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Hi all. Current S420 and ML owner now wanting to obtain an R107. I’m kind of baffled as to the various prices I see. Are older (70’s) models more desirable, or are the late 80’s? I’m planning on restoring the one I find. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
 

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Don't know about the US but here 560's cost quite a lot more. Whatever you do buy , make sure it's rust free. Look CAREFULLY. Scuttle, inner guards, blower motor area.
 

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Definitely go for the 560 - and check for rust, head gasket, timing chain stretch and valve guides.

Rust make sure inspect the jack holes, and in the front where the front shocks attach to the frame.

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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.

THEN, consider:
- 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.
 

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Hi all. Current S420 and ML owner now wanting to obtain an R107. I’m kind of baffled as to the various prices I see. Are older (70’s) models more desirable, or are the late 80’s? I’m planning on restoring the one I find. Any suggestions would be appreciated.
"Restore" is a scary word here- NONE of the R107 line is technically worthy of a restoration based on ROI. Always try to find the best condition example for your budget. Virtually any of these cars that are for sale will need some attention. The early '70's cars do not carry any value advantage, and can in fact be more difficult to deal with in terms of the Bosch D Jetronic fuel injection.

All officially sold US models were V8 equipped, all with automatic trans.: Chronologically 350, 450, 380 and 560SL

Non US (ROTW) could be V8 or I6 with AT or MT: 350, 380, 420, 500 and 280, 300

The general thinking is the US 560 is the best bet. It is only a 20hp difference between this and the hard to find ROTW 500, an inconsequential difference.

ROTW I6 equipped cars frequently turn up, far more commonly the 280 vs the 300. They arguably have a "sportier" feel than the V8 cars. If this is appealing to you try to test drive a V8 and I6 to compare. If not, stick with the 560. Rust should be a deal breaker. Do not buy a rusty R107 SL!

Good luck!
 

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Go for a well driven and cared for 560 - usually the condition of the interior is the deal breaker; rust and paint can be done, but restoring faded and damaged plastics, door handles, dash, lower console, wood tirm etc is nearly impossible as most of the parts cannot be purchased or best case restored very expensively with marginal results.

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The 107 spans many years of production. Here in the US cars in the years 75 to 85 all performed like boat anchors from the Queen Mary. That's true for all US spec cars not just 107's.

That leaves you with the newest and least rusted and most expensive 560SL's and the oldest and most rusted 450/350 SL's.

If you want to delve into the late 70's or early 80's go Euro. And Euro is really the only way to get a stick.
 

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Tons of good info here...

I have bought (3) 560sl cars in the past few years, and they are still in the family...

I have hunted down nice rust free cars, with decent cosmetics, good basics and strong drivetrains. However, even the best of them has needed work on AC/heating, steering and suspension, among other systems-- Meanwhile, there are plenty of these on the road with sloppy/leaky steering boxes, inoperative AC systems and clunky suspensions...and some of their owners are happy to get by with this. To some extent, what you put into these cars will depend on how much of a perfectionist you are... but in U.S. the best starting point is a 560sl-- or an 84-85 380sl.
 

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Go for a well driven and cared for 560 - usually the condition of the interior is the deal breaker; rust and paint can be done, but restoring faded and damaged plastics, door handles, dash, lower console, wood tirm etc is nearly impossible as most of the parts cannot be purchased or best case restored very expensively with marginal results.

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Gotta disagree about rust... Avoid rust.. Its not hard to find a rust free 560sl.. The other stuff is easier.
 

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Absolutely avoid rust unless you're an ace bodywork man or you have stupid deep pockets.

The 560SL has a superior engine to the 500SL. You can surpass the 500SL's engine in terms of performance if you get the right headers and exhaust set up. The UK SL shop has a few 560sls with those mods.

The KE-Jet fuel system is far superior to the KJET one and is more forgiving. Though, all of these engines will respond very nicely to a well tuned fuel rail system.

