Date registered: May 2004
Vehicle: 1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
Location: Advance, NC
Mentioned: 23 Post(s)
Quoted: 1748 Post(s)
Depends on how long you want to hunt, and how much you want to pay.
Here are my thoughts:
- The ultimate R107 is the 500SL with manual transmission = good luck, I doubt you will find one.
- Next most desirable is the 500SL with automatic transmission = you should be able to find one but be prepared to pay.
- Next most desirable is the 280SL with manual transmission = you should be able to find one but be prepared to pay.
- Next most desirable is the 560SL then either the 380SL or 450SL ... BUT make sure the 380SL has the dual row timing chain. You'll probably have to pay x2 for the 560SL versus the 380SL or 450SL.
- Condition. I had rather have a pristine 380SL than a tired average 560SL.
- Decide. Do you want a trailer queen, a pristine SL, nice driver, or a project.
- R107 parts are pricey. Paying someone to do any repairs could turn a deal into a "no way Jose" deal.
- Rust correction is a lot of work - if I had to choose between a rusty 560SL and a no rust 380SL, the 380SL is a no brainer choice.
If you want to really get into an inexpensive project, find a 380SL with a dead engine and swap in a 5.0L engine creating a "500SL clone". Course inexpensive means you do the work yourself.
Main Pros of a 560SL: more powerful engine, seats more comfortable, better sun visors
Main Cons of a 560SL: cheap plastic door handles, requires premium gasoline
Main Pros of a 380SL: better fuel economy, regular gasoline, metal quality door handles
Main Cons of a 380SL: less powerful engine, some have single row timing chain, shitty sun visors
The most powerful in Engine Performance:
definitely the 500SL
then the 560SL
followed by 380SL and 450SL = not much difference
A pristine, low mileage, no issues, no excuses 560SL should command in excess of $30K.
A pristine, low mileage, no issues, no excuses 380SL should command in excess of $20K.
A great looking but not pristine 560SL with no issues should command in excess of $10K.
A great looking but not pristine 380SL with no issues should command around $7.5K.
Any 560SL that is slightly tired looking with issues like no AC, etc should go for under $10K.
A non-running but not wrecked 380SL or 560SL is a big risk and should go for $1K to 3K.
I have both a 1983 380SL and a 1986 560SL. I've put a lot more work in my 560SL and for that reason is the one I like slightly more because I have spent many hours bringing it up to the condition it is in. The previous owner of my 560SL cut the front springs so it handles much better and has a better looking profile, new paint/interior/soft top, and it handles like a dream - it has almost 190K miles and has a looser feeling than my tighter feeling 380SL. My 1983 380SL I purchased new and only has 46K miles and is absolutely the best condition. Engine performance is not the main reason I like my 560SL as I spend more time tinkering with them than driving them. So, you need to think about what you will do ... looking to restore and tinker with them, or prefer to just drive them.
Last edited by cwmoser; 07-25-2019 at 06:15 AM.