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1987 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL

Guide Price: £26,000 - £30,000


﹒Desirable Impala Brown paintwork
﹒Huge history file
﹒Beautiful condition inside and out
﹒Very smooth runner, looked after by The SL Shop

The Background

With the R107 SL running for so many years (from 1971-89), it was inevitable that certain evolutions would take place along the way, and the third-generation cars built from 1985 onward are, to some collectors and enthusiasts, the ultimate manifestation of the breed. While most of the specs were carried over from previous years, the third-gen cars had additional body stiffening and internally reprofiled wings to accommodate bigger wheels and tyres; the larger chin spoiler is the biggest visual clue, and the eagle-eyed may spot that the SL now had heated twin washer nozzles. The front suspension was updated and had a thicker anti-roll bar, and in the case of the car we have here, there was the new-for-1985 M103 engine, the 3.0-litre straight-six creating a new model variant – the 300 SL – to replace the outgoing 280 SL. With 187bhp on tap it was ready to cruise and, as you can see, there was a whole world of paint and trim options beyond the usual black, red or silver…

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The History

This R107 stands out among its peers for the near-unique fact that its provenance can be traced back to the start. With only two owners before the current one, all of its history is well documented. The original owner bought the 300 SL on May 6th 1987, always having it serviced at the original garage (albeit with a couple of name changes, as the paperwork shows), and kept it until April 1999 at which point it was passed down to his daughter-in-law. While the first owner had used it as his everyday car and fitted the hard-top throughout the winter, the second used the SL more as a fun plaything and never actually fitted the hard-top, keeping it in storage on a stand. She kept enjoying the car until 2013 until, her children being too big to practically fit in the back, the decision was made to sell to the current owner. He’s lavished untold care and attention upon the SL since, having it fastidiously maintained by The SL Shop. It’s an honest and decent car with a fully provable history.

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The Paperwork

The original service book is present, showing dealer stamps throughout the first owner’s time with the car; after that point it was serviced by an independent. There’s a large sheaf of receipts and invoices showing all the work that’s been carried out on the car. We can see, for example, that in 2001 the rear seats were fitted by O’Keeffe Coachtrimming, as had been recommended to the then-owner by The Mercedes-Benz Club, and later that same year the same person fitted a brand new soft-top. In 2013, some welding was carried out to the nearside front and offside rear wheelarches by a man with the no-nonsense name John the Welder. More recently, receipts from The SL Shop record many thousands of pounds having being spent by the current owner, including a replacement radiator and attention to the brakes and exhaust, subframe mountings, battery tray, and much more besides. All of the old MOTs are present, along with further documentation showing that the car used to wear the cherished registration 982 CHY. We also find that over £1,600 was spent at the start of this year with marque specialist Steve Redfearn, which included fitting a replacement camshaft and new hydraulic lifters.

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The Interior

The interior of this SL is in beautiful condition. The seats show very minimal wear and tilt correctly, and the carpets are in very good order. There are no cracks in the dash-top, and all of the wood trim is superb with no signs of peeling or cracking. It’s evident that this car has spent most of its life being garaged, and hasn’t had to succumb to the ravages of the sun. The electric windows work correctly, as does the heater, and the central air vent in the dash houses the optional temperature gauge. (A very sensible option – after all, it’s a little-known fact that the central vent isn’t actually a vent at all anyway.) There’s no undue wear to the steering wheel or gearknob. Inside the boot it’s all clean and dry with the correct carpet; the original jack is tucked away in its hidey-hole, and the correct spare wheel is under the boot floor. 

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The Exterior

Now we come to this SL’s crowning glory: that Impala Brown paint. It’s one of our favourite colours for an R107 – something seldom seen, but it really suits the elegant lines of the roadster perfectly. It looks particularly good with the interior and soft-top being complementary colours, and the paint finish is extremely good across the whole car. There’s a tiny smattering of very minor surface corrosion below the headlights and across the chin spoiler, but on the whole this is a solid and straight car and we don’t see any evidence of troubling corrosion coming through, nor do we see any scratches, scrapes or significant stone-chips. It’s evidently a car that’s been lovingly looked after. The panels all sit true with even gaps, and the window glass and light lenses are all good, save for a chip in one of the headlights. The soft-top that was replaced in 2001 is still in remarkably good condition, and raises, affixes and lowers with ease. The original hard-top is also in excellent condition, with no evidence of corrosion and a neat and tidy headlining. The correct 15-hole alloy wheels are fitted – they’re all straight and decent, although with a little kerbing and surface corrosion they could perhaps use a refurb to get them back to their best; they’re presentable though, and wear good tyres. All-in-all it’s a thoroughly attractive SL – and with that splendid colour scheme, you’re not going to be seeing another one like it very often.

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The Mechanicals

Smoothness is the watchword here, and this 300 SL behaves itself very well indeed. On our test drive it demonstrated excellent manners – starting up on the first twist of the key, idling happily, the gauges reading the correct temperatures and pressures. There are no troubling noises, no leaks, it’s all ticking over nicely; the engine pulls as strongly as it should under acceleration, and the gearbox shifts smoothly. It’s evident from the paperwork that this car has always been properly maintained, and its very recent visit to the safe pair of hands that is Steve Redfearn has got it running just as it should: with its replacement camshaft and new lifters, it’s a happy motor.
The seller also reports no problems with the suspension, brakes or steering, and this all seemed to be functioning as it should throughout our test.

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The Appeal

The key to the R107 SL’s enduring appeal is that it looks, sounds, feels and smells like a proper thoroughbred classic car (which, of course, it is), but it can readily be used like a modern car. A well looked-after SL will always start without issue, be equally happily trundling around town as taking in epic cross-continent jaunts, won’t throw a hissy-fit if it gets stuck in traffic, and will cosset its occupants in sublime comfort as well as unleashing a sporting edge when the mood demands.

And this particular SL? It’s a truly fabulous example, which has been cherished and pampered throughout its life; it’s evidently a machine that owners fall for and hang on to, and it’s clear to see why. The spec is sublime, the condition is outstanding, and it’s a joy to drive. This 300 SL is eminently ready to write the next chapter of its history; simply jump in, throw the roof down, and bask in the glory of a decision well made. This really is a lovely SL.

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 1987
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 300 SL
  • Colour Impala Brown
  • Odometer 115,300 Miles
  • Engine size 2962
  • Location London
Bidding history
  • No bids

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