What’s This Mercedes 280SL Worth?

1970 Mercedes 280sl

Reader Keith C recently fell into possession of this Mercedes-Benz 280sl, but he has been struggling to value it. Knowing how knowledgeable this community is, he decided he would turn to you guys for help! From Keith – This 1970 280SL has 113k in miles. The engine runs well & shifts in and out of gear well. The brakes need some work. It has not been on the road in the past 15 years or so.  There is some rust damage primarily just below the driver side windshield and consequently on the floorboard on the driver side. Another spot in the lower left rim of the trunk.  The Canvas of the convertible top has a hole but the frame is intact. I would love some feedback from your guys as to what you think this car might be worth. I’m looking to sell, but I’m having trouble putting a number on it. So guys, what do you think his MB is worth?


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  1. Doug M (West) Member

    I am thinking the big question affecting value here is going to be the rust -noting the NJ window sticker. Of course, the 280 model is the best, but I hear the restoration parts get real spendy. My first guess here is in the $15-25k range… considering the rust, paint and mechanical needs. However, I’ll be interested to see what the “regulars” post… I love all the good info that surfaces on various cars!

    Like 1
  2. NickF

    The first Benz I ever drove … I’d like to have it for $5k but I think it’s worth 5x that! Such a great car!!

  3. jagcarma

    I’ve dealt with a number of the SLs. Your rust is a serious issue, partly because it’s in unusual places for an SL. My advice would be to try for $15k and then run.

  4. Dolphin Member

    I’m no expert but those who are say these are worth a lot more than the later 4-headlight cars. Do a google search for selling prices of cars like this that have sold in the recent past.

    Or you could add some photos of the rest of the interior, the trunk, the floors with the mats and carpets removed, and put the car on Ebay with a high enough reserve that you won’t be disappointed if it should sell. That should give you a good idea of the interest.

    The current Sports Car Market Guide gives a price range of $80K-$150K for these cars for excellent, near-perfect examples. This car will not come close to those numbers because it needs total restoration with lots of expensive metalwork and lots of other kinds of work, and that will hold the price way back.

    Paging the experts Horse & Rancho……..over to you.

    Like 1
  5. Dan Almashy

    I’m not up on the 280 models but, about a years or so ago, I bought a 1986 560 SL that has about130k miles on it but, it’s been kept up, I didn’t have to do anything to it. It runs great. Tires like new, paint may be fairly new because it’s nice. I gave 5k for it. I’ve looked online and on ebay and have seen them be priced from about 5 to upwards of 15 k or so but, Its hard for me to say one is worth more than about 7500. I feel thats about all mine is worth. Now, if it was super low miles and garage kept and maintained, maybe the upper limit. I don’t have a hardtop for mine but, I’ve seen them be about a grand or so and saw one which I just missed buying for 800 last year. so far I haven’t needed it as we like riding it as a convertible. I’d say looks online on ebay, trader online, several other sources and see what folks are asking for them and compare conditions….

    • Doug M. (West) Member

      Dan, I think there are some hardtops here in oregon for under $500. but then, I’m not sure how far way you are. (tradin.shells@gmail.com)

      • Dan Almashy

        I’m in Danville, Virginia. I’ve seen a few tops but we really haven’t had a desire for one, we only drive it some in summer….other than that garage or carport kept. Thanks!

  6. Skip

    Pagodas are still hot

    I think 15-20k but more wouldnt shock me.

    rust is the issue


  7. Terry

    IMO $6,500 would be a fair price to ask. The rust issues are always more extensive than they appear. A safe investment would be to get it dependable and leave the rest to the next owner, the cost of a total restoration would exceed its worth by 25%, or more.

    • MikeG

      $6500 would be a give away these days!

  8. craig vachon

    In #2 shape, I think this car could be worth $50k. As long as mechanicals are solid, it’ll take $25-30K to bring this car up-to a #2 condition IMHO. SO it is probably worth $15-20K if you are a prudent buyer.

