Would you run away from this one? - Mercedes-Benz Forum
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post #1 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 02:28 PM Thread Starter
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Would you run away from this one?

Hello r107 experts,

I've been lurking around here for some time, whilst I have searched for a SL450 on mobile.de. A car to ve driven in the spring/autumn in Denmark.

I love cars, but I am not technically skilled, nor have I bought a vintage car before. But I don't mind paying a mechanic to do some repairs and upgrades each season.

Challenge is, that I wanted a SL450 with manual aircon (not the automatic that "never works") and rear seats, in a REAL non-US version. They are little hard to find, and certainly not in Denmark.

I have been offered this SL450 from 1978/79. It was supposedly deliverered in Germany and later brought to the US and/or Canada (no books...only a title stating the last owner was from Indiana). Ended up back in Germany. Tacho says 62.800 miles, and the seller said it seemed accurate. It was delivered with rear seats, but somehow they disappeared over time.

The German seller seems like a good guy, and said it was in good condition.

The seller will:
- install rear seats and install 3 point seat belts in the back (seller already found some with only the middle missing).
- put new leather on front and rear seats with perforation.
- new armrest in matching color.
- put on FUCHS wheels, blasted and painted.
- fix aircon and make sure it runs on r134
- change speedo/tacho to km.
- change cracked wood trim around gear shift
- welding at spare wheel compartment
- minor work on brakes and axle rubbers.
- full service

The car is geographically quite far away from me, and so I have paid a mechanic to inspect the car. His photos and comments are attached, and another file with exteriour photos of the car at the link below.


I see a lot of rust, bad painting, cracked dashboard, etc. Should I leave it or is it worth the 28.000 I am asked for it?

Thank you!

Attached Files
File Type: pdf 450sl 1978-79_small.pdf (1.87 MB, 63 views)
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post #2 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 03:20 PM
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Sounds no good to me. Rust is bad and so is almost everything else. Run away.
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post #3 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 03:29 PM
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I think you'd be better off looking for something west of the Mississippi river in the United States. Ideally, something in California/Nevada/Arizona.

Don't buy something with suspect structural integrity that you never know when it'll surprise you with rust bubbles under the paint.

Also, if you want a challenge, see copart auctions and abetterbid.com for cars you can buy and get assistance shipping. There are a lot of interesting pieces out there that can make a nice project. And for something like $35 they'll do a video car inspection so you can get a better idea of what you are getting. That saved me from getting a car with pretty serious frame damage.

Or if you want something pristine, go to bringatrailer.com and wait for one to pop up.

Good luck!
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post #4 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 03:38 PM
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Sounds like a european delivery vehicle. That cute program where you can buy a car, tour stuttgart and the factory, and then drive around Europe for a few months on a grand excursion. It's a cool program.

With what you've written, I would confirm that mileage with a carfax.com report. You will get a good estimate of the car's age.

However, in my not so humble opinion: at 28K EUR I would run so far far away that you would end back up in the same spot. That price is not only a joke given the issues, but the rust will turn your already expensive car into a 40-50K EUR car. Even with all of the "nice" stuff that the previous owner will do. While i'd take the word of a German guy over an American's anyday, I still wouldn't trust all of those promises.

You would be better off taking that cash, flying to the US, find a better example of what you want, ship it back, and still have a few grand left over for purchasing stuff that you want.

OR given your budget for vehicles, have you considered visiting the SL Shop in the UK? They have vehicles that are not only incredibly nice, but they would also be willing to do the stuff you're asking for. I would check there as well.

You may want to reconsider your aversion to the automatic climate control. They're very robust and work quite well even after all of these years. It would open up your options in terms of vehicles considerably.

Good luck
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post #5 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:23 PM
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For 28k Euros you could come to the US (maybe Arizona in the winter?) mad find a 107 to your liking. Plenty of 380’s for instance in great shape that all in can be had for $10-12k pretty regularly w documented mileage in the 70k mile range and no rust. Perhaps a bit more w documented services that are up to date.

Back seat can’t really be used except for a small child but if you like the looks the seats can be found and easily installed.

Price seems high but can’t speak to ease of this transaction
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post #6 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:39 PM
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Although being from Maine,to me the rust is not that bad. But,that being said it is way over priced. That car is definitely under 10Kin the US...
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post #7 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 06:45 PM
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Why limit yourself to the 450? (It is 450SL not SL450.) Not all European models had the automatic climate control systems. I have seen '86-'89 300SLs with the manual controls.

To me that rust is run don't walk away.
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post #8 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:00 PM
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For 28K Euros, I'd run away unless every last it of rust was fixed and the work guaranteed - and then only if a thorough inspection found no rust remaining at all, ever, period.

You can do a hell of a lot better for that price, even factoring in what it will cost you to import it from the uS.

"Engineered like no other car in the world." That's both a bug and a feature.
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post #9 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 07:03 PM
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I would also point out that replacing the automatic temp controls is an easy job and there are remanufactured units readily available. Screwdriver and maybe 10 minutes and you can get a new temp control unit in a 380sl.

Unless the car is a daily driver the ac is unlikely to get much use. I use my heat a lot more than my ac. Heat extends the season. Ac only gets used when it is crazy hot and I’m in a suit or it’s rainy and hot.

I’d focus on condition over the temp control, but in the end the car needs to make you happy
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post #10 of 23 (permalink) Old 06-18-2019, 08:20 PM
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Run for your life.
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