported to the UK in 1997
Full photo documented bare metal restoration in 2002
Masses of service receipts and tens of thousands spent over the years
130,810 miles (210,519 kms)
Gleaming white bodywork
Black mohair hood, matching white hard top
Rare cream leather interior, including matching rear seats, with zebrano wood & olive green trim
MOT until January 2019.
Just serviced & ready for immediate use
The Mercedes-Benz SL, manufactured since 1954, derives from the German Sportlich-Leicht, ‘Sport Lightweight’. The SL designation was first applied to the 300 SL, often referred to as the "Gullwing" and has since spanned six design generations. These R107 versions featured contemporary styling, as penned by Joseph Gallitzendörfer and Friedrich Geiger and were produced by Mercedes-Benz from 1971 through to 1989, being the second longest single series Mercedes-Benz ever produced, after the G Wagen. They were sold under the SL (R107) model name as the 280SL, 300SL, 350SL, 420SL, 450SL, 500SL and 560SL. The R107 replaced the W113 ‘Pagoda’ SL-Class in 1971 and was replaced by the R129 SL-Class in 1989.
The R107 SL variant was a 2 seat convertible/roadster with standard soft top and optional hardtop and optional folding rear seats. Volume production of the first R107 (the 350 SL) started in April 1971 alongside the last of the W113 cars. From July 1974 the SL could also be ordered with a fuel-injected 2.8L straight six as the 280 SL. The final car of the 18 year running R107 series was a 500 SL painted Signal red, built on August 4, 1989; it currently resides in the Mercedes-Benz museum in Stuttgart.
These cars are from the era of legendary German engineering, optimum build quality and money no object attention to detail. Built in a time when Mercedes-Benz was truly and uniquely synonymous with “quality”. The R107 was the choice of the rich, famous, rogues and royalty alike and these cars still possess great charm, character and understated, refined class.
The history of this car:
This car was originally sold new in South Africa, signed out on 6/7/1979 and it was imported to the UK and registered on the 20th January 1997. In 2002 the car had a full bare metal restoration detailed in a photo album which accompanies the car. The log book shows a total of 5 previous owners since arrival in the UK. The car was most recently owned by a Doctor from Shepherd’s Bush who owned the car since 2013, having acquired it from a gentleman from Gloucester who owned the car since 2007.
The car is presented in desirable white with black mohair hood and matching white hard top, with unusual and rare cream leather upholstery and optional rear folding seats. The car has the deeper front air dam, which is an attractive option, along with five traditional Fuchs ‘Baroque’ (also known as ‘Mexican hat’) alloy wheels. It has zebrano wood trim, green accents, cream carpets and chrome detailing.
The car has covered 130,810 miles, an average of roughly 3354 miles per year. The car’s speedometer and odometer are still in km (currently showing 210,519km), but it’s easy to read your speed as 50km/h is 31mph, 70km/h is roughly 40mph and 110km/h is roughly 70 mph. However, if you would prefer a MPH speedo, I have one which can be fitted for you.
Masses of service history and receipts come with the car indicating this car has been pampered and fastidiously maintained over the years. There is also a photo album showing the bare metal restoration. There’s too much to list, but highlights include:
03/02 Bare metal restoration
09/05 Mercedes-Benz Newcastle: Service, MOT, power steering pump, steering box, seatbelt, various - £3630.68
01/08 Mercedes Specialist: major service, spark plugs, front wheel bearings - £834.75
11/08 Mercedes Specialist minor service - £178.24
12/09 Mercedes Specialist, Service, steering damper, new cylinder head gaskets, 2 exhaust manifolds, new timing chain - £2880.72
12/10 Mercedes Specialist Service and new dash bulbs - £373.88
05/11 New N/S window motor - £536.40
07/12 Mercedes Specialist, refurbish starter motor and ring gear - £1219.81
11/12 Mercedes Specialist Service - £206.66
12/13 Mercedes Specialist Service and repairs - £1441.08
11/14 Mercedes Specialist Service - £405.19
2015 Both sills, inside and out and boot floor replaced - £1000
2015 Mercedes Specialist Service & MOT - £434.52
2015 Mercedes-Benz: 2 new headlamp lenses, one new headlamp - £682.80
10/16 Mercedes Specialist: Service and new brake hoses & pipes and steering drag link - £994.96
01/18 MOT, 2 tyres, sundries and new battery - £343.50
03/18 Full service, new ignition leads and spark plugs - £226.90 + £135 parts
On the road:
This car drives exceptionally well for its age, a real grand tourer for effortless cruising, perhaps a jaunt to Le Mans, Monaco or Paris? These cars enjoy a cosseting ride superior to many much newer cars. The refined burble of the V8 makes this car a gentle giant and even after over almost 40 years, these cars can still outpace most modern traffic, are effortless to drive, and start and stop just as well as many modern luxury cars. The steering is also smooth and precise having benefitted from a new power steering box and pump in recent years. The sound of this car is extremely pleasurable, thanks in part to the stainless steel exhaust system which gives it a lovely exhaust note. The V8 rumble will be guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time to touch the accelerator. The car surges smoothly as it should and has reserves of power for effortless acceleration. According to official estimates, they can return around 20-22mpg which for a V8 engine of this size is pretty good. Even by modern standards this is a quality car and motoring legend. It still draws admiring glances wherever it goes and often starts many conversations.
