Classy Find: 1979 Mercedes Benz 450SL

left front

This 450SL looks like a really nice car. It’s a fresh barn find with only a bit over 100,000 miles. They aren’t terribly popular or valuable, but they are wonderful to drive. Besides using a generous amount of fuel, maintenance can be expensive, especially for a used one with deferred maintenance. This 450SL listed on craigslist looks hopeful, though. Whitefish, Montana seems like an unlikely place to find this car. The $8,000 asking price may seem high, but that’s actually low book. It’s just been serviced, so hopefully any deficiencies will be noted on the invoice.  It also has a new battery and new tires. There’s no rust or body damage but there are a few things needing attention.

console

The center console veneer has failed and needs attention, but the wood bits are usually available at the local Pick and Pull or Mercedes and the wood panels are easily swapped out. The SL console is the same as the sedans and pretty common.

seats

The top was replaced at some time but will has probably need a little attention. A hard top is also included. That plastic trim piece missing on the seat will be easy to find and snap on. The seller doesn’t provide any pictures of the driver’s seat, so perhaps he didn’t think of it or it could be selective photography. In either case, upholstery repairs are easy and inexpensive.

engine

Things under the hood look dusty but complete and unmolested in this picture.

rear

Overall, this looks like a really nice example of a 450SL. The paint, chrome and plastic all look great. I do wonder why there is a piece of tape on the trunk, tough. One won’t know for sure what mechanical issues it might have until a dealer or at least a Mercedes shop goes through it. These are really nice, smooth cruisers and would be great for weekend drives. This Mercedes will cost more than most old cars to maintain, but parts are easily available if a bit expensive. I’ve owned a number of Mercedes and would love to own this one. I look forward to seeing your comments.

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. Luki

    Plenty to choose from out there. Many nicer and with less miles at the same price.
    El Paso.

  2. Fred

    Seems strange but when I recently was looking for a classic, it was between one of these and a mid 60’s Thunderbird. Very glad I chose my ’66 TBird. I grew up with Fords and am able to do 90% of my own work (working on the interior right now, last week got all the gauges and power windows working, tackled a charging problem, etc). Had I chose the Mercedes, I would be at the mercy of an import shop for almost everything, due to lack of familiarity with the mechanicals, poor access, etc. Then there’s the parts prices. Alternator purchased from Mercedes Benz- $488.

  3. Doug M. (West Coast) Member

    So, also having an interest in Mercedes classics, I picked up an 83 380SL and a 92 500SL. They were a package deal, both priced for well under what this one’s asking price is. For the most part, I am a do-it-yourselfer, and so the challenge of taking on a large foreign V8 was intriguing. And, the fun part is, with the great online tech helps available, what looks like a crazy complex 500sl motor is really a pretty understandable undertaking when you just take one step at a time!

  4. Lennie White

    I love this car.It has the Class and Power one could ask for. And if well maintained, will only increase in value. There is Always someone looking to purchase an SL. I believe this is the Most restored car in America.

  5. angliagt

    Seems to be a lot of interesting cars for sale in the
    Kalispell,Montana area,at one time or another.
    Used to be that there were great deals to be had,
    until Californians migrated there.

  6. Peter R

    I’ve been driving Mercedes, among others, since 1984 – the R107 models are very solid cars – maintenance can be expensive but with care they run forever. Not really a sports car but as a cruiser there are few better.

  7. Jeff V.

    Had a ’78 450SL that had the updated 560 kit (trunk light, air dam) and 90’s rims. I luved everything about it! Maintenance was not bad, common problem was the fuel accumulator needed replacement. Pic is of a very similar one!

  8. ClassicCarFan

    I agree with the general comments above…We currently have a 380SL which I service and fix when necessary. It’s a mix of good and bad. The underlying quality of the engineering is very good but they have a few well-known faults. I haven’t found the car too hard to work on and parts aren’t hard to find, but in cases where you can only buy the genuine Mercedes parts, they can be frighteningly expensive. For example, I think ours is going to need new rear sub-frame mounts sometime soon and they are over $500 a set (That’s just to buy the parts – they are not too hard to fit). None of the alternative manufacturers like Moog or Energy Suspension or whoever, seem to offer them.

    The Mercedes is my wife’s sunny weather car. I’d agree it’s no sports car (especially the 380 version which is only a sluggish 155 bhp) but it is a classy looking cruiser and a lot of fun.

    They do seem to be cheap to buy but I’d say if you don’t feel you can do all your own work, an old one with a dubious service history and a few “issues” could end up being a bit of a money pit.

    I do often wonder whether these 107 models will really start go up in value one day especially when you consider the prices that previous generations of 190SL and 280SL are starting to reach? I guess the fact that the 107 was sold in huge numbers counts against them, but as the scruffy neglected ones start to get weeded out and scrapped, the really good ones might become valuable ? who knows.

  9. tr

    when will the 450SL start to pop….it wasn’t long ago 15 years ? 280SLs where same boat no there top $

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