I am no stranger to motor vehicles. On my 50th birthday my sister challenged me to write down all the vehicles I've owned since I was able to drive and I surpassed 52(I had to revise the list several times to add - part of getting old). The fun cars have included anything from Z28s, Trans Ams, Corvettes, MG Midgets, convertibles, hardtops, V8s, automatics, standards......
One of the early Euros was a 1977 BMW 320i which was an absolute blast and was a trade in at a Honda Dealership. This vehicle gave me the first real introduction to the European driving experience. Since then I've had a plethora of vehicles including a few MBs along the way(2000 SLK, 2002 E320 Wagon, 2008 ML350). But the one vehicle that kept getting away - whether it was timing or other issues, was the SL series. Different periods of what my wife calls "auto holism"I've missed opportunities on purchasing SLs from the 70s, 80s, and early 90s - until recently.
The one I finally found was discovered almost by mistake. I had just sold my 1976 "Disco" Corvette, and at the second was going to be content with our three cars. I was driving home from work one day and saw a 1973 450SL with a For Sale sign on it in front of a business that was hosting a Retirement sale. I stopped, and the owner of the business came out and greeted me. He offered me the keys and I took it for a drive. I was hooked from the second I turned the key. This event sparked a number of weeks of searching as I didn't want to buy the first one once the fever started, and after a number of disappointing finds (the 1976 with 30k miles and completely rusted undercarriage from driving winters, the 1972 with carved out dash, the multiple 1981-83 with single roller chains), I came back to the 1973 and asked to bring to my mechanic. He put it on the lift and I was very pleasantly surprised to see that there was very little to no rust at all on the under carriage. Brake lines were old, but not rusted, rubber, seals, welds all clean. Very clean bill of health. It had the hardtop, good soft top, original Becker Stereo radio, AC working, cruise control (not working at the moment), and the vacuum central locking still functional. The paperwork and history was all intact, and although 94k miles, was very clean, original paint and interior, I decided to make an offer and I ended up bringing it home.
This was a two owner car - in the paperwork it included the bill of sale, bill of laden (the original owner took ownership in Germany - drove it there - then shipped it back), and other original documents from when it was delivered to Florida. The second owner bought it in Central New York, where the owner spent summers in Skaneateles, and only drove it seasonally, on decent days. I promised him the same treatment for this vehicle going forward. It took me almost 35 years to get to this vehicle, so I hope the experience is as satisfying as it is every time I turn the key.
It took almost