  9. Jimbosidecar

    I would say in the $15,000-$20,000 as is with the rust issues. Fix those and you’ve got a $40,000-$50,000 car

    Like 1
  10. Keith C

    Thanks Doug, Nick, Dolphin, Dan,Terry and Jim!
    I really appreciate the time you took to respond to this as well as the insight you all brought. there is definitely some good stuff there to ponder, thanks again and thank you Barn Finds!

  11. Graham

    I had one a few years ago and regret letting it go, but I did replace it with a 66′ E-type so I am ok, but I am in the market for one.
    A friend just sold a next to perfect 1967 250SL here in Ontario, for $90k US. this was a right hand drive car that is now being shipped to England.
    Your car should sell for minimum $20k US, if you will let it go that cheap……get in touch.

    • Keith

      Hello Graham,
      I have not put it on the market yet. I thought I would first check to see if you are serious regarding your comment. Thank you for taking the time.

  12. Danger Dan

    There was a green jalopy featured here that sold for $20grand. $6500? That’s 1980’s prices. I sold one recently for $8grand that was in a million pieces and the body was Swiss cheese with big chunks sliced out. I sold that car to a dealer that sold it to a dealer and…. that’s a mid 30’s car at least right there, 7 days a week, in the current market upswing.

  13. Horse Radish

    I have dealt with Mercedes for 30 years , I know the market, and I know the cars.
    I will not spend the time to deliver a free appraisal here.
    I am however forming a Mercedes interest group and plan on offering connections and resources worldwide within the next couple of months.
    Without giving expert advice….how about this ?:
    Call up or send e-mail to Gullwing motors and/or Beverly Hills car club and ask what they would offer. Send them photos to wet their appetite
    My guess is that they will want you to commit to a number of your own, that they can pounce on, nail you down with , then they would send the money in 2 hours and pickup the car in 2 days.
    ASK what they will offer.!!
    IF THEY WILL ACTUALLY GIVE YOU A FIGURE , multiply that by 3, 4, 5 or more (until you are well into 5- figure territory) and you have your car’s value.

    • Jason

      “I will not spend the time to deliver a free appraisal here.”

      I hope you don’t spend the time to plug your own venture here, either.

      • rover

        Good one Jason

      • Horse Radish

        Really ? a good one , Jason.
        Not knowing anything about the person you’re addressing it is much easier to project your own attitude or views.

        And yes, that is why I hate the “SL crowd”. For ‘them’ it’s always about the money as you are so eloquently hinting (or accusing me).
        AND that is NOT what I do.
        I have collected old cars from when NOBODY WANTED THEM.
        Now I got smart asses in front of my door on a daily basis wanting to buy the same cars, because they smell a (huge) profit, and insulting my intelligence.
        So, if you don’t mind I will throw you into that bunch.
        Have a nice life..

        Like 1
  14. B. Cristalli

    Hagerty gives an average value of $70,000 with a maximum of 160k.
    This one should fetch a bit under 50k, sight unseen.

  15. DRV

    It would take 30k to bring it up To a 40k car easily. So, I would ask 10k and get her gone….so much work here with expensive people and parts that I wouldnt touch it. I had a 280 5 speed for a while and loved it , but then it’s needs were little.

  16. geomechs geomechs Member

    I like this style of MB and sure wouldn’t turn one down. This one looks good at first glance but in this case looks can be deceiving. There’s some structural rust that’s going to be a major battle to repair. MB drive trains are expensive but fixable; they’re not much different than anything else that contains pistons, gears and fuel system. But that body will have to be stripped completely down to undergo what it needs. I’d guess the rust repairs alone to be well into five figures. All fixed up you could have a car that’s well into six figures.

  17. GarWood

    The market for this Benz is between $18-$22k as it sits. The rust is a minor set back due to the fact they make every replacement panel for these vehicles. Fully restored, the car will be in the $65-$90 market. After the 300sl and 190sl, these are the next hot Benz to appreciate.

