1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL


Status: Sold
Manufactured: Sindelfingen, Germany
Imported: Falls Church, VA*
Engine: 5.6L M117 V8   
Transmission: Automatic
VIN: WDBBA4801JA080830

*Note: This vehicle is being offered on consignment.

I met Steve in late November. Or was it early December? Not recently; that’s the point. Huddled in coats and clutching hot coffee in his driveway, we walked around his Mercedes-Benz 560SL and spoke as car people are want to do; in hushed tones about the invoices, passionately about the experiences, with pride on the quality and condition of the beloved classic. Here was Steve’s 1988 560SL; a 36k mile example of the awesome 5.6L roadster. He wanted to sell it, and we needed a plan. Photograph it with the autumn colors! They’ll offset the red! Our strategy was solid. “But who wants a convertible in December”, we thought? Ah. A new strategy was hatched. We’ll just wait awhile.

So, over the winter this 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL has graced our shop with its lovely signal red paint. When folks asked “What’s the deal with the Mercedes?” we’d reply, “It’s for sale. Sort of. Or at least it will be.” It was really professional, as you can imagine. But alas the dogwoods are blooming and the grass is again green, which meant it’s time to list the garage art. Afterall, it’s good at many things, and sitting around is about the most boring thing on the list.

Steve is believed to be the second owner of this R107. He bought it from Pedigree Motors in Florida after a long stint with M-Powered BMWs which ‘gave him his fill for the high horsepower, rock-hard rides those offer around Northern Virginia.’ But those potholes take their tole on both cars and spines over time. This was more laid back; easier to drive. The original owner was alleged to have lived in New York and moved the car to Florida with him to live at his (second? third?) property down in FL. Why this car? Steve explains it had 29,000 miles when he bought it around 2015, and was about the nicest example of one of these he could find. The challenge though was with the hard top: It hadn’t made the move to Florida with the car. I can only imagine how excited the owner must have been to keep his convertible in Florida that he’d forget the hard top. Or maybe it was never meant to stay in Florida. Whatever the reason, it took three months to track him down and get the top safely transported to the car.

Upon arrival in VA, Steve took the car to then-Don Pool Mercedes (now CNP Auto) in Falls Church, VA. They’ve done work on my W460 trucks before. At the time they recommended changing the transmission oil cooler line as a preventative measure, and replacing the subframe bushings. Both were done, and while Don Pool had done the maintenance since then, there hasn’t been any other serious work performed.

The car now has a little over 36,500 miles. We examined sales data from past auctions, as well as advertised R107 prices to identify pricing for this car. We’d be happy to share that data as a part of any conversations about the car; just ask.

The details on the car are outlined below, so I won’t repeat them here. I will say that compared to my now-gone 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SL, a Euro-market import, this car feels great. I owned my 500SL nearly 7 years ago, so a direct comparison is hard to make. But that surge of power; the way the V8 packs an ooompf despite its cruiser status and stock broker looks... it’s an unmistakable and unique experience to the R107. If you’re looking for a low-mile example of one of these classics, we hope you’ll consider this one.

Driveline. The 5.6L v8 fires to life the first time and makes full power throughout the rev range. When new, the single-overhead-cam engine was rated at 227hp and 287 ft-lbs of torque. Power is put down by a four-speed automatic transmission. Its European counterparts saw the addition of 5-speeds, but North American cars were optioned high and for comfort; the automatic reigned supreme. The 560SL was the big cat of it’s day; sitting on top of the smaller displacement 300SL and 420 SL. From a dead stop the car feels heavy; compared to cars today, the amount of right-foot required on the throttle to get the Mercedes moving seems excessive. It takes getting used to, but once you do, it feels purposeful. Designed. In motion the car gives mixed sensations. On one hand it’s a freight train: It has mass, and that’s evident. A body in motion stays in motion, and the Mercedes just wants to cruise. The steering isn’t light – that wouldn’t be very German – but it does bely the mass confronting your senses from every other angle. The car will occasionally need to start in 2nd gear if it gets heat soaked on a long-drive, but it’s a rare nuisance as best.

Exterior. Signal red paint is believed to be original. Small nicks and scratches exist on the surface (see photos with key as reference for size). Chrome shines brightly, while rubber bumper end caps look as new. Glass and plastic lenses (brake lights, turn signals) are gorgeous; they appear as new. The hard top removes without issue with the factory tool, revealing a stunning convertible underneath. Wheels and tires present just as beautifully as the rest of the car, clan in a set of Michelins with plenty of life remaining.

Interior. The Palomino beige interior looks stunning. The seats are clean and well supported; gauges shine beautifully through crystal clear glass. Some small cracks are evident in the wood trim surrounding the shift lever, but they are minor. Stock radio has been replaced with a Pioneer unit; Carpets throughout are beautiful, to include the trunk, where the factory spare sits just as it left the factory. There are only so many superlatives available to describe a beautifully maintained, original classic car. We’ll spare you the fancy words and let you pour over the photos. That’s where this thing shines anyway, isn’t it? Popping off the screen and making us want to climb inside? Enjoy.

Interested? Contact Us for more information. 


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