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CURRENT BID: £13,250
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1983 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

Guide Price: £10,000 - £14,000


﹒Unrestored 280SL in unspoilt condition
﹒Some minor cosmetic TLC required
﹒Comes with ultra-rare windbreak, spare hardtop and other parts
﹒Desirable factory rear seat

The Background

Dallas, Miami Vice, Hart-to-Hart and Beverly Hills Cop – all iconic TV series and films of the 1980s and all united by one thing – the Mercedes-Benz R107SL.

Introduced in 1972, the classic slab-sided sports car became an icon of its era – a symbol of wealth and good taste and one of the most aspirational cars money could buy, hence why it was a regular on the boulevards of Hollywood.

It was a strong seller in the UK, too, with a showroom life of almost 18 years, its comfort, solidity, sturdiness and mechanical longevity making it one of the most desirable touring cars of its era.

It had a very advanced roof system for its era, whereby the retractable soft top could be folded down and stored under a tonneau cover and the hardtop fitted on top for use over winter, which in many ways made the SL one of the first-ever coupé-cabriolets. 

This example is a 280SL, using the venerable 2,778cc inline-six that was one of the most reliable and dependable power-plants ever made by Mercedes. The car is offered for sale in a good overall condition, which the vendor believes makes it the perfect basis to either take to the next level and make into a show car, or simply use as is a stylish, handsome and good-looking everyday classic. 

It is also finished in a striking colour combination – red with cream MB Tex interior – and comes with some very desirable extras including a factory option windbreak, a spare hardtop that’s stripped and ready to be painted, a sill section and new rubber seals.

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The History

The vendor bought the car about four years ago and has recently returned it to the road after a lay-up. Indeed, the MOT history shows very little use over the past decade, during which time the car has covered less than 6,000 miles. 

For its last MOT he attended to a few bits of bodywork and also had the car fully serviced ready for sale.

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The Paperwork

Quite a bit of paperwork is included with the R107 to back up its recent history and a good record of general maintenance throughout its life. It also comes with a V5C in the name of the vendor and a current MOT valid through to November 2021.

Also included are the original owners handbook and Blaupunkt radio cassette manual. Although the original service book is missing, there’s sufficient paperwork and receipts to show that the car has always been properly service, most recently in November last year.

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The Interior

It’s the cabin of this R107 that’s very much its standout feature – finished in cream MB Tex (Mercedes’s patented ‘leather-look’ upholstery) with wood inserts, it’s in fine order right down to its period Blaupunkt radio-cassette player, which still works perfectly. 

The seats are in good order with no damage and both the dash and the carpets are in good order, with only small signs of age-related wear.

In the boot, the car retains its full Mercedes tool kit, with metric hand tools in a cloth tool roll, a scissor jack and also an unopened factory first aid kit. Also in the boot are a selection of spare parts including new door rubbers and a highly desirable dealer-option windbreak, which is sought after among SL fans.

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The Exterior

On first sight, this is a stunning car. The red paintwork has aged well, and it still looks classy on its iconic ‘Mexican Hat’ alloys. 

It’s not perfect, though, and the vendor is very open about this. There’s some bubbling under the paint above both headlights, a small rust bubble on one wheel arch and it has been welded in the past, with repairs carried out to the sills and front floors. 

The vast majority of it looks great, though, and it’s certainly a car that will still turn heads. 

It comes with its original hardtop, though this is suffering quite badly from corrosion around its lower reaches (a fairly common issue, especially when R107s have been left standing with the hardtop attached) and while it looks presentable from a distance, it will need repair or replacement soon. Unfortunately, the roof cable was broken on our photography shoot, so we couldn’t take pictures of it with the top down! The vendor is including a much better replacement roof in the sale, which is the wrong colour but has already been stripped back ready for painting.

The soft-top is serviceable but not great. It keeps the rain out, but it has a split in the canvas and two of the windows are cracked. It could be repaired by a trimmer, but replacing it may be easier. 

The hood tray, which is a common R107 grot spot, is superbly solid with no signs of rust.

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The Mechanics

The SL has recently been given a full service and is in apparently good mechanical health. It sounds good, it starts on the button and both idles and revs smoothly.

The vendor reports that it drives very well indeed and that the auto box changes smoothly through all of the gears.

There is a blow from the exhaust, but the main part of the system looks to be in good order and the blow quietens as the car warms up, suggesting that the leak is from the front part of the pipe.

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The Appeal

With SL Pagoda prices heading for the stratosphere it’s only a matter of time before the R107 series of SL starts to go the same way – especially unspoilt and standard examples. 

This one has huge potential as a car that can be improved and brought up to show standard while also being used on a daily basis. 

It’s a smart and good-looking example with a superb interior and excellent options, such as the rear seat and the dealer-fit windbreak. It needs some work, but nothing pressingly urgent. It has a long MoT, appears to be mechanically fit and healthy and would be a sensible future investment as well as a usable and enjoyable classic for the upcoming summer.

Notice to bidders

Although every care is taken to ensure this listing is as factual and transparent as possible, all details within the listing are subject to the information provided to us by the seller. Car & Classic does not take responsibility for any information missing from the listing. Please ensure you are satisfied with the vehicle description and all information provided before placing a bid.

As is normal for most auctions, this vehicle is sold as seen, and therefore the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. All bids are legally binding once placed. Any winning bidder who withdraws from a sale, is subject to our bidders fee charge. Please see our FAQs and T&C's for further information. Viewings of vehicles are encouraged, but entirely at the sellers discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1983
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 280SL
  • Colour Red
  • Odometer 103,999 Miles
  • Engine size 2746
  • Location London
Bidding history
30 bids
  • Vo•••• £13,250 12/03/21
  • ph•••• £13,000 12/03/21
  • Vo•••• £12,750 12/03/21
  • ph•••• £12,500 12/03/21
  • Vo•••• £12,250 12/03/21
  • ph•••• £12,000 12/03/21
  • Ne•••• £11,750 12/03/21
  • Vo•••• £11,500 12/03/21
  • Ne•••• £11,250 12/03/21
  • Ne•••• £11,000 11/03/21

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