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Koenig Conversion: 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SL

As a child of the 1980s, there is a certain style of automotive tuning that I find enormously appealing. You have to realize that in 1988, when bookstores were still a thing and you associated buying a hardcover with some sort of achievement, that almost every car book about imports had some aspect of “tuner” culture inside – and I can tell you that the company known as Koenig was almost always represented in those coffee table books. This 1983 Mercedes-Benz 500SL here on eBay is a European-market model that’s been given the full treatment from Koenig shortly after it was purchased new.

Koenig’s style is definitely not for everyone, and I find many enthusiasts don’t like the wildly flared fenders and deep dish wheels. If nothing else, however, like a piece of art that draws numerous reactions from across the spectrum, Willy König’s creations were all done to a very high standard. The bigger issue as I see it is that numerous cheap copies of the iconic Koenig style have caused enthusiasts to lump every car with custom side strakes into the same category of being a cheaply-made aftermarket special. The copies, yes, but the actual Koenig Specials were built for customers with exacting tastes and demands.

Koenig Specials also saw their interiors get some custom touches as well, and I’m truthfully surprised to not see a set of color-matched period Recaros inside. Many of the Koenig cars had wild bucket seats with power controls, including some sport seats that bore the Koenig namesake (no idea if they were one in the same.) That would be the one detail I’d change here, as a set of deeply sculpted Recaro seats is practically a necessity with a Koenig car. Regardless, the details were top-notch then and they remain impressive today, as the condition of the cardinal red leather seats appears to be excellent.

This 500SL was delivered new to its first customer in southern Germany, who didn’t drive the car before sending it off to Koenig for an extensive cosmetic overhaul. It remained in Europe until 2021, which I hope indicates that it retains its “dirty” European-spec engine, free from restrictive emissions equipment that saddled U.S. cars (as well as the European headlights seen in the listing photos). The list of improvements made by Koenig is quite lengthy, which is made all the more impressive by realizing that those bodykit components and other upgrades added in the early 80s survive in excellent condition today.

Comments

  1. 8banger 8banger Member

    Eww…

    Like 8
  2. Rick R

    $39,500.00 OBO seems a little stiff for a car that old that’s probably not much of a collector here in the US and probably wont appreciate much either. I kind of like the car, but I personally wouldn’t spend 30K on it. Hopefully I may be all wet and some lucky buyer out there will get the car of their dreams.

    Like 6
    • Mongoose

      Agreed, luv the 345’s but the wing turns me off, its not a 911!

      Like 5
  3. Davey Boy

    Three things wrong with this car.
    1. It needs to be black on black but that’s the least of its problems.
    2. It’s a convertible. Being a Koenig it should be a hardtop. Not sure if it’s a real one or just someone’s clone but either way it should be a hardtop.
    3. By far the worst thing wrong with this one is the fact it’s an automatic. If your making a Koenig, real or clone, it really should be a stick shift. It’s supposed to be a race car of sorts and unless it’s a quarter mile straight liner then it should have a stick. I know people will disagree with me but just wanted to voice MY opinion. Just think how much cooler it would look black and how much more fun it would be to drive as a stick. A very nice car but not worth the asking price in my opinion

    Like 8
  4. SirRaoulDuke

    Comes complete with Crockett and Tubbs busting you with ten keys of Pablo’s finest in the trunk.

    Like 17
  5. Lukin R.

    Boy, it is ugly!

    Like 6
  6. DVSCAPRI

    Jeff, I agree with pretty much everything you wrote. Those that are Commenting that it should be Black – personally, I’d take the White over Black any day. That said, It should be a vibrant color. Not a fan of the red interior, but at least it’s not gray.

    Like 1
  7. Dan

    The modifications behind the cowl look cheap and the bumpers look low-rent as well. It’s obvious that Koenig’s mods were more for show than go, whereas modifications by AMG or Brabus have far more purpose.

    Like 0
  8. Michael Johnston

    Wow , if I could afford it , it would be mine.
    I M still regretting selling my 250C

    Like 0
    • Troy

      The add does say or best offer

      Like 0
  9. Gary

    Asinine.

    Like 0
  10. douglas hunt

    luv the front end…but sheesh that rear 3/4 view, only a mother could love that …..

    Like 0
  11. Phipps

    There is some drogas in that car somewhere. maybe even cash and other stuff haha

    Like 0

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