Now, the wild card in all of this are those mysterious euro only 300SLs and 420Sls. I've been lusting over those straight 6 engines mostly because the V8s are such a pain to deal with. The mods are a lot more plentiful on a straight engine.

My dream is to find a euro 300SL, plop in a turbo, and race @roncallo's Samson !
 

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How is the 560SL engine superior to the 500SL? Displacement?
 

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How is the 560SL engine superior to the 500SL? Displacement?
Yes the displacement, but I read somewhere that the exhaust set up on the federalized side choked some of the performance and swapping to the euro piping gave back like 15 ponies. Trying to hunt this thread down.

But, assuming stock only then yes the 500SL is a superior set up.
 

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Absolutely avoid rust unless you're an ace bodywork man or you have stupid deep pockets.


Now, the wild card in all of this are those mysterious euro only 300SLs and 420Sls. I've been lusting over those straight 6 engines mostly because the V8s are such a pain to deal with. The mods are a lot more plentiful on a straight engine.

@roncallo's Samson !

Absoulutely, positively true regarding the rust. Leave it be.

The 420 is a V8.
 

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There was a Canadian Car Show titled <can't remember> where they purchased a rusty 450SL to restore. When they started taking it apart the bulkhead was so far gone that they deemed it to be so unsafe that they parted the car out. Then again, there are several SL restorations that had severe rust. Time and Money.
 

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Keep in Mind. You are in California. Land of smog check insanity. Stay away from the grey market 280Sl and 500SL or you will find yourself in a swirling nightmare with the smog police. 560SL has the most value, but there is nothing wrong with a 380SL and it does get noticably better fuel milage. You have heard of the timing chain issue? If you get a 380, you really want one with a dual row timing chain and many have been converted over the years. It is easy to check for with a small inspection mirror and flashlight through the right valve cover oil filler cap. Also check that the subframe has the updated reinforcement plates installed.

No matter which one you get, including the 560, age on the plastic timing chain guides is as much of an issue as is miles. Figure on changing the guides at a minimum without recent work reciepts on them
 

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I just went through the same process and ended up with a red 1986 560SL with black leather interior. I was fortunate that I found a local (here in Maine) 560 that had been garaged every winter since new. The elderly lady I bought it from bought the car in 1989 - which is verified by records. Summer driving for over 30 years put just 100,000 miles on the car. Interior was excellent with one small wear patch on the driver seat. Original paint is very presentable. The hardtop is stored in a hard fiberglass container which the PO never opened. Soft top is excellent. The AC did not work (was never converted). Hood padding was missing, Becker radio showed the dreaded dashes and two warning lights were on (wiper fluid and SRS). I have sorted most everything at very little cost with the exception of the AC and radio which are next.

I paid just under $10K which I felt was a very good price for a very nice 560 with some issues.



Good luck with your search!
 

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Hi all, I’m trying to find an opinion on a quite specific issue - I bought an ‘83 280sl 5 speed in Colombia (the country) thinking I wouldn’t be able to find any 350sl 4 speeds which was my first choice - and wouldn’t you know it a ‘75 has now come up for sale.

Both cars are rust free with similar mileage (around 75k) and I obviously don’t want to go through the hassle of selling mine to buy the other and end up with a worse car. I drove a 280sl 4 speed and found it really needed an overdrive gear but suspect the V8 4 speed had different gearing.

Has anyone out there driven both a 280sl 5 speed and a 350sl 4 speed and have an opinion on which is the best driver? (I do mostly highway driving) Any input would be appreciated thanks!
 

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First R107 that I ever drove was my 84 280SL 5 speed. Second R107 I ever drove was a 350SL 4 speed. The 280SL seemes snappier up to about 60MPH. The 350SL seemed to pull stronger above 60MPH. The 280SL felt sportier on corners, while the 350SL seemed more refined. Blue 107 is the 280SL, green is the 350SL. I prefer the 280SL, but I am also a little biased:grin
 

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