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Still Looking for my 560SL
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Discussion Starter #1
Hey Guys

Awesome forum, you've got here,

Ive been reading for a while, and finally made an account to see if I could get some opinions.

I've been looking at getting a 560SL, and have read that these cars are pretty reliable. I've already read a lot of articles (SL Bootcamp, etc), as well as numerous threads on here.

My main question is, how do you guys feel about owning a 560SL as your only/main car as a daily driver??

I have a specialty mechanic that I trust, and would of course do all the requisite checking and inspections before I buy one.

But would it be smart? I mean from what I've read these are pretty solid cars, and seeing as it will be parked in a garage, and driven in Houston, tx (no snow/salt etc.) I don't see it being a problem, and I would be driving an average of 300-350 miles a week.

I know some people feel that cars like these shouldn't be driven daily and rather be preserved as classics/collectors, but I think cars like these were made to be driven.

Thanks in advance
Ihab
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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6,077 Posts
I know some people feel that cars like these shouldn't be driven daily and rather be preserved as classics/collectors, but I think cars like these were made to be driven.
As do many (most?) here. They're happier when they're driven, and mine needs less tinkering and futzing when I drive it regularly.

That said, you're talking about a car that's - at minimum - 21 years old. No matter how well it was built, you'll be relying a lot more on the maintenance (or lack of same) done in that 21+ years than you will be on the original build quality. So if you're patient and willing to hold out for a pristine, low mileage (but not museum low), all-records-included example of the marque, I don't think you'll be unhappy. If you want one right now and are going to buy the first one that catches your eye, I think you're setting yourself up for a world of hurt.

In your position, I'd be looking for one that shows (through verifiable, documented evidence) that it was driven regularly, but not excessively. No long periods parked. Maintenance performed on schedule - not just the big stuff, but also the little things. Maybe something with 50K to 75K miles. Then drive the hell out of it.
 

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1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL
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973 Posts
I'd love to drive mine daily to work and back, although my commute is less than 5 miles. In summer I do treat myself to a commute in her on the last day of every work week, if it's dry.

What prevents me from taking the SL to work every day is the increased wear and tear to which I'd be subjecting a car I intend to enjoy for the rest of my life. Also the high per-mile cost and the relatively high cost of consumable parts if you'll only use OEM quality (and I'm one of those who does) are concerns. I don't want Benzedrine exposed to door dings daily, and I don't want the paint, top, and upholstery baking in the summer sun all day long instead of napping in a cool, dark garage back at home.

But if you can live with the high operating expense and increased wear and tear, I say go for it, bud! These cars were designed for only one purpose--to make driving a joy--and on a typical high-pressure work day, we could all use a healthy dose of that on either end!

Good road,
 

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2008 E320 Bluetec, 1988 560SL totalled unto death). 1997 Dodge Ram 1500, 1983 300CD
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I have been driving mine daily

for the three years I have had it. I have put an average of 12k miles per year on it.

After the first few months of sorting out it has been dead reliable. A couple of pricey items coming up this Spring; new soft top and tires. Both are of course wear and tear items. For the past two and a half years no mechanical or electrical problems.

Have replaced timing gear and camshaft plastic parts. No other mechanical work. Did not replace chain. Timing spot on with no measureable stretch.

Buy and drive the Bitch. Those with the most problems, drive the least. As said previously, look for an example that has been driven but not to excess, say 80 to 100k miles. A very low mile car is asking for problems if you intend it as a daily driver/
 

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Still Looking for my 560SL
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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks for the feedback guys.

I'm guessing that simply getting a mechanic to check out the car may not be enough to verify if it's been properly taken care of or not?

I've been looking at an 86 with 87k miles on it. Only thing throwing me off is it is being sold by a dealer. I'll be checking the car out tomorrow and will ask, but I doubt they have any maintenance records.
Car is listed for 17,800.
 

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1974 450sl 1994 bmw 530i 1995 f150 2007 FJCruiser trd se
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41 Posts
$17.8k? what has that dealer been smoking? I saw one a while back on a lot for about $8k and i thought that was out of line.
 

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2010 Mercury Milan Hybrid, 1993 BMW 325i convertible
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I'm guessing that simply getting a mechanic to check out the car may not be enough to verify if it's been properly taken care of or not?
It depends on what confidence level you want. With records you can have a 100% confidence level. With no records and a mechanical inspection, I wouldn't rate it higher than a 95% confidence level, and usually more like 85%.