  18. Bckiernan

    While in better condition, I sold my ’69 4-speed for $28K 3 years ago. With the current interest, this is a $30k car but not surprised if it sold for more…

  19. RonB

    Put it on eBay with a reserve of out of site number 50K.
    Post LOTS OF PHOTOS. 50-70
    Give them a cell number – start the phone bidding war.
    If you reach reserve – excellent – if not sell after hours.
    It will need a bit of “work”
    Good Luck

    Very nice ones are approaching 220k.
    30 Foot went for 98K

  20. MARTIN

    I would say $15,000 and that figure seems to be backed up it is true the rust will be worse than illustrated.
    I have restored several of these, MB oem parts are not cheap and non oem sometimes don’t fit……

  21. JTNC

    It’s “worth” what someone will pay, but I think $15K – 20K is a reasonable asking price even with the rust, assuming decent mechanical condition. The hardtop alone is probably worth $3K!

  22. rover

    Nice auto , shame you can not keep it.

    After studying your description and pics I had a figure of usd 15-20k sell it fast in mind.

    Next I checked what the fellow barn finders had to say and was glad to see a variety of positive counsel covering a wide range of physical observations along with a wide range of sale prices.

    Yes the rust is terminal, yes there will be areas you will not see with best of photos, to perform a complete ground up resto and eliminate all the cancer will cost a wheel barrow full o $$ (unless you can do the work yourself).

    One reader advised a starting price of 50k…try it you never know until you try..in the last 2 years the SL prices have gone crazy and half the crazy equation are buyers…

    One thing from the MB fanatics side – we like to see many photos, we like to hear about matching engine, trans, and differential numbers. Original paint codes…history of the auto, how many owners where?etc.

    If you have not already, take a digifoto of the VIN plate, send it off to Tom Hansen at MB Classics and ask for a copy of your cars build or data card which came with the auto from the factory…

    Good luck

    • Keith C

      Thanks Rover, yes I wish I could keep it unfortunately I just don’t have the cash to fix it the way it should be. I spoke today to the second owner (the person I received it from) she bought it in 1973 and had it repainted soon after from it’s originally red to this color. The work was done at a MB dealership in Danbury Connecticut of course using an authentic MB color. Thank you for the tip regarding Tom Hanson, I will do that. Thank you for taking the time to advise me I really appreciate it!

      • rover


        Glad to be of help -wish I had the cash to just buy it from you – the oil crash has effected my prime business negatively…which on the positive side has given me much more time for the collection and fellow motorheads.

        Fascinating that you are in contact with the second owner who seems to have owned the auto for most of its life…

        Write back off this forum I have 40 years living, working, driving, and trading in MB of the 50’s and 60’s.


    • Horse Radish

      Too much wrong information on a car you’ve never seen

      • Jason

        C’mon dude, stop trolling.

  23. Keith C

    Thank you guys for taking the time to post your thoughts! You’ve given me plenty to think about along with some sound advice. If this forum allows, I will reach out in the future to let you know how this turn out. Cheers

  24. Dan Almashy

    I found a 75 model on craigslist,…>http://daytona.craigslist.org/cto/4999068154.htmlhttp://fortmyers.craigslist.org/col/cto/5002825833.htmlhttp://miami.craigslist.org/mdc/cto/4994318476.html<..

    Looks like there is a variety of conditions and prices and also those who do and those who don't know what they have or the other side of the coin, think they have more than they do..thanks to the televised auctions where millionaires throw away a lot of money just to brag that they beat someone in bidding..LOL..

  25. Jonathan

    the resto experts at MBUSA in Montvale have said to me that a Pagoda roof 280SL like the one you have could command as much as $20,000 in restorable condition..They also said that put it right depending on the amount of work that needs to be done could be between $10k and $20k on average..

    I had a 1969 280SL a few years back when I found this out and I have been keeping up on the values every few months since and there hasn’t been much price flucation at all

  26. Horse Radish

    Everybody has an angle, their own agenda.
    If you ask the ‘experts’ they will give you figure that will allow for their profit (including $100+/hr shop time).

    The rest of it is hype, speculation, greed and whatever else.

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