Date registered: Jun 2019
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Legitimate BRABUS? - 1990 SL500
Hello all, first post here, be gentle!
I've been scouring the internet for the better part of the last 6 months trying to find an SL500 that tickles my fancy, so far I've been really close to two cars, a 1997 in black and a 1995 in imperial red that both fell out because the seller decided against selling at the last minute, I've done plenty of research here and elsewhere (ken rockwell ftw) and did my due diligence with both cars, it was such a shame I couldn't nab the 1997 :-(.
Recently today I came across an Ad that features an apparent "BRABUS" SL500 from 1990, it has pretty low KM's for the year and seems to be in decent mechanical condition, the interior is a different story however. The seller claims he got it from across the country from a guy who imported it from Japan, no big deal I thought, cars are imported all of the time. But red flags started to appear when I ran VIN checks and saw that 50% of the time and sites I visited (carfax especially) gave me invalid VIN decodings yet the other 50% were telling me information that lined up with the car, everything except anything to do with BRABUS. Is there any way to tell that these BRABUS attachments are legitimate? I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that some cars leave the factory with BRABUS attachments but this car doesn't seem to show any certifications on VIN checks that it left the factory as BRABUS.
The interior damage is actually quite staggering for what is supposed to be a ~100k KM car... looks to have the wear and tear of a car that has seen much more than that, the front grill is kinda bent and the grill/emblem is black, it looks like it has 2 rounded side slots instead of the 3 square ones that are on older SL's as well as what seems to be lights on the side view mirrors? very odd, never seen that one before.
I'm very weary as this could be either a diamond in the rough or very very bad news, I'll post pictures and have a link to the Ad available if anyone wants it. Just kind of looking for secondary opinions and inputs right now, I may have the car inspected but would rather not waste the money if someone could potentially point out things from the pictures I post, not really into modded SL500s but the price/mileage isn't bad and I'd be willing to fix it up, also I'm pretty sure 1990s are safe from that dreaded wiring harness issue so that's a plus.