RESERVE LOWERED - 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL


﹒Just two recorded previous owners
﹒Hood and Hardtop in very good condition
﹒Elegantly presented exterior with recently refurbished seats

The Background

There is a reason why the later R107 Mercedes SL cars are so popular with owners, their typically solid build galvanised construction, robust engines and famous ‘carved from granite’ build quality offers a safe but rewarding experience for those who prefer something built for comfort rather than lithe agility. With an original design spec focused on refinement and safety, the R107 was one of the more popular open-top cars of the ‘80s and thanks to its considerate construction, still has a huge appeal for those who want the classic car experience with the bonus of healthy parts availability
This elegantly finished two owner car comes with 20 years worth of maintenance and renovation paperwork, as well as the benefit of a solid chassis with recently refurbed leather seats. Sold with its original factory hardtop and a recent clean soft-top, this 1988 car with the durable and sought after 3-litre six is ideal for those looking for a little class and mechanical durability.

1988 Mercedes 300 SL 17.JPG 13.33 MB

The History

Ordered from new with cruise control, Behr air-conditioning and electric windows, this 1988 car has just two owners recorded on the V5, with the second owner keeping the car for 5 years, with the last owner, a motor repair service company director, taking it on in 2008. A scan through its numerous MOT documentation, suggests that it has been used mostly as an occasional car over the last 20 years, but still enjoyed enough to sufficient clear the cobwebs as it averaged around 4K miles a year.  The cars vendor is an SL specialist who seeks out solid and presentable cars.

1988 Mercedes 300 SL 28.JPG 10.13 MB

The Paperwork

The car comes with a file full of paperwork going back to the early 2000s, with notable invoices directly from Mercedes Benz. The paperwork supports a sizeable bill to show that the car has seen some extensive electrical work, along with a new exhaust in 2002. A new sump was fitted in the same year, followed by a service - the installation of the sump necessitated the removal of the engine, which would have allowed an inspection of the bulkhead and subframe. Furthermore, in the same year, it received around £900 worth of cosmetic improvements. The car appeared to have seen a new hood and components in 2008, with a bill of around £1500 to confirm this, followed by several maintenance purchases in more recent years including a battery, electric aerial and an ignition control module. The car has seen some suspension work too. It comes with an MOT to December 2022. The car is backed up with a printed HPI report as well as a document to support its original factory-build equipment engine bay data plate.

1988 Mercedes 300 SL 20.JPG 10.29 MB

The Interior

The mushroom-coloured leather seats are in good condition, having seen a refurb in recent years and are rip free with good piping. The carpets and mats are in good condition, with no obvious defects but would benefit from a clean. All of the floor items are nice and dry, with no evidence of water build-up observed in any of the footwells. The door cards are in clean condition, with evidence of renovation. 
The dashboard has a handful of cosmetic issues, with the facia top showing a couple of cracks, and some minor damage around the glovebox and the walnut burr panel around the gear stick. It is worth remembering that there are multiple sources to replace parts for the R107, including Mercedes themselves - a genuine perk for Classic Mercedes owners. That said, the rest of the facia, controls and burr finish is above acceptable for a car of this age and would need too much effort to bring back to new. The switches and dials are in good condition and are all said to be in full working order, including the electric windows. The car is fitted with an aftermarket Sony CD Stereo unit.  The steering wheel is in good order, with the walnut gear stick showing hardly any wear. The boot is dry, with no signs of dampness on the carpets. The car comes with a tool kit and first aid kit.

