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Euro-Spec Manual: 1982 Mercedes 280SL

A few days ago, a junkyard owner who knew I liked old-school German cars mentioned to me he had a Mercedes come in that was too clean to scrap. In my mind, I had already worked it out to be a Euro-spec, manual transmission, V8 car that somehow slipped past the Connecticut motor vehicle registry; in other words, something similar to this 1982 280SL here on eBay that has all of these features sans the eight cylinders. Bidding is over $14K with no reserve.

The car in question turned out to be a U.S.-spec 1980 350SLC. So, an interesting car because of the pillarless coupe body, but otherwise not my cup of tea with an emissions-strangled eight-cylinder and a sleepy three-speed autobox. This is where it’s at, in my opinion – it has to be European-market spec with those pretty bumpers, and of course, less stringent emissions controls.

Finding an R107 or C107 with a manual is near impossible, largely because U.S. market cars were never offered with one. Mercedes’ manual gearboxes are nothing to write home about, but it’s still a better option than a vintage slushbox. This 280SL remains in outstanding condition, with beautiful carpets, an uncracked dash, and seats that appear to have seen little use.

Enthusiasts like the M110 six-cylinder for the lower weight over the V8 cars, making for a particularly lively chassis when combined with the manual gearbox. The seller notes a recent extensive tuneup has left the Mercedes running better than ever, and with under 100,000 miles, there’s lots of life for the next owner to enjoy with manageable costs of ownership.


  1. Avatar photo Hoos Member

    Of the Mercedes roadsters, this body style isn’t my favorite. That said, the Euro specs of this car make me want it. Now, where did I leave that $20K?

    Oh, I don’t have it.

    Like 3
  2. Avatar photo Francisco

    No AC!

    Like 1
    • Avatar photo Keruth

      Just stay out of traffic, don’t need no stinkin’ ac in a ‘vert!
      This one is for me too, Think $20k would get it?
      $14.8k w/21/2 days left.

      Like 3
      • Avatar photo Francisco

        I beg to differ. Try staying cool in a “vert” if you drive in (or out of) Dubai traffic. Also, this is a grand tourer. Don’t ever expect it to handle like a sports car, with or without the stick.

        Like 3
    • Avatar photo Tom Justice

      You don’t expect to see a MB without AC but no AC is quite common in a European spec car.

      Like 1
  3. Avatar photo 86_Vette_Convertible

    Have to say I’m not into MB’s, but I like this one. The wife would ‘love’ to have a 2 seat roadster but would hate this one due to the manual tranny (though I’d likely have fun with it). If it’s in good mechanical condition I suspect (thought I don’t know) it would be a decent deal.

    Like 1

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