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Rare Koenig Special: 1981 Mercedes-Benz SL

The year 1981 approximately marks the low-point of 1980s American automotive performance, a slumber that lasted from the mid-’70s to the mid-’80s while manufacturers came to grips with demands for lowered vehicle emissions and increased fuel economy. Onto that backdrop splashed this 1981 Mercedes-Benz SL Koenig Special. Located in Lochristi, Belgium, the widened Teutonic tuner car comes to market here on eBay offering shipping to several American ports included for the Buy It Now price of $26,000 USD. If that number for this partially-finished project car seems daunting, you can tempt the seller by clicking Make Offer. After covering 90,900 miles, the V8-powered mechanicals should have plenty of miles to give.

Credit the seller for showing this picture of the bare interior showing signs of age but nothing of grave concern. Many enthusiasts might prefer a manual transmission to the automatic, but Mercedes-Benz and the (now in-house) tuner AMG have historically delivered the most potent models with automatics.

Wide-body kits were all the rage in the 1980s, often adding weight and subtracting performance from otherwise unmodified cars. In the case of the Koenig, the kit allows wider wheels and tires for improved handling, and the Compomotive three-piece wheels on this classic are professionally restored and shod with new tires… one less worry for the new owner.

Based on the R017 two-seater SL, the Koenig Special adds Ferrari F40-style slats leading to the flared rear bodywork. On the F40, these functional elements direct air to the mid-mounted engine, and on the Koenig, they simply look awesome. One picture, presumably of this car, shows what looks like a vestigial rear seat, but normally that feature is reserved for the platform-sharing C107 (SLC) version.

According to 1000SEL, Koenig fitted some of the 50 Koenig R017 cars with a supercharged 5.0L V8 making 320 HP, but this looks like a stock 3.8L M116 V8 that made 204 HP during a year when the Chevrolet Corvette made 190. Those numbers may seem yawn-inducing today, but in context, this Koenig Special broadcast that its owner enjoys arriving in a unique, eye-catching custom, and the V8 sound fits the part. Why go from 0-60 in less than six seconds if people can’t see you doing it? Will you pony up $26,000 to finish the restoration of this rare German tuner-car?


  1. alphasud Member

    If one were to pay 26 large for a basket case of a car that in a former life that had some show (for someone) but no go then I have ocean front property in Arizona I can sell you! Save your money and buy a nice 560SL that you can enjoy right now. If the spirit moves you buy a body kit and dress her up.

    Like 10
    • Abi Projects

      AMG prayed they could do something like this. This car is Amg times 10.

      Like 0
  2. Philip Levy

    The slats were reminiscent of the Testarossa not the F40. Though ironically on the Koenig Testarossa slats were removed.

    Like 3
  3. J_Paul Member

    My mom owned an ’84 380SL, in the same silver blue as the background car in these photographs. While it was a very nice car, it was definitely a relaxed cruiser…and not a hard-core sports car at all.

    So the idea of slapping fender flares and Testarossa-style strakes on an SL seems really out of place, like putting chocolate sauce on a filet mignon. Both of those ingredients are good, but aren’t meant to be part of the same dish!

    Like 9
    • Skorzeny

      It’s almost as if they watched a little too much ‘Miami Vice’, while drinking.. The market for something that looked like this has, not sadly, passed…

      Like 2
  4. DayDreamBeliever DayDreamBeliever

    If the hokey bodywork doesn’t prevent you from getting a closer look, one glance at the contents of the passenger footwell will send most people running far, far away.

    Looks like someone contracted a restore of sorts, but either ran out of cash or desire to see it completed.

    At half the price, the seller might find some interest. But not from me….

    Like 1
  5. Paul in Ma

    Look at one of my favorite sites 1000sel.com

    They have a nice sections on these http://1000sel.com/index.php/koenig-specials/mercedes-r107-sl

    I love 80s coke type cars

    Like 3
  6. Daniel Gavin

    26 large for this? I want whatever it is the seller is smoking!!
    Give me a break……the numbers some sellers throw out there are
    just crazy.

    Like 1
    • Poppy

      The price includes “shipp(ing) in enclosed container from Antwerp,” Belgium. No thanks.

      Like 0
  7. Gary hunter

    Lovely car . The customizing is absolutely tragic .

    Like 0
  8. Howie Mueler

    I always say, you can ask anything and not get it.

    Like 0
  9. Stan Marks

    Dust bucket…..

    Like 0
  10. John

    Too ugly!

    Like 0

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