1985 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL (R107) For Sale
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|The unusual colour of this Mercedes-Benz 280 SL is just one of the many great features on this high quality sports car, which received extensive and expensive renovation work only a year ago |
ENGINE 2746cc/6-cyl/DOHC/Bosch K-Jetronic with Lambda fuel injection
POWER [email protected]
MAXIMUM SPEED 119mph
GEARBOX RWD, four-speed automatic
MILEAGE 85,000 miles
MOT March 2021 (a new one can be applied)
CHASSIS NUMBER WDB1070422A032972
ENGINE NUMBER the details below
COLOUR Petrol Blue
INTERIOR Cream Beige Sports Check
Mercedes-Benz’s range of SL sports cars have always stood for style, quality and excellent performance. Starting with the frankly awe-inspiring W198 ‘Gullwing’ model of 1954, there have been six distinct generations of Super-Leicht models. Over 66 years, that might not seem like too many, given that, in the very competitive prestige sports car market, constant updates and changes are often crucial to guarantee continued success. But one of the reasons for there being comparatively few SL reinventions is the R107, a model range so timelessly fresh and innately competitive that it stayed in production for almost 20 years.
The R107 was the third incarnation of SL, introduced in 1971. The previous W113 series, commonly known as the ‘Pagoda’, had been around for eight years, so Mercedes-Benz probably envisaged a similar lifespan for its replacement. In reality, the R107 would be around for twice that, and then some; it lasted right the way through until 1989. Albeit with a few nips and tucks, naturally, to keep it up-to date both mechanically and cosmetically.
When the R107 - and its closely related four-seater fixed roof coupé C107 counterpart - appeared in 1971, it was a very modern-looking and handsome machine, something that would stand it in good stead for the decades ahead. Mechanically, it used a lot of the mechanics from the mid-sized W114 saloon and coupé range, but mated them with the trusted and sturdy V8 engine from the large and luxurious W108/109 cars. Initially, in Europe, just a 3.5-litre engine was available, with the car being christened, logically enough, the 350 SL. In 1973, the 4.5-litre 450 SL debuted, closely followed by a smaller and more frugal 2.8-litre six-cylinder motor in the 280 SL, when Mercedes-Benz realised just how badly the fuel crisis was biting.
There was a mid-life revamp in 1980, when Mercedes-Benz might otherwise have been expected to introduce a new SL. Instead, there were a few interior tweaks, mechanical upgrades, and new engines - with the 350 and 450 being discontinued, in favour of the 380 and 500 V8 SLs. The next major alteration came in 1985, with the demise of the 280 SL in favour of the 3.0-litre 300 SL - thus recreating a great name from the past - while the new V8 420 SL also popped up to replace the 380 SL. There was also a whopping 5.6-litre V8 - logically enough christened the 560 SL - as a flagship, but it was confined to the USA, Australia and Japan. This was the crowning glory of the W107 range for its final four years. In August 1989, the final R107 was built. In total, 237,287 of these third generation SLs were constructed; they were a phenomenal success for Mercedes-Benz.
Thanks to being closely associated with certain characters from a certain hugely popular 1970s to 1990s American soap opera set in oil-rich Texas, these Mercedes-Benzes have picked up the nickname of ‘Dallas’ SLs. So, if you fancy living out your Ewing family fantasies, read on…
This lovely SL is one of the final 280 SLs, sold just after the 300 SL had been introduced. What immediately stands out about is the colour of its bodywork; a very distinctive Petrol Blue, as Mercedes-Benz labelled it. What an appropriate hue for a ‘Dallas’ SL! It’s one of those colours that seems to change shade depending on the light, alternating between metallic blue and green. Indeed, its logbook refers to it as green - but Petrol Blue is the official designation. Inside, the cabin is finished in a very attractive and becoming cream beige, with MB Tex seats inset with Sports Check fabric. For those wanting a little extra security than just a hood can offer, the factory hard-top, also finished in Petrol Blue, comes with the car.
The car was originally bought by somebody who worked for the BBC. She eventually passed it onto her son, and the history folder paperwork suggests that the car subsequently spent some time in Italy during the 1990s - a country where its al fresco style and sophistication would definitely have been very appreciated. The documentation dates back to the 1980s, and there are most MoT slips from 1988 onwards, that year being the first that the SL had to be tested. This confirms the current mileage of close to 85,000; the service book is stamped up to 24,000 miles, but there are invoices testifying to required servicing and other due care and attention since then. The owner’s manual still retains its three-pointed star-branded leather document wallet.
During 2019 and 2020, the car received extensive restoration work, effectively not far short of a full restoration. It was stripped down and repainted, at a cost of many thousands. So whoever buys this is getting a car that certainly won’t be needing any serious refurbishment for quite some while to come…
Thanks to all that recent work, the SL’s bodywork is in extremely good condition. As well-built and resilient as these cars are - their ‘Super-Light’ designation certainly doesn’t reflect the heavyweight over-engineering - problems often manifest themselves around the jacking points, which are integral to the sills. However, as you can see from our pictures, all of these are very solid.
