With the introduction of the W113 chassis in the early 1960s, Mercedes-Benz had essentially invented their own class of sports roadster. This 2 seat roadster was less of an all-out sports car, and more of an all-weather GT car with superior refinement and quality that meant it could be used as an everyday driver. The W113 proved a great success through three generations and in 1971 was replaced by an all-new SL, known internally as the R107. The R107 was a new chassis design that utilized shared suspension and drivetrain components from mid-sized Mercedes sedans, but wore unique sheet metal designed by the great Bruno Sacco. The R107 offered greater luxury, performance and modern refinement than its predecessor and while it still was not a hardcore sports car, it could hold its own on fast, flowing roads and was unmatched for its continent crushing ability.
The first generation 350SL featured the same V8 shared with the 280SE 3.5, which was soon enlarge to the big 4.5liter version and renamed 450SL. The 107 SL proved to be a runaway success for Mercedes, thanks to the exceptionally well-engineered chassis, excellent performance from the V8 engines, and unrivaled build quality. Production of the R107 lasted from 1971 through 1989, making it the longest production run of any Mercedes-Benz passenger car to date. Only the Galandewagen off-roader has been in production longer.
For the final version of the R107, engineers took the 5.6 liter V8 from flagship SEL sedan and shoehorned it into the roadster body to create the 560SL, in turn creating an instant classic and the very best of the R107 SL family. With the benefit of nearly two decades of development and technological refinements such as ABS brakes and traction control, as well as stout performance from the alloy V8, the last of the great SLs strikes the perfect balance of style and performance. The 560SL also comes from a time when legendary Mercedes-Benz dependability was at its pinnacle, yet still offers relative ease of service. Few roadsters can compare with the 560SL for its all-round capabilities and exceptional refinement. Paired with timeless styling, it is easy to see why the 560SL and its siblings have so quickly become full-fledged collectibles.
This handsome 1988 560SL is an outstanding example, showing just 22,640 miles from new. It is a dry western car in beautiful condition, finished in the iconic combination of red over tan leather. It is a very fine car that has exceptionally well maintained from new and kept in impeccably clean condition. The excellent original paint emphasizes the high level of build quality that typifies Mercedes-Benz cars of this era. The “15-hole” style alloy wheels have been polished to a mirror-like finish and look beautiful against the superb paint. Likewise, the hard-wearing tan leather interior has been beautifully maintained and preserved in excellent condition. Burl walnut trim on the console and dash is in exquisite condition, and it still retains its original Becker Grand Prix stereo. Both tops are present and in excellent order, with the soft top in attractive tobacco-brown and the hard top finished in matching red as per original. In the fully trimmed trunk can be found the factory issued first aid kit as well as the original tool roll, both of which are in excellent condition.
The 5.6 liter, Bosch fuel-injected V8 engine runs strong and smooth, as it should, and has been exceptionally well maintained. The incredibly clean engine bay is properly detailed with correct original gold-cadmium fittings, clamps, hardware and decals all in excellent order. The car has a clean CarFax, and Included with the car are the original books and manuals, as well as the original window sticker.
These are famously robust automobiles, but only when properly maintained and cared for, and this example has clearly been cherished from the day it was first delivered. The 560SL is a rapidly appreciating classic, and fine examples such as this are in high demand; yet they still represent an excellent value considering the robust performance and legendary reliability.