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31,000 Documented Miles: 1981 Mercedes 500SLC

While we try to avoid the high dollar cars on Barn Finds – especially in restored or over-restored condition – the survivor-grade examples are worth making an exception for. While still priced a tad aggresively, this 31,000 mile 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500SLC is a rare bird on our shores, especially in coupe form, known as the C107. These were the basis for Mercedes’ thoroughly entertaining foray into rallying, but this one here on eBay is destined for a collection.

This is a Euro-spec car (I like those, if you haven’t figured that out yet) and features a high-performance V8 that we didn’t see stateside. Every SL-series car that came to the U.S. was effectively de-tuned to meet our stringent emissions requirements, so this example is packing a robust 240 b.h.p. The 500SLC was top billing for a C107 car, but was only offered in the 1980 and 1981 model years. Mercedes then rolled out the W126 coupes shortly thereafter. Total production for the 500SLC stands at less than 3,000 cars.

As a car coming at the end of C107 production, this example features a 4-speed automatic, a nice upgrade over the 3-speed unit found in earlier cars. The low mileage means the interior is effectively mint, and also features some desirable Euro-spec assets: the steering wheel, cloth seats and fire extinguisher mounted under the driver’s seat are all hallmarks of a true European market vehicle, as our cars were loaded with heavy leather seats and far less interesting steering wheels – and you can forget about a fire suppression system!

Perhaps most interesting to me is this car still sports its original speedometer, which measured out in kilometers. Other niceties include the AMG front air dam and wheels, and the period-correct rubber spoiler on the trunk lid. Though the $60,000 Buy-It-Now is a huge ask, this is a rarely seen model with impressively low mileage – the kind of car that doesn’t come along often. Factor in that it’s a true survivor and not restored and it becomes more tempting. Even so, the seller has left the option open to submit a best offer.


  1. Dolphin Member

    Nice low mile Euro version of the Mercedes 2-seater, but…..

    The SCM Guide says the recent median selling price for excellent condition 1980-’81 500 SLCs at auction in No America has been $28,100. At $60K the asking is more than twice that. Whether the low miles and claims in the Ebay listing make it worth it is a tough call. With the auto trans and relatively soft suspension these cars have, not for me.

    I have a problem with a seller who says “Serious inquiries only”. If you are selling a high end car for twice the going rate, maybe anyone who contacts you should be considered serious. In any case, you don’t know who’s really serious until he writes you the big check.

    • Bobsmyuncle

      LOL great point!

    • Solosolo KEN TILLY Member

      Might be worth that kind of money if it were a soft top.

  2. lawyer George

    Not cool enough to just show, so you drive it and the miles stack on an you just have an old Mercedes in a sea of other Mercedes .

  3. Scott Staff

    Reminds me of a older version of Dalton’s ride

  4. cliffyc

    They really don’t build them like this anymore!. These later models are nice and this one being Euro spec is great!. The cloth seats seem to wear really well too.

  5. The_Driver

    When I was a preteen, I used to prefer this cars to the SL’s. This sure is a nice specimen, but that price!

    Nice car, crack pipe price!

  6. David Miraglia

    Great car… way overpriced.

  7. MG-bakka

    Hi there,

    it isn t a european spec. it s a Japan market car!
    Japan spec. speedmeters had the red marking from 100km/h on!
    EU models do not have this.
    Seats are made of velour, an expensive option at that time.
    Many high spec. continental European models in the 70s, 80s were ordered with velour, not leather.
    The SLC was a 5 seater, not a 2 seater. It s 36cm longer than the SL 107.
    The handle is, like the aluminum wheels, from AMG.
    Front and rear spoiler (rubber-lip) were serial equipment on 450SLC 5.0 and 500SLC.
    The 450SLC 5.0 was produced in order to homologate the SLC for the 1978 World Rally Championship, featuring a new all-aluminum five-liter V8, aluminum alloy bonnet and boot-lid, and a black rubber rear spoiler, along with a small front-lip spoiler. (The 500SLC has just a steel bonnet/trunk lid)
    With just 1,636 cars 450 SLC-5.0 and 1,133 cars 500 SLC produced, these models are sought by collectors today, where the 5.0 is a bit higher valued one due the be the homologation model.
    though, the 500SLC is a rare bird,
    the price might be set for to keep it …

    Like 2
    • Dolphin Member

      So that’s what that odd red stripe is on the speedo. I saw it and thought it was unusual, since Germany isn’t known to get upset when people drive on the Autobahn at more than 100 KPH, so why a red stripe on the speedo?

      There are a lot of older cars being sold out of Japan, and if they are older than 25 years they can usually be imported into the US. Maybe that’s how this car got here.

    • jcs

      If it were a Japanese spec car, it would have right hand drive.

      • audifan

        Absolutely not.
        It’s considered showing utmost style driving a LHD car.
        Code 498 in the build sheet makes it a Version for Japan.

      • MG-bakka

        “normal cars “are mostly right hand drive, sure.
        But lots of import “luxary cars” are ordered in left hand drive spec.
        when having an import car, in a more conservative market than e.g. US market, is fancy, having it in LHD let even you neighbor who don t know nothing about cars understand that you are having a fancy import car! Not only german,italian or us-cars are ordered in LHD spec., but also brands like Jag., R.R. or Bentle, what are original RHD cars are ordered in Japan in LHD spec. !
        Japanese people also easier accept a LHD car in the 2nd hand market than for e.g. in the US or Germany.
        There are chances for getting a higher re-sale price for your car in LHD spec. cause most of the japanese used cars go after around 9 yrs into export, and in LHD spec. these cars are easier to sell abroad!

    • Rob

      Close. The 500SLC also had the aluminum trunk, the aluminum hood and aluminum rear valence. The 450SLC 5.0 was a homologation car for the world rallye championships, the 500SLC was a homologation car for group 2 rallye. Both competedandran well, though Mercedes dropped out of rallye at the time in protest. Both are very special cars, and are, in fact,the rarest of all post WWII Mercedes. The price on this car was actually not out of line for what it is, as it is not a standard 024 SLC at all. (Owner of 2286)

      Like 1
    • Shane

      Both 500SLC and the 450SLC 5.0 were mode for homologation, and the 500SLC does retain the aluminium bonnet and boot lid. The main difference between the 5.0 and the 500 was the move to a 4speed transmission.

      Like 1
  8. jesus bortoni

    A tad aggressively priced? A REAL BIG tad.

  9. Peter R

    Actually a low mileagr one recently sold at auction in Europe for $50k++ so not totally out of line. Actually this one looks better. Rare and valuable cars – prices of the best ones like this example will only increase over time

  10. Peter R

    Actually a low mileage one recently sold at auction in Europe for $50k++ so not totally out of line. And this one looks better. Rare and valuable cars – prices of the best ones like this example will only increase over time

    • MG-bakka

      if it is all original, maybe and then in an high end auction!
      But I think this one isn t, it looks to have had an respray, this mattish orangeskin around the rear left corner and side.
      Daimler painted these cars very well, as they were the top of the line products at that time!

      though, just what I can spot from the pics, havent seen that car in real!

  11. Mr. TKD

    Perhaps it’s priced so outrageously and marked “serious inquiries only” because the owner isn’t really interested in selling.

    • MG-bakka

      thats what I thought! lol!

  12. Fiete T.

    $60k? Started my morning with a good chuckle.

    Thanks, BF!

  13. bog

    According to ebay, it sold for 55K after be re-listed. Ca-ching “Another Angel got his wings…”

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