• Very recent gearbox refurb • Lots of history with the car • New soft top • New MOT but becomes tax and MOT exempt next year
Produced by Mercedes from 1971 all the way to the 1989 it became the second longest single run that Mercedes have ever done. Coming in many different variants ranging from the 280 SL all the way up to the crazy 560SL it was a very successful run and cemented the SL name in automotive history, a name that still lives on to this day. In the 18-year production run only 237,000 SL’s were built making them a rare sight on the UK roads today.
Having a look at the dealer stamps in service books and receipts we can build up a primitive history of whereabouts this car has been over the past 39 years. From delivery in 1981 up until 1990 it is hard to place where abouts the car is, but it may have started out around the Crawley area. In 1990 a stamp shows up in the service book to cement the fact that it has indeed been within Crawley, but it has only covered a few miles in those 9 years.
It quickly racks up a few more service stamps and then in 1997 it has moved down across to Surrey and finally moves into the London area in around 2018 when the current owner picks it up in August of 2020.
Since they have had the car the current owner has spent a lot of money putting little things right and although the MOT was not due he has now put a fresh MOT on the car this week. Some of the improvements include new bonnet silencers, new rear boot handle, Bluetooth radio, light bulbs, indicator stem, new battery, and a few other little bits. The majority of these were sourced from the SL Shop, a parts company that are specialists in old Mercedes SL’s.
There is a lot of paperwork that comes with this car which helps piece together its life on the roads. The service book that comes with the car starts out in 1990 which shows us that for the first 8 years of its life it did little annual mileage. This service book then brings us up to date in 2018 where the car had its service and there was the fitment of a renewed auxiliary belt and fan belt. Within the folder of paperwork, you will also see many original MOT certificates which is always nice to see that someone has kept this type of paperwork.
The number of receipts/invoices that come total thousands of pounds referencing how much previous owners have cared about keeping this elegant beast on the road. The current owner has recently spent a large amount of money on getting this car to their standard. It has just come back from the garage having gone through a gearbox rebuild, new rear drop links, a service and replacement of some brake pipes and hoses on the rear.
The new owner will be able to sit down a flick through all of the paperwork at their own leisure to see how much has been done on this car over the past 40 years.
The interior of any old Mercedes is such a glorious place to be, with big and comfortable leather seats, lots of chrome and wooden accents. For a few years this SL280 was sorn and during that period the owner at the time entered a small rolling restoration. During this time the interior was subject to a refurb which included new leather for both front and rear seats. It is thanks to this little restoration that the interior is now in such good condition. There are now no rips or tears on the seats of this car, which is hard to find on a 138,000-mile car.
The car has also had a new brown soft top fitted at some time so this now looks as good as the rest of the body. It does also come with the factory hard top, finished in the same sort of dark brown as the soft top roof. This part is probably one of the only pieces of the car that’ll need some work to sort out the corrosion on the corners and a new chrome bolt that secures the roof to the car will need to be sourced.
One other little piece in the interior that will need some attention is the oil pressure gauge, even when the car is off it points to 3. Apart from the small little issues on the interior it is still a lovely place to be, the seats are super comfortable and with the soft or hard top fitted you are able to use the car in all conditions.
The straight lines and big grill are iconic to these old Mercedes’ and this version is finished in a lovely light brown/champagne colour which is complimented by the dark brown soft and hard top. During the time the car was SORN it did undergo a full body respray and the paintwork is smooth to the touch even a few years later.
There are a couple of marks on this paint which are located on the front wheel arch and a tiny mark on the rear deck of the car, neither of these should be deal breakers as the rest of the exterior is in great condition.
The wiper blades that adorn the front headlights sadly don’t work. There may be a few little parts of the exterior that may not be up to the rest of the standard of the car, but these are only minor issues that are hard to spot and easy to put right.
A classic drop top Mercedes is a perfect combination of form and function and this early 80’s convertible will transport you back to better days when you stop and stare.
Like both the exterior and interior condition, the mechanical condition has also been lavished in as much care and attention. One selling point of an older Mercedes Benz is that the engines are usually as bullet proof as you can get, this one starts up nicely and runs smoothly.
There have been a couple of recent works that will ensure that the mechanical elements of this car live on for the next 40 years. These include a full service, a complete gearbox refurb, new brake pipes, drop links and a new kick down switch. These works now allow this car to drive in a smooth and modern way.
With the recent works that have been completed and looking at the partial service history it looks like this car has well and truly been looked after by all of the previous owners. The next owner will be getting a car that is almost perfect and ready for any adventure that they may want to do with it.
This is a great classic car that is already rather desirable and should continue to increase in value over the next few years. With the classic lines and great looks that this SL benefits from the next owner will look stylish wherever they go. The fact that you can use this car with the soft-top, hard-top or with the roof down you are getting three different types of cars in one which is incredible value for money.
As has been mentioned the older Mercedes’ are known for having a bulletproof engine, and it’s thanks to this that this SL280 should go on to live for many more years to come. It also has the added perk that it has just had its last MOT before it becomes tax and MOT exempt, a great added bonus for the next owner.
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