RESERVE LOWERED - 1987 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL


• Beautiful condition throughout, and delightful to drive
• Impressive history with lots of service stamps
• Hard-top and soft-top both in good condition
• Desirable red-over-check spec

The Background

The third-generation models of the long-running R107 SL series (that is, those cars built from 1985 onwards) are particularly desirable to many Mercedes-Benz enthusiasts.

These are the ones with the final-run upgrades including the iconic chin spoiler, revised suspension with a thicker anti-roll bar, additional body strengthening, and internally reprofiled wings to accommodate bigger wheels and tyres.

And crucially, in the case of this car, there was the box-fresh M103 engine: the 3.0-litre straight-six that created a new model variant – the 300 SL – to replace the outgoing 280 SL.

With 187bhp on tap it’s a roadster with more than enough get-up-and-go and, of course, it offers all of those features so vital to the R107 experience: solid build quality, impressive levels of equipment, a smooth ride, and impeccable reliability and usability. The sweet spot in the range? The 300 SL very well might be.

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The History

This car is sure to be a popular presence in our auctions for the simple fact that its first owner back in 1987 specced it absolutely correctly: Signal Red paint (because everything was bright red in the eighties), and check cloth trim (because you want to have the top down in the summer, and you’d get all sweaty with leather or MB-Tex). 

Furthermore, we can see from the history file that this car has received just as much love and care throughout its life; registered on April 1st 1987 with the number RNY 700, it was first delivered to Bridgend and remained in Wales well into the new millennium. It’s averaged around 4,500 miles a year throughout its life, and the servicing is well documented for years upon years. 

The current owner has recently spent around £6,000 addressing any and every issue he could find in order to get the car just the way it should be. In splendid condition throughout, the 300 SL that’s now registered UIB 4590 is presented to market as a complete, usable, and thoroughly lovely R107.

The Paperwork

There’s a substantial file of history here, including all of the original books and manuals, a stamped service book, and the correct tools for affixing and removing the roofs.

There’s a manual for the original Blaupunkt stereo, which is still fitted to the car. The V5 shows that the SL has had just five former keepers in its thirty-four year life, and there’s a large and interesting selection of receipts and invoices for work carried out over the years.

The most recent, from June 2021, shows that a number of issues were rectified including cleaning out the idle control valve, fixing and tidying the radio wiring, replacing bulbs in the lights as well as the dash, and various other jobs to ensure that everything was tip-top.

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The Interior

This is a lovely little cabin, with none of the common issues that are found on R107s of lesser pedigree. The dash-top is free from cracks, the wood trim isn’t tarnished or peeling, the seat fabric is complete and un-bobbled. Overall it wears its years remarkably well.

The seats are in very good condition, with no undue wear, rips or marks, and they tilt correctly to allow access to the storage area at the rear, which is also very tidy. Earlier this year the seat runners were found to be sticky, so they’ve been removed, freed off and adjusted, and all’s working well now.

The dash is complete with the dials working correctly; the rev counter was working intermittently and the back-light bulb had blown, so the dash cluster was removed in order to replace the bulb and fix the dial needle – again, this has fixed the issue perfectly.

Similar story with the electric windows; they’d been found to be a little slow in their operation, so the doorcards were removed and the regulators and runners cleaned and lubricated. You can see from this level of detail that the current owner’s restoration efforts have been more than skin-deep: he’s assessed everything that needed doing, and done it all properly.

The carpets are good, and wear new overmats sourced from Coverdale. The original Blaupunkt Oxford M26 stereo is still in place, and it works. Inside the boot it’s very tidy too, with clean and undamaged carpets, the warning jack and triangle in the cubbyhole, and a refurbished matching spare wheel.

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The Exterior

Signal Red is a very sought-after colour for the R107, and you can see why: the lipstick hue suits those old-school coachlines perfectly.

This body is in thoroughly good condition throughout too, with no obvious signs of corrosion, dents, scratches or scrapes – it’s clearly a car that’s been looked after, and appears impressively straight and solid underneath as well. The current owner has also carried out investigations to check the bulkhead (a known trouble spot with these cars) and confirms it to be free from corrosion.

Panel fit and paint-match are excellent throughout, with no wonky gaps or unevenly faded panels. The light lenses and window glass are complete and tidy, and all of the correct chrome trim and badging is in place.

The wheels have been refurbished to a high standard, and wear a matching set of quality Michelin tyres. The car comes with a colour-matched hard-top, which is easy to attach and detach and has a decent headlining. The soft-top is also good, with nice clear windows and no marks, rips or holes, and it’s equally easy to raise, affix and lower.

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The Mechanicals

Quite simply, it runs like a dream. 

The engine and gearbox were fully serviced in June of this year, and the drivetrain is peachy now – the car fires up eagerly on the first turn of the key, idles evenly, and pulls keenly through the rev range; the auto ’box shifts very smoothly, and is happy to hang onto the revs if you’ve got your foot down. 

The steering box has recently been adjusted to eliminate any excess play, and the brakes have been gone over to ensure they’re up to scratch.
A new stainless steel rear exhaust box has been sourced from The SL Shop and fitted, with the rest of the system (including manifolds) being treated and painted for longevity.

With its new underbonnet soundproofing in place, this is a refined cruiser that’s a joy to drive. Lovely and smooth with no squeaks or rattles, no knocks or bangs, nothing untoward… it rides beautifully, just as it should.

The Appeal

You can’t have failed to notice how R107 SLs are in the ascendent, and good-quality examples like this should be squarely in your crosshairs. 

There’s a fair few questionable SLs on the market, and cars that will immediately present you with a to-do list, but this very much isn’t one of them; indeed, it’s a cut above the rest thanks to its combination of originality, quality, and thorough maintenance. 

The red-over-check colour scheme is supremely desirable, it’s got both roofs and they’re both good, the body is solid on top and underneath, and the interior is a pleasant place to be. 

With its robust history and eminent drivability, this is an extremely attractive 300 SL that will undoubtedly become its new owner’s very best friend. 

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 seller's discretion.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1987
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 300 SL R107
  • Colour Signal Red
  • Odometer 140,000 Miles
  • Engine size 2962
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
19 bids
  • roberts•••• £19,750 23/09/21
  • SG Grou•••• £19,500 23/09/21
  • Jonm £19,250 23/09/21
  • SG Grou•••• £19,000 23/09/21
  • roberts•••• £18,000 23/09/21
  • SG Grou•••• £17,350 23/09/21
  • roberts•••• £16,000 23/09/21
  • Jonm £15,500 23/09/21
  • roberts•••• £15,250 23/09/21
  • Mitesh £14,750 23/09/21

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