Mercedes-Benz Forum banner

1 - 20 of 35 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster. A 560SL has been on my wish list for 35 years and I finally test drove one.

My problem is I don't know if it's the one I should buy.

This one is a '86 with 70K original miles, one owner, garaged, original everything, both tops, in beautiful shape visually. It drives very nicely. The owner just spent $19K getting it serviced from top to bottom. The maintenance receipts look good, with one concern about the heater being slow to come on and not as warm as one would expect. We're in Northern CA so it's not a big deal comfort-wise, but I don't know if it's a sign of something serious with the car.

The asking price is $30K. Comps I've found on ebay, hemmings and the like show either:

  • comparable condition and miles can be had for $25K
  • for $30K, you can get newer models and/or fewer miles, with good maintenance history (so far as I can tell)
Another issue is it's not my favorite color. It's ivory with light brown interior, and I was hoping for blue, green, or red. I've never cared about a car's color and always picked based on specs, condition, and price. But since part of the appeal is to have something pretty to look at, color is a factor.

This is the first one I've been in, ever.

The dealer seems trustworthy and has been selling classics for 20 years with repeat customers.

What would you do?

Thanks.
 

·
Registered
1998 C280; 1987 560SL
Joined
·
471 Posts
If I were going to spend $30k on a car, I would make sure that all my wants are met. Color on these cars is always valued pretty high with the red on palomino or beige being the most sought after. I settled for burgundy on beige and am not too disappointed, but I still wish it were red.
 

·
Registered
1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
Joined
·
6,742 Posts
Ivory was extremely popular in the 1980's when I purchased, well ordered, my 1983 380SL.
It was Ivory with dark brown interior.
Back then I didn't care for red, black, or blue - my preference then was Ivory or a metallic like green.
There were a lot of light Ivory Mercedes running around.
BUT today, I prefer Signal Red or Black. Still don't care for Blue, White, or Silver.
I have a Signal Red 560SL and a Light Ivory 380SL -- the Signal Red is certainly a more showy car.
 

·
Registered
1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
Joined
·
6,742 Posts
$19K is a lot of money to bring a car up to date.
I would have thought a 70K mile car shouldn't incur that much expense.
What were the major expenditures?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
$19K is a lot of money to bring a car up to date.
I would have thought a 70K mile car shouldn't incur that much expense.
What were the major expenditures?
Looks like they did everything in preparation for the sale, not necessarily because it was needed. All new rubber, seals, gaskets, A/C service. It was garaged and not used for a long time.

Many of the items in the service records are "customer requested" as opposed to broken: Engine mounts, all body rubber seals. Bushings. Drive belts. Transmission. Heater and radiator hoses. Front suspension bearings, bushings, ball joints. Engine steam clean. Partial upholstery replacement.

Things that were broken per the mechanic's notes include a replaced fuel tank, and the whole fuel line was redone. Central bearing support. Reseal intake manifold. Little electrical things like central locks, a/c compressor relay, cruise control module.
 

·
Premium Member
1983 380SL, 2000 S430, 1991 420SEL (retired) - RHD
Joined
·
5,258 Posts
That's a lot of work at only 70,000. Also, for top money I'd wait for a color I like. I remember looking at a car before I bought mine and I commented to the dealer that I didn't care much for the color.His reply " if it was red I'd have already sold it 10 times"
 

·
Registered
1989 560SL; 2014 E350
Joined
·
1,526 Posts
Color is a personal thing. Mine's white over burgundy interior. All of our recent and present cars are white, but I might have been more excited over something other than white for my '89 560. Still, it had only 26,000 miles when I purchased it 7 or 8 years ago, the overall condition was very good throughout, and the service records were extraordinarily thorough since new. The asking price seemed appropriate, and I just couldn't pass it up.

I'm more curious about the $19,000 investment in a car for which they're now asking $30,000. Seems like they'd never get that money back! Do you know anything about the dealer that has the car, and was he the one doing all that work??
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
27 Posts
Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
Color is a personal thing. Mine's white over burgundy interior. All of our recent and present cars are white, but I might have been more excited over something other than white for my '89 560. Still, it had only 26,000 miles when I purchased it 7 or 8 years ago, the overall condition was very good throughout, and the service records were extraordinarily thorough since new. The asking price seemed appropriate, and I just couldn't pass it up.

I'm more curious about the $19,000 investment in a car for which they're now asking $30,000. Seems like they'd never get that money back! Do you know anything about the dealer that has the car, and was he the one doing all that work??
The owner did all the work, about 18 months ago. The car has 200 more miles on it now than when it was serviced. The dealer is flummoxed as to why he didn't just sell it as is for cheap instead. Maybe they did the work for themselves, planning to drive it again, or for their kids,, and that didn't pan out so they're selling it?

Color wise, I'm torn between wanting a blue/blue one and how classy this one is in ivory/palomino, not to mention how much refurbishment I wouldn't have to do.

Price isn't a huge deal as this isn't a "rational" car purchase and I'm ok overpaying a little if it means something I won't worry too much about.
 

·
Registered
1998 C280; 1987 560SL
Joined
·
471 Posts
From my standpoint the biggest enemy of these cars is time. I have seen plastic connectors, speedometer gears, high mount stop lights and several other parts literally disintegrate into dust or become so brittle you could not handle them without breaking them. The capacitors in nearly every electronic circuit board have stopped functioning. Most of the rubber, which is now 33 years old needs to be replaced, including the bladders in all of the vacuum pods in the dash, doors and trunk. I recently rebuilt the rear brake calipers, which were leaking brake fluid and noted that the seals were no longer functioning. All of these failures are irrelevant to the mileage on the car and these will happen to a car that is or isn't maintained well. The well maintained car may have everything working, but time marches on and failures of these components will follow - whether you drive it or it sits in the garage.
 

