A motoring icon and one of the most desirable classic sports cars from the 70s and 80s - a legendary 1987 Mercedes 560SL.
At a glance:
1987 Mercedes 560SL 5.6 litre V8 automatic
Originally a Californian car, imported to the UK in 2015, improved and lovingly converted to European specification.
Only two owners; one in the US from new in 1987 to 2015, and one in the UK
Masses of service receipts with all original documentation
Only 76,126 miles
Gleaming smoke silver bodywork
Dark brown mohair hood, matching smoke silver hard top
Rare Palomino tan leather interior
Will come with new 12 month MOT
Will be 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.
Introduced from September 1985, the 560SL wasn't available in the UK, but many were sold outside of Europe in the USA, Japan and Australia. 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 brand new in California for $57,137 (including $1300 'gas guzzler' tax) in February 1987, after leaving the German Mercedes-Benz factory in December 1986.
The car spent it's life in the exclusive 'upscale' Pacific Palisades district of Los Angeles, to the west of Hollywood and Beverly Hills, on the coast between Santa Monica and Malibu. The car had only one owner from new until 2015 when it was sold by his son to the current owner, who spends time in both the UK and USA. The original window sticker is in the history file, showing all the options the car had when new, plus the letter of origin sent by Mercedes. The car has a huge history file backing up its 76,126 miles from new with all its service books and original documentation present.
Once purchased in 2015 the car underwent a comprehensive programme of improvement at a Californian mechanics' workshop replacing the camshafts and many engine parts. The car was then shipped into the UK in 2016. All UK taxes and import duty were paid and subsequently the car was allocated a 1987 age related UK 'D' prefix registration number with the date of 31st December 1987. The UK registration date was 1st July 2016.
Once in the UK and correctly registered, the car was then sent for further improvement including replacing the engine mounts, ball joints, exhaust, bushes and having the radio repaired. Next, the car underwent conversion back to European specification; removal of the boot mounted third brake light, replacing the (huge and ugly) US style double width bumpers with brand new SL shop supplied European single chrome versions and replacement of the US style twin headlamps with European single lenses. Those of you who are familiar with the R107 will appreciate the considerable expense which has been spent on this car. Finally, there was some interior trim work; the seats were in superb condition but a little out of shape, so they were restitched by Baggs of Bournemouth, plus the installation of a new electric aerial.
All of this has resulted in a very rare car: One owner for the vast majority of its life, low mileage (rare in the US) extensive detailed full service history (again, rare in the US) and devoid of the ugly bumpers and lights which blighted the original design to satisfy US legislation, and now presented in fully European style, with the benefit of having spent its life in a hot dry climate. It represents the best of all worlds...
The car is presented in desirable 'smoke silver metallic' (paint code 702) complemented by optional tan 'Palomino' leather upholstery, with a dark brown mohair hood and matching smoke silver hard top. The car has the deeper front air dam, which is an attractive option, along with five, sixteen hole, flat face alloy wheels. It has walnut trim, black and tan dash, sand/brown carpets and rare genuine raffia over-mats with chrome detailing throughout. It's a very nice place to be. The R107 from 1986 until 1989, the last few years of production, were much improved on the pre-1986 cars having better paint protection, wax injected chassis cavities and galvanising. Most people appreciate that the cars from 1986 onwards are the ones to have, and accordingly they enjoy a premium value over early models.
The car has covered 76,126 miles, an average of roughly 2,375 miles per year over its 32 year life.
Masses of service history and receipts come with the car indicating this car has been pampered and fastidiously maintained by its two owners over the years. There is an absolute mountain of paperwork which shows every service, repair and improvement carried out, up until the present date.
On the road:
This car drives exceptionally well, a real grand tourer for effortless cruising - perhaps ideal for a jaunt to Le Mans, Monaco or Paris? These cars enjoy a cosseting ride superior to many much newer cars. The refined burble of this large capacity V8 makes this car a gentle giant and even after over 30 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. The sound of this car is extremely pleasurable with 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. Even by modern standards this is a quality car and motoring legend and draws admiring glances wherever it goes.
This 560SL is powered by the top of the range 5.6 litre (5549cc) V8 and the performance jump over the smaller engines is considerable, with 227 BHP in a car which weighs only just over 1600kg, or less with the steel hardtop removed. The engine starts first time, roars into life, pulls strongly and provides a superb soundtrack to every journey. These under-stressed engines can be everlasting if maintained with correct servicing, as this one has been.
The 4 speed automatic gearbox is very smooth and changes exactly as it should.
The car currently has an MOT until 1st September 2020 with no advisories, and will be supplied with a new 12 month MOT, if sold within in the UK.
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, and very much in the condition it was when it left the factory 32 years ago.
The condition of this car is superb and it is hard to find anything detrimental or negative about this wonderful example. I'm quite critical as regards the condition, and I'm struggling to find any faults with it. The eagle-eyed amongst you will have noted the front fog lights are missing, but they will be fitted prior to collection.
Really, the only true way to get a genuine impression of how wonderful this car is will be to come to see it in the flesh. Even if you have to travel some distance, it will be worth the journey.
The car cost the equivalent of around £40,000 new in 1987, whilst the average house price in 1985 was £35,000, so realistically that would make it roughly a £300,000 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 originally launched these cars cost almost twice as much as 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. Entry level 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 £28,950 - a very fair price for a legendary automobile with a superb history, unusual specification, and in such exemplary condition.
This is a superb example of the increasingly 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 33 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's rare to find one in this condition, having benefited from huge care and investment over the years. California cars tend to be rust free, and therefore last longer then their UK counterparts, the benefit of spending all its time in a dry, hot climate.
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.