1988 Mercedes 300 SL 24.JPG 10.52 MB


 The Exterior 

The panel fit is good, with no distortion or damage to the bodywork. The doors open and close with no issues and the passenger doors hang well. The metalwork is good throughout, with no significant damage or dents on the car. The soft-top roof operation is seamless, with no problems with the retraction or raising of the roof, the cables and mechanisms well up to the job. The soft-top itself is in good condition with no damage, with no evidence of prolonged outdoor storage.  The plastic rear glass is in good condition, with no cracks or discolouration. The hardtop is in very good condition externally with a little mould observed in places on the inside.  The wheel arches look good, with no significant issues seen on the door bottoms or windscreen surrounds and scuttle areas.  The bonnet and boot are solid, with no obvious signs of structural corrosion.
The engine bay structure looks good, with minor signs of surface rust observed around the front valance, but the area around the firewall/heater motor and suspension turrets appear to be solid. The underside of the car shows the expected signs of age but structurally it appears to be good with a few low-key corrosion points on the rear near-side lower skirt and sill that may need a closer inspection at some point, but they are not by any means terminal. The subframe looks good with the boot area and wheel looking solid.
Gold is the colour of decadence, and while this hue is officially known as impala brown, it suits the handsome chiselled lines well. It’s likely that the car has seen a more recent application of paint judging by a lack of stone chip damage. The metallic paint finish is good, with a decent lustre and even coverage of paint with no major signs of overspray or touch-ups, with the glossy shine, capturing the light well. There is a minor paint crack and scuff appearing by the off-side rear wing near the fuel filler aperture which is the most noticeable issue on a nicely presented car. 
All the best R107s are shod with their original style wheels, and although these ones could do a with a good clean, they are in good condition with minor signs of age but no kerbing. The tyres are all within the legal boundaries of tread but all are over 10 years old. The bumpers are in generally good condition, with some damage seen on the front off-side rubber guard and a little corrosion damage observed on the rear off-side chrome. The lights are in good condition, the rear items are not faded and do not appear to be letting in water. The chrome trim is good, with just the off-side B-Pillar finisher showing a little damage.

1988 Mercedes 300 SL 5.JPG 5.25 MB

The Mechanics 

The car is mechanically sound adhering to the Mercedes robust reputation of using strong engines, with no reported issues while the engine was running. Starting up with no drama, with the exhaust condensation soon disappearing once the engine reached temperature. The 3-litre engine idles nicely no knocking or unwanted ticking noises. The bombproof straight-six doesn’t emit blue smoke and there were no signs of misfiring or popping. The radiator is in good condition, and is said not to overheating by the vendor. One of the good things about the 3-litre 300 SL models is that it generates minimal stress on the gearbox, which is used to dealing with a lot of power. As a result, there are no reported issues with the automatic transmission, with no slippage reported. No noises are reported to come from the rear axle, while the car is in motion. The car corners well, suggesting the shock absorbers up to scratch, with no noises reported. The steering and brakes are said to be true with no significant issues.

1988 Mercedes 300 SL 11.JPG 11.51 MB

The Appeal

As an honestly presented car with nothing to hide but plenty to gain, the new owner can be assured of the manufacturer's heritage support will make things easy to resolve the minor easy to fix issues. As a structurally solid car with very good paintwork, it creates a rather decadent presence enhanced by the way it drives. The R107 is in a timeless fashion of its own and one that still creates an impression. The robust reputation of the engineering of the 300 SL means that they have outlasted their contemporaries and now the very best examples are now attracting serious money. Savvy buyers who know that a good one can literally last forever will be encouraged to know that this solid and late example with the benefit of only seeing two previous owners could well prove to be a shrewd purchase.

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.

Please see our FAQ's here and our Terms & Conditions here

Vehicle specification
  • Year 1988
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 300 SL
  • Colour Brown
  • Odometer 95,941 Miles
  • Engine size 2962
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
21 bids
  • La•••• £19,500 15/06/21
  • ke•••• £19,250 15/06/21
  • La•••• £19,000 15/06/21
  • ke•••• £18,750 15/06/21
  • La•••• £18,500 15/06/21
  • ke•••• £18,250 15/06/21
  • ke•••• £18,000 14/06/21
  • va•••• £17,250 14/06/21
  • Ma•••• £17,000 12/06/21
  • Ma•••• £16,500 12/06/21

The Gallery

 About the max bid process

The max bid process allows you to bid without any hassle.
Enter your maximum bid and we will then bid on your behalf to ensure you're the highest bidder - just enough to keep you in the lead and only up until your maximum.

About Max Bids


C&C prevent auction snipers from bidding in the last seconds to win an auction.
Auctions are extended by 10-minutes if anyone bids within the last 2 minutes to allow other bidders to react and counter-bid.

Auto-bidding increments

If your bid is below the reserve price you'll bid that amount if you are the highest bidder.
If you are the highest bidder and place a bid above the reserve we will only go up to the reserve price.
Once the reserve has been met C&C will make sure you are the highest bidder using the bidding increments stated below, keeping you in the lead up until your maximum bid.

Bid Amount Increment
£0 to £10,000£100.00
£10,000 to £50,000 £250.00
£50,000+ £500.00

Automatically outbid immediately

When you place a max bid and are outbid immediately that means that another bidder has placed a max bid limit which is higher than yours.
You can bid again and we will use our automatic bid system to try and get you as the highest bidder.

Matching max bids

When there are two max bids of the same value, the one placed first remains the lead bidder.

Watch this auction

Get notified when the auction is starting, and half an hour before it ends.