Following the commercial success of the R113-series 230, 250 and 280SL, Mercedes-Benz realized they had a tough act to follow with its replacement. The R113 SL models were responsible for perfecting Mercedes’ formula for their ideal sports roadster. The 300SL was a technological marvel, but costly to build, buy and maintain. The 190SL utilized humble passenger car architecture in a pretty body, but was perhaps a bit too pedestrian in terms of performance. The 230SL fixed that with its fuel-injected six cylinder engine and well-honed chassis that borrowed much from other cars in the Mercedes lineup, though with better resolved handling and far better performance. The R113 was continuously improved through the 1971 280SL, the car’s focus being less overtly sporty than its rivals, yet still enormously capable as a comfortable and imminently stylish grand tourer.
Mercedes-Benz understood the importance of this new SL roadster, and they threw all they had been studying in the previous decade into the project, with the first examples hitting the road in late 1971. Stuttgart engineers had become obsessed with safety and with the idea of overbuilding their cars. Every surface of the new car, internally known as R107, was carefully honed for maximum safety. Even the signature ribbed tail lights are a result of safety studies, engineers found they stayed cleaner and therefore more visible in poor weather conditions. In spite of the obsession for safety, the R107 wore sophisticated and elegantly styled bodywork with traditional long-bonnet, short-deck proportions. Like other SLs before it, the new car was available with a removable hard top for all-weather enjoyment. Architecture followed the established SL ethos, borrowing from other mid-sized Mercedes cars for suspension and drivetrain, but fine tuning the handling for a more sporting feel. The 107 was produced from 1971-1989; the Mercedes second-longest running model in the marque’s history, and in the process earning its place as an iconic status symbol of the 1980s.
Our featured car is the ultimate model of the R107 range, a 560SL from 1987. For this, the final iteration of the series, engineers shoehorned the big 5.6 liter V8 engine and automatic transmission from the 560SEL sedan, creating the fastest and arguably most desirable model of the line. Nearly two decades of development meant the 560SL still felt fresh and benefitted from an impressive equipment list that included ABS brakes, limited slip differential, and a driver’s side airbag. This fine example has covered a genuine 28,395 miles from new and presents in excellent condition throughout. The Signal Red paint (code 5680) is excellent and looks great against the original bright-finish wheels. The body is exceptionally straight, showing no signs of accidents or corrosion, which is backed by a clean Carfax report. It wears its original hardtop and black German canvas soft-top, both in excellent condition. A hard top stand for easy, safe storage will be included in the sale. The chrome bumpers are straight and clean, with the front bumper wearing original Bosch fog lamps.
The Anthracite leather interior (code 271) is consistent with the rest of the car, being exceptionally clean and original with excellent seats, door panels and carpets. The dash is crack-free and the wood trim intact and free from cracked lacquer or delamination. Even the delicate wood strips on the fascia are in excellent condition. The interior is completely stock down to the original airbag steering wheel, Becker Grand Prix radio and optional central arm rest. Likewise, the trunk is tidy and clean with factory correct carpeting and panels. Original books, tools and jack are included.
The 5.6 liter V8 engine is very nicely detailed, appearing clean and tidy with signs of regular maintenance. The factory finishes on the hardware and ancillaries remain in great condition, indicative of this car’s very low mileage. A stack of records and receipts, as well as the comprehensive Carfax report, show this car received plenty of routine maintenance in the hands of its last owners. This is an excellent example of what is considered to be the most desirable of the R107 series. These rapidly appreciating classics are excellent all-rounders, combining iconic good looks with exceptional reliability, vault-like build quality and surprising performance.
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