I've been looking at an 86 with 87k miles on it. Only thing throwing me off is it is being sold by a dealer. I'll be checking the car out tomorrow and will ask, but I doubt they have any maintenance records.
Car is listed for 17,800.
Wow. 17.8K is excessive. I know you're in TX, but have you considered using SearchTempest to scan Craigslist for 560SLs in SoCal? Just enter a SoCal zip code and do a search for 200 miles around. I just did a quick one and found a couple of dozen 560SLs, with prices ranging from realistic to ridiculous. There are several of us out here that could go look at a car for you, if you find one you're interested in.
 

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87 560SL
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292 Posts
My wife uses the 560SL as a daily driver, about 45 mi/day. We hava a beater Subaru as a spare but that hasn't been needed much.
 

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Still Looking for my 560SL
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Discussion Starter #10
just did a quick one and found a couple of dozen 560SLs, with prices ranging from realistic to ridiculous. There are several of us out here that could go look at a car for you, if you find one you're interested in.
Thanks man, may have to take you up on that.


Went to check out the 560sl listed for 17,8 today. it was a clean car, but obviously had work done to the driver's side door/hood lid. The hood opened but wouldn't close, and left it open for the dealer to deal with.

It also took 3-4 seconds of cranking to start, not sure if this is normal or not though.
But I decided to walk out of there and not even bother trying to make a deal with the dealer.
 

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1979 280SL, 1984 280SL
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5,659 Posts
Walk away from that one. 17.6k should get you a "perfect" 560SL. As far as using one for a daily driver? No problem, IMHO. As others here have stated, find a good one, make sure you research the forum for the things you should be on the lookout for and drive it. SL's that are used frequently run better than those that are little used. Everything your car could possibly need is readily available, and they are a satisfying car to drive.
 

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2008 E320 Bluetec, 1988 560SL totalled unto death). 1997 Dodge Ram 1500, 1983 300CD
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1,343 Posts
agree agree

with others for a change. For that price the car should be perfect. I paid a flat $10k for mine 3 years ago. It had 87k miles and was not then nor is it now perfect. But ... it is a fine daily ride.

Visually obvious body work is sloppy and can hide a multitude of problems. As far as starting goes, a good running M117 should start within the first revolution most of the time.
 

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Still Looking for my 560SL
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Discussion Starter #14
Yeah, I am walking away from that one. It was not even close to being in shape for that price.

I've found several others around Texas and will be checking them out in the next few days/weeks.

Appreciate the help and advice.
 

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1987 560SL
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24 Posts
Yeah, I am walking away from that one. It was not even close to being in shape for that price.
I bought my 87 560SL 1-1/2 years ago in Boise, Idaho for $7000.00

It had 83,191 miles and all the service records. It was and still is in very good condition inside and out. It has minor nicks and scratches but no rust whatsoever. I had it checked out at Lyle Pearson Mercedes in Boise before I bought it. They had serviced the car for most of it's life. The said it would need a subframe mount kit in the near future and a brake fluid change was needed. Other than that, they said it was a very good car. Hopefully this will help you with your purchase. Good luck.

Here are some photos of my car;

Shaw Photo Share
 

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'87 190E 2.3-16
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I'm with everyone who has posted so far. I bought a mint '88 560SL that was a single-owner car with full service history from a local M-B dealer, no accident damage, excellent mechanical and cosmetic condition, and 69K miles on the clock. I paid $12,000 for it, and that was a bit above the normal market price at the time. Since then, prices seem to have fallen even further.

Even my car (which I honestly believe was about as good as it gets for a used 560SL) still needed a bunch of little things to be sorted. After putting maybe $3,000 into the car over the last couple of years, I now have a car that's as good as new. And it still comes in under the $17K your dealer is asking.
 

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1987 560SL (L.Tonk) [92,700 miles]
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320 Posts
Same story here. Actual cost of the car (74k miles) was $11k and I had to put in another $2k. Looking back at my notes I see the PO put in all new belts, new AC compressor, motor mounts and drive-shaft. Drive shaft?! Think they meant that flex-disc thing I see scary pictures of in some of the more involved maintenance posts?

I paid a bit extra as I was shopping from abroad and was time-constrained
 

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Great daily drivers... it appears, however, that most of the 560SL's that we sell are usually intended for weekend/leisure usage.

Keep in mind that cost of maintanance on any 560SL is approximately $1,000-$1,500 a year.
 

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