This 450 SL was powered by a 4.5-litre (4520cc) V8 and the performance jump over earlier 350SL is considerable. The engine starts first time, roars into life, pulls strongly and provides a superb soundtrack to every journey. These engines can be everlasting if maintained with correct servicing.
The 3 speed automatic gearbox is very smooth and changes exactly as it should.
The car passed the last MOT only requiring two new rear tyres, and has an current MOT until January 2019. There is only one advisory on the current MOT; a slightly dim headlight, which is astonishing for a 39 year old car. Also, from 2019 this car will be MOT exempt. There are no current advisories for structural corrosion underneath, which is a very significant bonus as it can be the Achilles heel of this model, and very expensive to remedy.
The car has undergone a programme of re-commissioning recently with a new MOT (only required two tyres to pass) new battery, full service including new Beru ignition leads, new spark plugs, alternator belt and various other fettling to ensure that it is in tip-top mechanical condition.
The car is incredibly well made with a real German quality feel as you would expect from a Mercedes from the era of legendary build quality. Everything is solid and well-engineered, even 39 years after leaving the factory. The floor and structure are very sound, perhaps more solid than many other cars which may look shiny on the surface but hide significant corrosion underneath.
The soft top is in good condition with no rips or tears, the hood is not new but usable and the car also comes with the matching factory hard top in white.
There are no tears or rips in the seats, just a gentle patina of age with some light wear. The seats are still firm and amazingly comfortable.
In general, the only things which set the car apart from mint examples (other than the price) are mostly cosmetic. In my opinion, this is a good solid reliable classic, which with a bit of finessing, could be improved and this would significantly increase the value.
You can use it and drive it regularly as it is, or you may wish to return it to concours condition little by little.
The paint is a little flat in a few places and would benefit from a machine polish. There are also a couple of minor blisters and isolated rust spots here and there, but the overall impression is still very good.
The chrome bumpers are also in superb condition, which is an added bonus as the bumpers are astonishingly expensive to replace.
I was considering improving the paintwork prior to sale, but that would take time, and then there is the temptation to go on improving here and there. Instead I have chosen to sell the car ‘as is’ at a very realistic price point and the new owner may want to enjoy it as it is, or make cosmetic improvements. I am confident that for any £1000 spent, it would add least double that to the value of the car as there is plenty of headroom to add value. These cars have tripled in price over the last 5-10 years, and perfect examples now reaching over £60k. If you wanted to go for a full glass out respray you would expect to budget around £3k and you are most likely add double that figure to the value, but it is not essential, it depends on your preference.
The car cost around £30,000 new in 1979, whilst the average house price in 1985 was £35,000, so realistically that would make it roughly a £200,000 car in today’s terms. This car represents classic Germanic over-engineering back in a time when the emphasis was on quality rather than cost. When launched these cars cost almost twice the price of an e-Type. Now a nice early e-Type roadster will set you back at least £150k, whilst excellent SL models can be picked up for less than a quarter of that. That means the SL is still a bargain, and this means that surely prices will continue to rise.
According to Classic Car magazine: “The SL is starting to ascend in value and the days of grabbing a bargain are fast diminishing. Decent cars cost around £9000+ with good examples commanding £18,000 - £55,000+ depending upon spec and condition, although many specialists reckon this is just a guide and cars nudging £50,000 - £60,000 are becoming more common.” Many predict these cars are going to rise sharply in value over the coming years, as they have trebled in value in recent years. This car is £12,950 - a very fair price for a legendary automobile in such good, solid and readily useable condition.
This is a great example of the rare and desirable sporting classic, a really well-built and entertaining drop-top that puts a smile on your face every time you drive it. Even after 39 years it has a quality German car feel, drives exceptionally well and seems just as solid as the day it rolled off the production line. Perfect for making the most of those sunny days in the winter, or summer.
It draws admiring glances all the time, and is often a topic of conversation with people you meet when you park. It has oodles of charm, character and style. These cars are a worthwhile investment and are set to only increase in value as a modern classic and a motoring icon. Legendary build quality means that these cars, if maintained, will last forever and will continue to be a rapidly appreciating asset to enjoy.
Please feel free to call or email me for further information. I’m more than happy to have a chat about this wonderful car and you are welcome and positively encouraged to come to view. I hope you will appreciate that this is an honest car, honestly priced and honestly sold.