The paintwork is in beautiful order, and that remarkable colour is always going to turn heads - even if the car is parked amid a field of other classic SLs. All the chromework is similarly good, with no scuffing to the edges of the bumpers. Colour-coded wheeltrims are fitted, rather than alloy wheels, and they’re also very finely preserved. Because they’re made of aluminium, they can bend out of shape quite easily, but that’s not happened here. There are a few scrapes and marks here and there, but under normal viewing, they’re not noticeable.
The tyres match all around; they’re Kumho Auto Power 195/70 R14 91H items. There’s no damage to the sidewalls and plenty of tread left.
Inside the petrol flap, you’ll still find the original stickers for tyre pressures and to remind you to top up the oil. When any classic is restored or repainted, it’s always good to see that care and attention has been taken to preserve period details such as these.
The hood is manually operated, and best done with a second person to help out, so well-constructed are the soft-tops for these cars. It’s definitely not one of the flimsier contraptions found on lesser sports cars. Its black fabric is in just as good order as everything else on this car; you won’t find any tears, fraying or areas of wear. All three plastic windows are clear, and still offer excellent visibility. The optional hard top is also about as good as it gets, obviously having been stored carefully over the years.
Cream beige - that’s Mercedes-Benz’s official term, incidentally - interiors aren’t easy to keep looking spruce, but this one still looks very spick-and-span. The carpets, which are most prone to picking up marks, are new, so they remain excellent. However, there’s also very little wear and tear anywhere else - you might expect some grubbiness on the door pulls or scuffing to the MB-Tex seat bolsters, but it’s not there. MB-Tex, incidentally, is Mercedes-Benz’s own proprietary faux leather material, which is often mistaken for the real thing, but is generally more durable and doesn’t crack. The interior of this SL is testament to just how good (and realistic) it looks, and how well it stands up to lots of use. In fact, the only real blemishes anywhere are a couple of water marks on the Sports Check fabric insert of the driver’s seat.
‘Occasional’ jump seats are fitted in the rear, equipped with seatbelts. They don’t offer a lot of leg room, the SL being very much a two-seater affair in general. However, for those with children, there’s the reassurance that this is a classic sports car that they’ll also be able to enjoy. Their standard of cleanliness and preservation matches the front seats, if not better - they genuinely don’t look like they’ve ever been sat in.
The walnut veneer on the dash and centre console seems to have been left original during the recent renovation work, probably because it was in very good nick. There are a few areas where the veneer is a little thin and milky, but in general, it’s all very presentable.
A Caliber retro-styled radio /CD player is fitted, with auxiliary, USB and SD card inputs. Its appearance closely resembles that of a classic Becker unit, so it looks very much at home in this Mercedes-Benz, where a modern unit would clash too much with the 1970s-born fascia around it. It’s connected to an electric aerial that quickly extends and retracts with the ignition.
The boot is fully carpeted with the same colour material as elsewhere in the car. And it’s just as spotless too, aside from the occasional mark here and there, which would probably respond well to cleaning.
ENGINE AND RUNNING GEAR
Underneath the bonnet, the engine is generally clean, without being over-detailed, although the cam covers have the slightly mottled finish that inevitably strikes these engines with age. Everything appears as standard as when it left the factory 35 years ago. The fluids look healthy, and are at the levels they should be. All the pipework and wiring is intact, with no damage; the spark plug leads look pretty new.
These engines are known for their longevity and toughness, so with this one still well shy of 100,000 miles, it’s practically only just run in. It starts on the first turn of the key and runs smoothly and strongly, with no worrying noises. With 182bhp on tap, the car pulls well without hesitation, with the four-speed automatic transmission taking care of the changes. It drives exactly as a Mercedes-Benz sports car should - there’s a nice turn of speed, especially when you engage kickdown, and the handling is excellent, as are the brakes. Everything feels very tight and responsive.
These Mercedes-Benz SLs are now evergreen classics, renowned for their sturdiness, reliability and sophistication. They have excellent specialist support, with Mercedes-Benz itself stocking a huge amount of parts. And there’s little of the temperamentality of other sports cars of their era, which could often be quite fragile; the SL instead offered robust Teutonic quality, superb road manners and a handsome, imposing appearance. Such attributes mean they can command high prices, so at £24,995, this one is competitively priced; especially given that it’s one that will stand out from the crowd thanks to its rare and eye-catching colour.
Whilst Greenside Cars Ltd has tried to ensure information and assessments are accurate and complete, we are aware that some errors and omissions may occur from time to time. We are not able, therefore, to guarantee the accuracy of information and cannot accept liability for loss or damage arising from it. We highly recommend that you examine any vehicle to check the reliability of the information supplied. Please contact us for further details, images, or to arrange a viewing of this Mercedes-Benz 280 SL.
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