Euro-Spec Survivor: 1987 Mercedes 560SL

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Do you ever have a certain type of car seemingly always in your potential project car orbit? That’s how I feel about R107 Mercedes-Benz cars, as I’ve come across more than a few of them over the years that were tantalizingly close enough to make a play for. None of them were as nice as this Canadian market car, with features some desirable European-spec upgrades. Find the 1987 560SL here on eBay with bidding over $12K and no reserve.

The 560SL may look like a proper European-market car, but the seller mentions the word “conversion” which tells me someone swapped in the smaller bumpers and glass H4 headlights. No worries there, as it’s a big improvement over the standard-issue safety bumpers. The 560SL also sports the somewhat rare color combo of black over black, as Mercedes seems to love pairing almost any color exterior with a tan cockpit.

The longevity of this model is always readily apparent inside the car, as the modern airbag steering wheel keeps company with the old-school gauges that you’d find in a 1970s model. The seats weren’t exactly sporting when new, but these R107s and C107 cars weren’t intended to be corner carvers but rather grand tourers that likely still handled better than its domestic contemporaries. These iconic Mercedes drop-tops also look killer with a suspension drop over some period Penta wheels.

Now, if I were to buy one of these someday, I’d want a true Euro-spec car with a manual gearbox, and preferably the torquey inline-six. Marque experts actually contend the six-cylinder cars handled better than the V8 cars like this one due to the weight of the engine, but having never driven either, I can’t tell for sure. This 560SL does look like it’s been kept in excellent condition, and the color combo sure beats red over tan.

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  1. 408interceptor

    Now that’s an attractive car.

    Like 5
    • Andy

      A question for the knowlegeable Barn Find readers: how expensive is the upkeep and maintenance on these cars? I love the looks and the obvious quality, but am curious about ongoing costs.

      Like 0
      • Brad

        I have owned an ‘89 560 SL for 18 years and have found that as long as you take care of it and stay on top of maintenance items they are reasonable to operate. Most years only cost $200-300 to maintain. I’ve had a few $2K-3K years but those were replacing wear and tear items (tires, timing chain, transmission service, etc). Overall I think these cars are a great value as long as you buy a good one that has not been neglected

        Like 1
  2. peter r

    I’ve owned many of these over the years and have two lower mileage ones right now. Great cars to drive as cruisers – not a sports car. This one, assuming it passes a PPI, with the low miles and Euro conversion should be worth $20k+

    Like 0
  3. Audifan

    560 SLs were never offered in Europe.
    They only came to the usa and Canada with US DOT mandated bumpers and headlights.
    Few were delivered to Japan as LHD with small bumpers and Euro style headlights.
    This one was unfortunately “converted”.
    Only 6 cylinder R107s were available with a stick shift, with the exception of early 350 SLs which also came in manual.
    None of these were ever sold in N.America.

    Like 1
  4. peter r

    I don’t think it was unfortunately at all. lt looks much better to my eye. I’ve owned both 560SL and 500SL and prefer the Euro version as it had more power and looks better. I’ve owned them both off and on for more than 25 years.

    I always budget $2-4,000 per year for maintenance. Often spent less and occasionally more. Major repairs are not cheap but used parts are now common and aftermarket new parts are cheaper than Mercedes parts pricing – However I’ve had bad experiences with those made in China.

    These are wonderful cars and those with a service history and reasonable mileage are increasing in value. $15-20k should buy a nice one but I’ve seen them sell for up to $60k with very low mileage and excellent written history.

    Like 0

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