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Classified Find: 1994 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL Roadster

I know that it’s winter, and I know that it probably isn’t the best time of year to consider buying a classic convertible. However, is there anything wrong with being prepared? Winter will eventually end, and once the warm weather sets in, hitting the road in a car like this 1994 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL Roadster sounds like a tempting proposition. The beauty of the 500 SL is that it provides striking good looks, stunning performance, and enough luxury to make any journey feel like a special occasion. If that sounds like a winning proposition, you will find the Mighty Merc located in Polk City, Florida, and listed for sale here on Barn Finds Classifieds. You can drive this beauty away for a mere $5,500.

When you look at the 500 SL directly from the side, you see a car that appears to have clean and conservative styling. When you start looking at it from an angle, you begin to realize that this might not be any automotive wimp. The pumped wheel arches hint that there might be some muscle behind this classic. Those arches are crammed full of shiny 16″ factory alloy wheels, which appear to be in perfect condition. The Red paint shines beautifully, while the Beige soft-top is in excellent order. The trim above one headlight is broken, but that’s about the only noticeable flaw with the exterior. The rest of it presents superbly and is guaranteed to turn heads wherever it goes.

Here’s the muscle that would seem to justify those big factory wheels and the pumped external appearance. We find that residing under the hood is a 4,973cc 32-valve V8, pumping out a healthy 315hp. Those rampant German ponies find their way to the rear wheels via a 4-speed automatic transmission. Safety and comfort are increased by the inclusion of power steering and 4-wheel power disc brakes with ABS. Does that make it fast? Just a bit! A 14.4-second ¼ mile ET makes the Merc a true Autobahn-stormer. It is refreshing that the seller doesn’t make any outrageously low mileage claims, with the odometer showing 105,000 miles. He says that the V8 runs strongly and that the transmission shifts smoothly. The 500 also rolls on reasonably new tires.

There’s no need to open the doors to get a look inside this classic. With the top down, the interior is there for the world to see. There aren’t many things to criticize inside the SL. It looks like the lid on the console has been replaced at some point because the color doesn’t match. Finding the correct replacement shouldn’t be difficult, although it might be possible to get this one refinished in the right color. There is some wear on the leather on the driver’s seat’s outer edge, but it is nothing dramatic. The rest of the interior presents well, which is an outstanding achievement when you are talking about upholstery and carpet that are this light. There is an aftermarket Bluetooth CD player fitted, but the original is included in the sale. As well as ice-cold air conditioning, the Mercedes comes equipped with dual airbags, power windows, power locks, power seats, cruise, and a tilt wheel.

Looking at this 1994 Mercedes-Benz 500 SL Roadster in profile doesn’t provide any real indication of the performance potential that hides below the surface. However, when you bury the right boot, this is a classic that would come to life in no uncertain way. Drive it sedately, and it would cruise with an eerie level of comfort, quietness, and refinement. There are probably faster classics on the market today, but on a “bang-for-your-bucks” basis, this is an affordable classic that is well worth consideration. Remember: Winter isn’t going to last forever.


  1. Avatar photo alphasud Member

    This SL offers a lot for the asking price. They are pretty complex cars and you have to be a good wrench or have the funds to pay a good Indy shop to keep them happy. 1994 is one of the years that MB had issues with wire harness deterioration so look for the parts label to see if the engine harness has been replaced. And like all used car purchases a PPI should be performed at your favorite shop before you buy it.

    Like 9
  2. Avatar photo Robb Roberge

    How is this considered a roadster, or did the owner take
    liberties with his ad. Since it has power windows, wouldn’t
    it be a convertible?

    Like 0
    • Avatar photo John Gates

      Mercedes-Benz classifies this as a roadster. Your mileage may vary.

      Like 0
  3. Avatar photo Super Glide

    Wheeler Dealers did a segment on a 500 SL and the main issue was timing chain tensioners and while you’re at it the chain. It’s not a terrible job, but if
    you’re a brake job and oil change guy, don’t. I believe these examples from the Fatherland insist on this being don at 100,000. If it isn’t done, it’s Stalingrad all over again.

    It’s a shame, this car should be worth more than this for all it has in it and the shape it’s in. They have reputation for high repair costs and that kills the price. I had a very clean 1997 BMW Z3 2.8 auto with 128,000 miles on it and it sold for 5 grand. It was a third of the car compared to this 500 SL.

    Like 2
  4. Avatar photo peter r

    Besides the wiring harness, the hydraulic cylinders on the top are another expensive and necessary repair.

    Like 3
    • Avatar photo CB Flynt

      The top cylinders seals will break and leak in 20 years. I helped a pal fix all of his cylinders in 3 days. Online tips helped a lot. We fixed a 94 320 cab in 3 days and 30 brewskis. It wasn’t impossible but you need some special sockets: m8 t30 torx plus mirror on a stick and a magnet
      Cyls are hard to reach and brutally tight
      You can make a living fixing seals when you see what dealers get

      Like 0
  5. Avatar photo John Oliveri

    Nothing like a Mercedes, under warranty that is, I’ve owned 5 so far, when the lease is up you return it, and get a new one, you don’t want an old one, I can’t afford to own a old one, it’s a rich guy’s hobby, there’s no gift here, unless your a mechanic, and have a friend in the parts department of a Benz dealer, buy a simpler used car, you can’t afford this

    Like 2
    • Avatar photo Stephen

      Spot on. I drive a Hyundai Tucson and own it only due to 5 year warranty. I lease a Jeep Wrangler. The toy is a Viper due to its ease to work on and the fact that they don’t break much. As well it’s pretty fast and you can row through the gears.

      Like 0

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