Buying advice needed for 1981 380SL - Mercedes-Benz Forum

 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-29-2012, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Buying advice needed for 1981 380SL

I'm considering buying a 1981 380SL with 120k miles. Are these models prone to any specific issues I should look out for? Are they fairly easy to work on for a DIYer?

I have never owned a Mercedes but have always wanted one of these SLs.

Thanks.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 05:36 PM
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Sort of famous for timing chain issues.
They're pretty old, and if I were looking at this series, the 560SL is preferable.
Plan on an expensive hobby.
I'd go for the R129 (1991-2002) series, personally, much better handling, etc

Phil

Prior MBs:
1971 250, 1983 380SEL
1986 190E2.3, 1987 300TD
1994, 2003, 2005 SL500s
2001 E320 4Matic
2011, 2012 E350 4Matics
2012 S550 4Matic
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 09-30-2012, 09:33 PM
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I believe whatever factory flaws they have been, they already surfaced in last 30 years.
How is the car body and interior holding?
Engines last for long time and any weak points can be fixed, but good paint job alone usually exceeds the car value.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-01-2012, 05:08 AM Thread Starter
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The paint is in very good condition. The leather interior and soft top has been replaced within the last five years. They say it has a blown head gasket. I am willing to do that work, but I know I'm taking a risk that it might need a rebuild or another engine. But at the right price, I might be willing to take that risk.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-01-2012, 09:46 AM
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If you scroll around this forum you will find often mentioned wisdom
"there nothing more expensive than cheap Mercedes"
So do you homework carefully. Good paint and interior is sure good start, but did you research supplies of replacement engines?
How about calculations and pictures?
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-02-2012, 06:49 AM Thread Starter
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Good points. So what do you think this would this be worth if the paint and interior was in very good condition, but it needed an engine? Based on my research, I should be able to get an engine for about $2,200-$3,500. It looks like these cars are worth anywhere between $7,500-$15,000.
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