Left in Storage: 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SL

If we were to assemble a list of the classic cars most likely to be left in storage, the Mercedes-Benz R107/C107 cars are definitely in the top five. The seller claims this 1980 450SL was found forgotten in storage with just under 150,000 miles on the clock, which doesn’t surprise me at all considering how many of these were purchased as second or third cars and then hardly used as the owner’s retirement years wore on. This example is said to run but has some rough idle issues to sort out, and it comes with both tops but the soft top is in unknown condition. The color is at least a selling point, as it seems most of these were red. Find the tired 450SL here on eBay where it’s offered with no reserve and bidding has reached $3,550.

The color really sets this R107 apart from the legions of tired convertibles littering craigslist at any given time. The seller doesn’t highlight any issues with the bodywork, and it appears to be reasonably sound from this side of the screen. Of course, those tacky chrome fender lips that were all the rage in the 1980s could be hiding some ugliness underneath, as they love to trap moisture over time. The Mercedes resides in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, which fits the narrative that it belonged to a retiree before being locked in storage. The Mercedes wears classic Bundt alloy wheels that look to be in good shape, and it’s fitted with the ugly U.S.-spec safety bumpers.

The interior is also holding up, but that’s not surprising given the reputation that Mercedes interiors of this era have for durability. The seats show some light signs of wear but no major damage is captured in photos. The floor mats with the model nomenclature sewn into the surface is a must-have staple if you’re restoring one of these; seemingly every Mercedes from the 1980s has had these floor mats inside at least once in its life. The seller reports that the power windows work but that he has not attempted to use the cruise control or the air conditioning, which is code for they probably don’t work and I don’t want to find out. 

Underneath presents more good news for anyone considering throwing a bid at this no reserve specimen, as the floors look to be in excellent shape with no signs of rot poking through. The seller notes this was the last year for the 450SL model, which got buyers a V8 engine paired to an automatic transmission. Power outputs were not particularly generous at this point, so the V8 doesn’t necessarily translate into big power; in fact, some model enthusiasts would even tell you that the inline-six offered in many European market cars is a more responsive engine, largely due to the lower curb weight of those cars not saddled with loads of safety-related equipment. Overall, you can’t go wrong with one of these for a cheap classic, and the unique colors make this one a more attractive example than many of the other convertible projects languishing on the classifieds pages.


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  1. Terrry

    You’re right about the V8 power in these. I test drove an SL560 and that thing could barely get out of its own way. I imagine this car would be the same, since it too is saddled with smog gear. Still, I like SL’s of this vintage and this car looks very nice. It would be a bargain if bidding stays reasonable

    Like 3
  2. alphasud Member

    I agree on the color combination. I definitely prefer this over red, silver, or beige. Expect to spend several thousand to replace the timing chain and guides. Most likely it will need a rebuilt fuel distributor and warm up regulator as well as other rubber parts. These cars with the low compression 4.5 engine were slugs with the 3 speed auto as well as thirsty. Car still deserves some love though. Get rid of those large bumpers, get it running smooth again and enjoy a leisurely cruise in the country.

    Like 2
  3. AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

    Yes, those who have said the twin cam inline 6 gives better response and indeed has just about the same HP as the 380/450, is correct, agreed to by someone who has one of the 280 SL 6 cylinders. Haven driven all the 107 series SL variants, the 280 handles better and out accelerates the 380/450 with relative ease.. she’ll even chirp second gear, when in D, shifting automatically. The 560 has much more torque and HP and will walk all over the 280. However, when it comes time to turn the steering wheel, the 280 with better weight distribution, takes it.
    Our Brigitta is currently running the stock Michelin M&S radial… I’ll be hard pressed to keep her “stock” when it comes times to replace them and not go with a “Summer High Performance” tire.

    Alphasud is right, get any of them running well and they are great touring cars and this one, in not often seen colors, definitely deserves to be cared for.

    Like 3
    • AutoArcheologist AutoArcheologist Member

      Something I forgot… The undercoat on these is so thick that often times looking underneath for corrosion won’t do it.. you need to press on many points, especially the front floor boards near the firewall, pull all the carpets and look from above. It’s rather easy for water to get onto the floors from the top side and due to the way the carpets are designed, not be aware of it. It sits and rusts the floors from the top side down. I had to replace a small piece of our passenger pan due to this. However, because the undercoat is so thick, even after the patch was complete, the undercoat stayed intact and you can tell from below that she was patched.

      Like 2
      • Jeff Smith

        Very true about the undercoating. I bought a ’73 450sl on Ebay the pictures looked just like this one. When I got it home it turned out that the entire floor was rusted out! I had to replace the floor pans on both sides. The strut towers are also known to rust away. I have learned to remove the headlight assembly and look at the inner bucket to see the extent of the decay in front.

        Like 1
  4. Jack Quantrill

    There are outfits that sell adapters to install the 350 GM engine. A quick fix for that tired V 8.

    Like 2
  5. Craigo

    I owned a 1974 450SL solid up to 100MPH. Well built and comfortable but be careful because Hitler’s revenge can get you on the wheel well lips so be extra carful that the chrome trim isn’t hiding anything!!!

    Love the wheels on this car plus it looks to be in excellent condition.


    Had a 76 450SL a few years back. Bought it off of a used lot close to home for 3500 otd.. Of course it was red with tan interior. Odometer had stopped at 100 and change, most gauges were non functional, heat was always on. Every time I drove it I felt like I was 5 miles from a $5,000 repair bill. It was a good cruiser, rode like a tank. Finally parted ways for 4k.

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