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1983 280SL 5 Speed
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4 Posts
Thanks bigsky, that’s great information! Just a quick follow up - did you recall if the 350sl felt short of a gear at 60mph? Also, and I know this is very subjective, what’s your view as to the future collectibility of each?

Cheers,

Jason
 

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1984 280sl 5spd, 02 E320 4matic, 79&79 450sl part-out, 78,79,81,83 300CD, 79 280CE
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1,354 Posts
Thanks bigsky, that’s great information! Just a quick follow up - did you recall if the 350sl felt short of a gear at 60mph? Also, and I know this is very subjective, what’s your view as to the future collectibility of each?

Cheers,

Jason
Only got to drive the 350SL 4spd about ten miles, on a secondary hiway. Took it up to about 85MPH, and it was pulling strong, did not look at the tach, and do not recall what it was doing RPM wise. The owner of the 350SL was driving my 280SL 5spd, and had the same impressions as I did. I would think that the collectibility of either, with the manual tranni would be about the same. However, I still prefer the 280SL 5spd, because of the sportier handling, and 24MPG, on the roads that I drive.
 

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1989 560SL; 2014 E350
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1,503 Posts
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.
Lots of well thought out info here, Carl. Good job!
 

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Premium Member
1986 560SL with M120 V12 Engine, 1988 560SL Stock
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9,728 Posts
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
I saw that picture of the tree growing through the car somewhere in Garage Journal. Are you on Garage Journal??
 

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1984 280sl 5spd, 02 E320 4matic, 79&79 450sl part-out, 78,79,81,83 300CD, 79 280CE
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1,354 Posts
I saw that picture of the tree growing through the car somewhere in Garage Journal. Are you on Garage Journal??
Not on Garage Journal, but did start a thread a couple of years ago here on BW titled "I'll get to it tomorrow" Car is located on old hiway 93 on the East side of Flathead Lake.
 

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1983 280SL 5 Speed
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4 Posts
Only got to drive the 350SL 4spd about ten miles, on a secondary hiway. Took it up to about 85MPH, and it was pulling strong, did not look at the tach, and do not recall what it was doing RPM wise. The owner of the 350SL was driving my 280SL 5spd, and had the same impressions as I did. I would think that the collectibility of either, with the manual tranni would be about the same. However, I still prefer the 280SL 5spd, because of the sportier handling, and 24MPG, on the roads that I drive.
I think you’ve just saved me a lot of time and expenditure - thanks again!
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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21,897 Posts
Differentials are not too difficult to swap if you can deal with an incorrect speedo or altering yours.

Some guesses at diff ratios:

Here’s what I think I remember from memory on diff ratios. Feel free to correct it.

3.69 early m110
3.58 late m110
3.06 early 4.5
2.65 late 4.5
2.72 early 5.0
3.27 euro 3.8
2.47 US 3.8
3.46 3.5
2.47 and 2.27 5.0 and 5.6 I believe, many LSD.

The only factory overdrive option was the m110 5-speed. So otherwise, highway RPMs (if that’s what you’re concerned with) is directly related to the diff ratio.


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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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21,897 Posts
Differentials are not too difficult to swap if you can deal with an incorrect speedo or altering yours.

Some guesses at diff ratios:

Here’s what I think I remember from memory on diff ratios. Feel free to correct it.

3.69 early m110
3.58 late m110
3.06 early 4.5
2.65 late 4.5
2.72 early 5.0
3.27 euro 3.8
2.47 US 3.8
3.46 3.5
2.47 and 2.27 5.0 and 5.6 I believe, many LSD.

The only factory overdrive option was the m110 5-speed. So otherwise, highway RPMs (if that’s what you’re concerned with) is directly related to the diff ratio.


P.S.
With my 3.58 1985 280sl 5-speed, overdrive / 5th is really for just cruising when you are done having fun smashing the gas pedal. I tend to find myself staying in 4th for most of my highway driving in traffic because I like to be able to get good throttle response. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m not like @nobby who drives tens of thousands of miles all over North America in his 280sl. I’m fine without the overdrive , smashing the gas pedal for more fun, less long distance highway cruising. I really like my 350sl 4-speed that has a 4.5 in it. Im hoping to upgrade that 190hp motor to a ~220 HP Euro 4.5 I recently got. I also think about putting that same kind of trans on @dgosh28’s old 450slc 5.0 (currently a 3-speed auto). Manuals on v8’s are FUN in my opinion.

Oh... anti-squat rear end. The higher torque cars got them.
Euro 4.5 - got it
US 4.5 - nope
3.5 - nope
2.8 - nope
US 3.8 - nope
Euro 3.8 SL - got it
Euro 3.8 SLC - nope
4.2 ?? Not sure
3.0 - nope
5.6 - got it
5.0 - got it

I want to put an anti-squat rear end in everything I own and want to see if others can teach me why they all didn’t get it.

Oh. Hydraulic suspension might have caused a car not to get it. I’m not sure. US 560sel cars didn’t get it. That’s w126 stuff though.





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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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21,897 Posts
This is a nice overview of all diff rations across the MB board:



https://mbturbo.com/gear-ratios/


I would suggest not taking that site as a reliable source for all info, more like Wikipedia. I think they are specifically wrong regarding the sizes of the diffs.


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5 Posts
560’s are very expensive unless they need work.
I have a beautiful 1982 380sl that is totally Rust free. The engine has been rebuilt but I didn’t convert to the dual timing chain. I replaced the single chain and all of the gears and tensioner.
I also replaced most of the suspension, the A/C system and many other items.
Due to certain circumstances I have to sell the car now. It’s white with a blue rag top and new blue upholstery.
If you want more information, contact me
 

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2005 SRT Crossfire
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6 Posts
Differentials are not too difficult to swap if you can deal with an incorrect speedo or altering yours.

Some guesses at diff ratios:

Here’s what I think I remember from memory on diff ratios. Feel free to correct it.

3.69 early m110
3.58 late m110
3.06 early 4.5
2.65 late 4.5
2.72 early 5.0
3.27 euro 3.8
2.47 US 3.8
3.46 3.5
2.47 and 2.27 5.0 and 5.6 I believe, many LSD.

The only factory overdrive option was the m110 5-speed. So otherwise, highway RPMs (if that’s what you’re concerned with) is directly related to the diff ratio.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Can you send off the speedo and have it recalibrated? I put a five speed in my 68 E-Type and just sent out the speedo with a form that counted the revolutions when you moved the car about fifty feet, it is spot on.
Dan
 

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Outstanding Contributor
450slc5.0cab 280sl5sp 280se4.5 500seAMG +250seStkW108 350sl4spdX3 500secEuro
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21,897 Posts
Can you send off the speedo and have it recalibrated? I put a five speed in my 68 E-Type and just sent out the speedo with a form that counted the revolutions when you moved the car about fifty feet, it is spot on.
Dan
I think you might be in the wrong forum. This one is about 1971-1989 Mercedes SL Convertibles and SLC Coupes (71-81).


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