2000 Mercedes-Benz 320SL Designo Edition

Highlights


・Late model SL in rare and desirable spec
・Ultra-rare glass-roof hardtop
・Special ‘Mystic Blue’ paintwork unique to the model
・One of only 708 made worldwide and 200 sold in the UK

THE BACKGROUND


The fourth generation of the SL made its debut in 1989, and was the design work of Bruno Sacco, whose “vertical affinity” approach to car design called for vehicles that wouldn’t be made immediately obsolete by their successors, Partly by retaining styling cues that were traditional for the brand and by offering themes that could be continued into future ones. 

He wanted each generation of SL to stand alone. And the R129 arguably stood higher and more proudly than any other. The fact that this is one of the last models made bears testimony to that, as it still looks fabulous from all angles and is instantly recognisable as a Mercedes-Benz.

But it wasn't just the right-first-time styling that made the R129 SL such an impressive car, because under the skin it was also stacked with innovation. 

This example dates from late 2000 and was the first of four run-out ‘SL Edition’ models for the R129 to take it through to the end of the series’ production in 2001. The ‘Designo’ edition was extremely well specified and offered in three exclusive colours – Almandine Black, Alanite Green and Mystic Blue.

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THE HISTORY


This example is one of only 200 Mystic Blue examples sold in the UK and it comes with a highly desirable glass-topped hardtop, which would have been a £5,000 option back in the day. It’s also extremely highly specced, with perforated black leather, 18-inch alloys, birds-eye wood inserts and illuminated SL badges in the door kick plates.

It has been owned by the vendor since 2013 and has been used as his daily transport, always with the hard top roof attached for security reasons as the vehicle has been used in London. With the introduction of the new ULEZ zone, the vendors made the difficult decision to replace it with a more modern Mercedes E-Class for his daily commute.

Prior to his ownership, the Mercedes had eight previous keepers.

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THE PAPERWORK


One of the key selling points to this Mercedes is its comprehensive, fully-stamped service history which documents the cars maintenance up to a mileage of just 300 miles ago, right the way through from its very first dealer oil inspection in 2001.

For the early part of its life, the car was looked after by a Mercedes-Benz main dealership but in more recent times has been in the care of a reputable Mercedes-Benz specialist on the London/Essex border. It has been maintained to a high standard and with no expense spared, which is backed up by a number of receipts.

The car also has an MOT valid until August 2022, which it passed with no advisories.

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THE EXTERIOR 


Finished in unique-to-the-model Mystic Blue, the SL looks absolutely magnificent. Other features exclusive to the Design0 edition are the six-spoke alloys and distinctive ‘SL Edition’ badging.

The overall condition is terrific with no stand-out signs of wear or damage, other than some very minor scuff marks on the front bumper. 

There is no sign of corrosion anywhere, above or underneath, while the glass-roofed hardtop is a particularly desirable feature, only offered on this edition and offered as a £5,000 option back in 2000.

The vendor admits that he has never actually taken the roof off. The car lives in London and he prefers the all-year-round usability of the hardtop as well as its extra security. As a result he has no idea as to the condition or functionality of the car’s electric soft top (removing the hardtop isn’t a quick job), so its condition cannot be verified. However, it has spent at least the past eight years tucked away somewhere neat and dry so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t do what it’s supposed to. 

The car also has the original accessory wind deflector, though this has never been used in anger by the vendor for obvious reasons…

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THE INTERIOR 


The cabin of this SL is very special indeed, with perforated black leather seats and birds-eye maple wood veneers.

It has its original ‘SL Edition’ floor mats, which match the special edition logos on the dash ahead of the gear selector and on the sill kick plates, the latter of which illuminate in a cool ice blue.

It’s in exceptional order as you’d expect for the mileage, with no notable wear or damage, while all of the warning lights extinguish as they ought to. 

With the glass-topped hardtop fitted, the cabin has a totally different ambience to when it’s dressed as a more traditional convertible. It’s a classier and more refined place to be, while the transparent roof adds a new sensation of its own.

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THE MECHANICS 


The 3.2-litre V6 might have been the baby of the bunch in terms of SL engines by 2000, but it was still perfectly lively, with 231bhp on tap – enough for 0-60mph in eight seconds and a top speed of 141mph. That’s GT performance rather than sports car speed, but nevertheless it will never feel wanted in modern traffic.

The engine sounds sweet and the gearbox is smooth, while there don’t appear to be any issues with the drivetrain, suspension or steering – indeed, the vendor reports that it drives very well indeed, which the service history tends to back up.

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THE APPEAL


As future classics go, the R129 generation of SL has bags of appeal. It’s one of the last Mercedes-Benz models to still have the ‘hewn-from-rock’ feel of models such as the 190E and W124, but with timeless style and elegance and a premium image.

This one isn’t the fastest or most desirable engine variant, but it’s a brilliant example of an extremely usable car that shouldn’t cost too much to run and has been beautifully looked after. It’s also one of the best special edition SLs ever, with a fabulous spec and finished in a fabulous colour scheme. Add in the fact it’s one of the very last R129s, in beautiful condition, with a low mileage and that wonderful glass-roofed hardtop and there are thousands of reasons to love this absolute gem of a modern classic SL. 


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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2000
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 320SL
  • Colour Blue
  • Odometer 62,532 Miles
  • Engine size 3186
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
27 bids
  • alfie.w•••• £13,500 24/10/21
  • Tonysin•••• £13,000 24/10/21
  • alfie.w•••• £12,500 24/10/21
  • Tonysin•••• £11,800 24/10/21
  • alfie.w•••• £11,500 24/10/21
  • Tonysin•••• £10,950 24/10/21
  • luke.ca•••• £10,500 24/10/21
  • Tonysin•••• £10,200 24/10/21
  • India T•••• £9,950 24/10/21
  • India T•••• £9,850 24/10/21

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