There is a reason why so many Mercedes R107’s have become the default choice for those seeking a comfortable, durable open-top roadster. With 17 years of production under its belt, aided by continuous improvements and upgrades, the car established itself firmly as a classic way before production ended in 1989. The elegant design has since gone on to become the perfect choice for those seeking a stylish car with perfect driving manners and ease of use. The 300 SL is the lightest of the R107 series and could hold its own against all but the most powerful of the SL range. The Bosch KE Jetronic straight-six 3.0-litre engine was a new development for the range and added a lease of life into the design which not only helped it retain its showroom appeal but has forged a long-lasting appeal.
As a late one-owner example of the 300 SL, it benefits from Mercedes' continued development of the car offering protective wheel arch liners, galvanised wings and doors enhanced by a positive ownership profile, evidence of being garaged throughout its life and a full-service history. With this impressive provenance, this early 1989 car already has a distinctive advantage over the numerous late-model straight sixes on sale at the moment. The car also comes with its original hardtop.
This example ticks all of the right boxes if you're looking for a solid original R107. Bought new from Mercedes Dicksons of Perth in 1989, the first owner registered the car under his company, then changed the logbook details to reflect his personal ownership and he has retained the car ever since. It was subject to servicing at Mercedes main dealers up to 2005 and has retained its service history stamps to date. The owner was using the car less and less, covering around 12K in the last 15 years and so it was taken on by an R107 specialist. He ensured that its journey from its Scottish home down to London was undertaken by a professional transport company, rather than driven. Aside from its full-service history, it has several invoices to suggest a keen maintenance record and is said never to have been welded or painted.
The paperwork covers the usual maintenance items, including the renewal of brake and steering components but there is a pleasing lack of major issues, reinforcing Mercedes’ ability to make a decent car in the first place. That said, everything that has needed replacing has been done to a high standard. Other noticeable items on the paperwork cover an alternator replacement in 2016 but nothing else has needed attention. The car comes with an MOT until April 2022.
The interior has resisted the decades really well. The cloth Brazil brown seats are in excellent condition, all items retain their shape, with no damage, rips or repairs to be seen. The car comes with original Mercedes Benze front rubber mats, with the carpets in good condition. The door cards are very good, with minor signs of age-related wear in places. The headlining is in good condition with no significant blemishes or signs of damp. The dashboard also gets full marks for presentation, no cracks or blemishes noted and has clearly been subject to a great deal of care. The veneer finish is good, with no unsightly damage, the facia is in excellent visual condition, with all of the dials, controls and switches said to be fully operational. The handbrake housing shows typical signs of wear but is otherwise the only blemish in the interior. The steering wheel and gearstick have hardly any evidence of their age and conclude a nicely pleasing assessment of the interior. The boot follows the same script, with decent carpets and an unused first aid kit and a complete tool kit with an emergency warning triangle intact.
The metalwork is in excellent condition, with plenty of evidence of the expected Mercedes panel fit and even panel gaps throughout. Structurally the car is very sound, with no immediate issues to concern the buyer. The doors open and close well, with no hindrance to their operation. The engine bay is solid, with the bulkhead, subframe and boot well all looking good, the benefits of the galvanised body has ensured that there is no significant corrosion on the body, although the tops of the rear arches show very minor under paint blemishes, with the lower sections of the rear arches showing signs of first stage development of corrosion. Both are accessible and their treatment would make the external presentation of the body 99.9% perfect. The underside of the car is in pleasingly good condition, with the sills, inner wings and jacking points looking good. A couple of minor corrosion marks noted under the rear valance. The hood storage area is free from issues and there is no evidence of water build up in the wells. The arctic white paintwork has retained its quality, with the paint maintaining a glossy shine throughout. There are a tiny handful of chips observed on the door edges and a small chip on the boot lid and a few on the passenger door edges, but overall the car has resisted the ravages of use rather well and summarizes its honest presentation.
The hardtop has been in storage for several years and has picked up a little superficial damage which is evident by a minor chip on the front edge and the rear chrome trim showing a little wear. Otherwise, it is solid and fits well on the car. The canvas roof is in good condition, with no rips or evidence of outside elements. Both of the quarter plastic glass sections are cracked but the main centre section is good. With the majority of parts being readily available for these cars, this will be another straightforward task for the new owner to investigate. The operation to lower and raise the hood is seamless, with both tool spanners with the car and all attachments and fixings are operational. The bumpers fit well, with even gaps noted in-between the chrome and the body. The bumpers are in good condition, with no significant damage observed, just the odd minor scuffs noted on the rubber trim. The body trim is in equally good condition, with no issues of note to suggest damage although the off-side trim on the lower quarter panel has lifted slightly; this will be remedied by the seller. The chrome is in very good condition, with no evidence of pitting or damage. The lights are all in good condition, with no damage noted. The offside rear indicator has a tiny mark of black paint and the black paint that surrounds the front fog light housing shows a little wear. The glass is in good condition with no cracks or laminate damage, the glass and door rubbers are all good, with a little perishing noted on the inside of the passenger door A-pillar. The tyres are mixed brands, but all are in good condition with no damage with well above the legal tread. The front items are around 5 years old. The 15” alloys are in a good state with no kerb damage, just the expected signs of age creeping in.
The car has seen plenty of mechanical sympathy and regular somewhat light use over the years, so it will not come as any surprise to read that the engine is in fine fettle. It starts up immediately and idles well with no signs of smoke from the exhaust. The engine runs like clockwork with no ticking or knocking noises, with no smells of fuel or leaks observed. It drives well, with no issues said to come from the steering or suspension. The gear shift is tight with no slippage. The engine presentation is clean, someone with a little time could have some fun bringing it up to showcase condition if necessary without too much trouble.
This car genuinely needs no work and is ready for the summer. That would be the best summary for it. This car is a proven example of durability and engineering confidence, which goes to provide a hassle-free experience for those long summer weekends. Decent 300 SL’s are becoming sought after and this car has the benefit of being completely original with evidence of a careful ownership profile. Yes, it's a safe option, but one that is based on rock-solid foundations.
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