No Reserve Euro Model: 1985 Mercedes 500SL

In the gray market surge of the 1980s, Mercedes’ R107 convertible was one of the most popular cars to be whisked through various ports of call with its pretty Euro bits still attached. One of the most desirable specimens were cars like this 1985 Mercedes-Benz 500SL here on eBay, which offered a more powerful V8 engine than U.S. models at the time. It’s listed with no reserve and six days left in the auction. 

Keep in mind: this being a 1985 model meant it was available before the 560SL showed up stateside. So if you were an R107 shopper in late 1984 and knew Europe had a V8 model with about 50 more b.h.p. than the next closest offering at your local dealer – well, if you had the right connections, gray market was the way to go. It’s worth mentioning the 500SL was still quicker than the later 560SL, thanks to the lack of emissions equipment.

The interior has held up remarkably well on this car, with an uncracked dashboard and leather seating surfaces that remain tear-free and clean. The seller doesn’t offer much in the way of details about its mechanical condition, but we can’t stop staring at those pretty chrome European-market bumpers and vacuum-controlled glass headlights, which were also specific to the Euro models. The rare-as-hens-teeth manual isn’t present here, but the automatics were at least reliable.

Strangely, the R107s still seem like they are way too affordable for their own good. These are livable classics that offer the kind of reliability 1980s Mercedes are famous for. And even in its gray market classification, most parts will still be relatively easy to track down. With its rust-free condition and no-reserve listing, this is one to watch if you’re hunting for a clean Mercedes cabriolet with manageable upkeep requirements.


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  1. john

    I’ll have one of those , please… (-;

  2. James B.

    I take it ! Just got a 4 seater 380 SL kinda rare . Europeanhead lights ? Rare .

  3. Ex Benzo Tech.

    I would take a look at the exhaust. If it has factory or “Midas” special with funky catalytics. Finding factory exhaust can and probably would be a pain.

  4. Luke Fitzgerald

    I think his mom should have written the ad

  5. Jack Quantrill

    I had a gray market 280SLC, four seater rigid top. Six cylinder in line with auto. Nice car, but could not find any buyers due to it being too unusual. Gave it to charity.

  6. John

    I’m confused. What is vacuum controlled in the headlight system? But this one looks like a real find for someone. I’d love it. My wife would ask if rear seat and two more doors could be added.

    • TouringFordor

      You can adjust the headlight aim from a wheel on the dash. It’s vacuum controlled.

      • John

        Thanks, I had never heard that before. I would love to bring this one home. It’s a great looking example of a really great looking car.

  7. David Miraglia

    always liked the design. No boy racer , no nonsense.

  8. Peter R

    already gone. I’ve owned two of threse in the last six years. Great cars and I regret selling them. I would have bid on this one.

  9. Greg Member

    Looks so much better with the European bumpers and headlights! Too bad it’s already gone.

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