·
Registered
w108 & w107
Joined
·
90 Posts
I personally wouldn't drop USD $30k on the first one I drove, particularly if it's not the colour I want. If money's not such a big deal, and everything else is exactly what you want, relatively minor issues such as the A/C or heating can be fixed. You do know, as soon as you buy it, a better one will pop up for sale and you'll kick yourself everyday that you didn't look further.
 

·
Registered
1973 450SL
Joined
·
14 Posts
I agree with the above post--wait until you find the color combination you want because a better one may become available. I was looking at a local car that was brown with tan interior that was nice, but not one of the color combinations that I really wanted. Fortunately it was not running at the time and his mechanic could not figure it out after weeks of working on it, so I passed on it. About two months later I found the car I really wanted--silver with a red interior. I know the color combination is not for everyone, but the car that literally made me gasp when I saw it was a silver with red interior mid-1950's 300SL gullwing. I know I will never own that car, but this is a distant country cousin as I tell people. The one I bought still makes me smile every time I see it.
 

·
Registered
'80 450SLC Afro RHD Ikonengold
Joined
·
2,884 Posts
That's a lot of work at only 70,000. Also, for top money I'd wait for a color I like. I remember looking at a car before I bought mine and I commented to the dealer that I didn't care much for the color.His reply " if it was red I'd have already sold it 10 times"
The Beverly Hills Cop movie franchise and Dallas must have paid 100 gold to Merc.
It's a great colour and it really complements the car lines but I find other colours to be underappreciated due to trends.
Brown was repulsiv to me until I had a brown 280SEL , icon gold suits SLC much better than the SL, dark green, dark red metallic all look stunning too...
Either way, for US$30k - a car should tick all the personal preference boxes
 

·
Registered
1987 560 SL, 1990 300E 4Matic
Joined
·
467 Posts
You have already been waiting thirty five years, so why not wait just a little longer in order to find a 560SL in a color that you like. It's pretty clear that while some like ivory, you really do not, which is fine. Color choice is a very individual thing. If you buy this car, you will own the color that goes with it. The car you buy should be the color of your preference rather than acceptance.

Living in California, I'm sure that you will find a nice, well cared for 560SL in a color that you like, and likely sooner than you may think.

I googled "560SL" and then "Images". Here is the link. Maybe you will see a color, or colors that you like. Then you can narrow your search for nice 560 SLs in "your" color(s).
 

·
Premium Member
1987 560SL
Joined
·
2,338 Posts
How do you mean, @PanzerPuff ?
ummm, this implies that more money means less worry. With these cars they are inversely proportional.
ummm, okay I will spell it out. You are buying a 33 year old vehicle. No matter who made it, who sells it, or who fixed it up, this is a vehicle that was not designed with a three decade warranty. All brands all makes require money or worry to keep them road worthy. Spending more does not buy peace of mind, as every 30 year vehicle today has deferred maintenance that few prior owners have resolved so it is now up to the current owner.

Classic Mercedes are wonderful to work on but often require original OEM parts to do the job right, and that gets pricey. The 560SL had such a long production run most parts can still be ordered from the dealer at an impressive mark up. The aftermarket is catching up but shoddy workmanship or poor materials can be a trap. German engineering is simultaneously a point of pride and a point of mystery, eg. why did they use so much blue threadlocker making disassembly impossible? The fatherland did not design a 30+ year autobahn cruiser and the prime example is the plastic timing chain guides that fail with age not just mileage. On an interference engine this is not something that reduces worry.

I now have three vehicles with antique registrations and run each weekly. Each machine has its own set of quirks and online forums like this one are invaluable to stay on top of those issues. But if you are looking for low worry machinery you should consider something still under warranty. I bought one of those for my wife and extended the policy to 90 thousand miles. This particular strategy can justify a four or six car garage that you can stuff full of tools, and that is where you should spend the extra money if buying a 107 of the right color.
 

·
Moderator
1991 500SEC sub 50K mi. 1987 560SEC Now 150K mi. 2018
Joined
·
4,286 Posts
I'm usually over on the 126 area but thought I should share the link.

On Carfax: A low mileage blue '88 located in New York state.

In case no one has seen already..


Happy Thanksgiving all.

M
 

·
Registered
1987 560 SL, 1990 300E 4Matic
Joined
·
467 Posts
I also plan to go see this one because the color make me go rawr.

LOL. We must think alike because that's the color combination of my car. The color is "Petrol Blue Green Metallic #877/Crème Beige #275". Apparently there aren't as many SLs around in this color as some other colors. I like it a lot, and apparently others do too, based on the color related complements it has received. Even my wife, and daughter said they like the color.., and without me asking! I have a couple pics of it in my showcase.

Reading the ad, it sounds like the seller can provide extensive maintenance, and repair documentation for your review. Maybe this will be the SL for you. Good luck!
 

·
Registered
1985 280SL (Euro)
Joined
·
216 Posts
While colour is important it has to come a little below the top two or three reasons for buying. Most important of all is rust. Lower mileage is nice but by no means vital as if maintenance records are available a higher mileage choice can make an awful lot of sense. When I started looking for a 107 my colour choice was that pale ice blue with dark blue upholstery and I actually found a couple which for various reasons were rejected. I ended up with gold, two tone custom upholstery and a dark brown convertible top (Although I never use the hard top I later had it repainted a dark metallic brown and it looks superb). The car is an eye catcher - not just my opinion - and has actually surpassed the ice blue in my estimation. I think if everything else makes sense most colours become something one can not only live with but actually come to prefer.
 
1 - 20 of 35 Posts
Top