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One County Convertible: 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL

By Andrew Tanner

So this car isn’t a one-owner vehicle, in fact it isn’t even one family! However, this car is a one-county vehicle. That’s right, across three different owners this  560SL has been in Fairfield County, CT its entire life. Mercedes-Benz’s SL line has been a popular seller in all iterations, but the third generation SLs have been a favorite with both car and non-car people since its inception in 1972. Bridging the gap between the vintage SL models and the modern SL of today, the third generation SL has long been a classic. This example has had lots of work done and sits at 135,000 miles. Find it here on Auto Archaeologist with a $13,000 price tag. 

Although it isn’t directly stated in the listing, this Mercedes has essentially undergone a full cosmetic restoration. The interior is new Brazil Brown leather, and the car has been repainted in Smoke Silver (for what sounds like at least the second time). Though the interior may not be original, it certainly appears very authentic and if someone were to want to buy this car for the purpose of enjoying it originality is trivial at best. This 560SL also has its original Becker radio that is fully functional, as well as all other electrical components. The only imperfections are fading rear deck carpet and a crack in the dash.

According to the ad, under the hood is an “M117 5.0 Litre engine that pulls very strong with over 260 HP and 0-60 times touching 7 seconds. The car has power steering, power brakes, power windows and AC, which still blows cold.” Though this car isn’t time-traveling fast, it is certainly quick and can provide many hours of motoring enjoyment. Although these cars can be pricey to maintain, in my own experience if maintained properly these cars will last many, many miles and are known to be reliable.

Last but not least, this Mercedes has suffered some body damage. It isn’t apparent, but evidently an unfortunate lift accident at a shop caused a split in the floor pan that was then repaired by the offending shop with a riveted in piece of sheet metal. Some people will not be bothered by this, others will want to fix it immediately. From the seller’s description, it could be easily fixed by someone familiar with a welder. Considering all of the work that has been done to this car, I cannot help but wonder why it was not fixed correctly during the repaint and interior replacement. The riveted in metal is an eyesore and will likely cause rust issues in the future. Despite the imperfections, this looks to be a nice vehicle and will fetch a reasonable price.

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Comments

  1. McPherson Strutz

    Everyone in Fairfield County gets one of these and a Volvo wagon when they graduate from college. And everyone in Fairfield County graduates from college. It’s a little known fact.

    2+
  2. Sparkster

    Just watched the boys from Wheeler / Dealer fix one of these up and sell it for $21,000. With about the same mileage as well. The euro bumpers look sooooo much better than those guard rails

    4+
  3. 3457fl

    The 560SL has a all aluminium 5.6 dual overhead cam V8 with 227 HP, the euro 500 V8 produces a bit more HP. I bought one with the intention of dropping a LS / 5-speed in it but it had a very nice engine in it just needed some TLC. They are on the rise with quite a few going back to the homeland where they were never sold, only built for export. The thing I hate is they are only auto and it begs for a 5 speed. There was a company doing a 5-speed bell housing for 2,800 euro :O.
    Did do the small bumper swap with 72 350SL bumpers and euro lights makes it look quite a bit better. Price on this is not bad depending on rust and hidden rust. They rust quicker then anything I have ever seen and are quite over engineered. Might be the only car I make money when I go to sell.

    1+
    • KEN TILLY

      3547.
      I have had several of these 107 Mercs from the 280, 350, 450 and 500 models and the only serious rust that I ever encountered was immediately above the headlights, and this was only because the mud and water thrown up from the road got trapped above the headlight bucket under the fender, and couldn’t be accessed other than by a pressure washer. As for performance, the 280 was a gutless wonder, the 350 was good, the 450 was a gas guzzler but the 500 was a beaut. I envy the eventual buyer.

      0
  4. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    These are definitely on the rise at No American auctions, where European buyers are bidding them up for export back to Europe, especially Germany.

    They have one of the most solid feeling chassis I have ever driven, but the results of the chassis tuning and the auto transmission is that they feel pretty soft. I am guessing that the M-B engineers held their noses and tuned the suspension for the No American market. Stiffer shocks should help.

    If you want one, now is the time. These are going the way of the 1st generation M3: up, up, and away. Never so cheap again as right now.

    1+
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      I agree Dolphin,
      My wife and I have a Euro spec 280 SL, 1985. Wonderfully solid but a little soft. Still a pleasure to drive.
      I also feel you are correct on the rising market for these.
      Currently, they (and the rest of the mid range collector market) are a little soft on the sales but will come up and follow their 113 brethren.

      0
  5. leiniedude

    Gotta love that third brake light.

    0
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      not… lol

      2+
  6. Dt 1

    . 135000 miles on that car ready for an overhaul get ready to spend more money

    0
  7. donaldjones

    Mercedes could not decide wheater they wanted a luxury car ,or a sports car , over engineered and under powered , they finally got it right when they added the v12 this is a true sports car with the power to match , donaldjones@fuse.net in my opinon this v8 is better than a strait 6 but still over priced .

    0
  8. Jeffrey;L. Zack

    Either the seat covers are aftermarket, or they were installed in haste. Those wrinkles are not acceptable.

    1+
  9. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

    The situation with the damage to the drive floor is that the company that did the damage is no longer in business.. went out soon after the the problem was discovered about a month ago. The owner now just wants to move her on so he can get into an Aston Martin. I sold an MG TD/C for him several months ago and with this car sold and some cash, he’ll be able to get into that car. He was fed up and didn’t want to pay the body/paint place to fix the floor issue (it was my recommendation that he do so).
    What we have here is a great car that can be hopped into and driven and enjoyed.
    These 107’s were called the Panzer, after the famous/infamous German tank.. and these cars are built like them. Saying these are in need of an overhaul at 135K miles is like saying the same about a Toyota motor. With proper maintenance, that this car has had, they’ll easily get into the 200,000 mile range.

    Any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask,

    Talk soon,

    1+
  10. Brakeservo

    Yes, 135,000 miles is probably no reason for concern, unless these were also prone to timing chain issues. But the upholstery with the wrinkles is terrible.

    0
  11. Dan h

    Just picked up a mint W107 a few months ago from a well known musician (sadly,who just passed).
    What a wonderful,wonderful ride! Yes, the 450 variant drinks gas but what a way to role down the road! Buy these 107’s now, they are well on there way to Pagoda territory.

    0
  12. Snowman

    Timing Chain GUIDES. It wasn’t so much of a chain issue, but Guides. Replace the guides before failure and you’re good to go. The ’87 SL560 did not have a 5 Litre V8, but a 5.6 Litre (5547 cc). The North American U.S. EPA compliant engine was rated at 230 hp. They are fine automobiles and with proper care, 135,000 miles is nothing for that V8. Personally, I would pass on one that had ‘split floor pan damage’ with riveted sheet metal patch. Makes me question other maintenance decisions. The big R107 was always one of my favorites in the 420, 500 (Euro), and 560 designation.
    BTW, I just sold a SLICK 1992 R129 (5.0 32 valve V8 rated 322 hp) for less. I had owned that garage kept TN car for 5 years and drove it from 76k to 83k original miles. White with Light Grey leather. They are quite substantial Roadsters, and are a joy to drive. The ’92 500SL originally sold for more than $100,000. Mercedes Benz dealers remember that when/if you need a part.

    0

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