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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a newbie to the form and originally posted this in the general M-B forum but it was recommended (thanks NYYYCE&EEEEZY) that I pose this question to you guys as the C107 experts.

I found a beautiful 1980 SL posted for sale and have been going back and forth with the owner about its history and title. It was the guy's father's car that he had some AMH treatment done on in the mid 90s at the AMG shop in Beverly Hills. There was a lot of work done on the car to get it to meet California air standards. The seller has a bunch of its service history, which he sent to me and everything looks great, but there are a couple of hitches.

The car was a grey import and was brought over in the mid 80s, which isn't that big of a deal, but it has a salvaged title. It began its life as a 350 SL, but with the AMH mods it was converted to a 450 SL. When I inquired about the salvaged title the seller claimed that it was because of the upgrade from a 350 to a 450, and the fact that it had to have a smog system installed.

While I have to admit this sounds a little fishy, I have never owned a Mercedes, and don't know whether this is a legitimate reason for it to have been given a salvaged CA title. I did some research on salvaged titles in CA, and grey imports (including on the other forums here) , but have not been able to come up with anything substantial. Has anyone here encountered anything like this? Should I run away as quick as I can from this?
 

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1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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What is the VIN and engine number? 340SL will begin 107.043 450SL will begin 107.044. 3.5L engine will begin 116. 4.5L will begin 117. Those will tell if it was a 350SL and has a 4.5L engine. It was common on grey markets to change the trunk badge. Are there AMG receipts?

The story about the salvage title doesn't ring true but I don't know California laws..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The VIN is 10704412032710, and the engine number 117-988-12-000-952, so it checks out as a 450. The real hitch for me is the title issue. The title is from California, but the car is for sale in Arizona, where I live. Oh and yes, there are AMG receipts.
 

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I think that 032710 is kind of low for a 1980 model year. Pretty sure 80's should be in the 050000 sequence or at least high 040000s. 117.988 engine is not correct for a 450SL. Should be a 117.985. If Beverly Hills AMG franchise did swap engines there should be a receipt describing work done. Still does not explain salvage title which usually involves damage or theft.

The VIN will be stamped on the upper radiator cross support. If it is a grey market 450SL there will also be an aluminum plate screwed to the support with the VIN embossed (raised).

Pics sure would speak volumes.
 

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It might be too late, but can you do a car fax on the VIN? If it was retitled before 95 it might not be there.

You could reach out to the ca DMV. It would take time however.

The title story sounds fishy. Even in the 80s, an engine swap for emissions would be done at the smog refs and would have a sticker issued for it. That's not done through a title.
 

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Here are the pics from the CL ad.

VIN# is probably wrong. They say 1980 but the car has a chrome shift gate and early AC panel. And 72-73 bumpers. It also has the headrest vent holes. I think those were only on really early cars? Anyone know more about those?

Is there any AMG paperwork? None is shown in the ad. It looks like a mess to me and all you are getting is a bad white out job. I would doubt there's any performance changes.

And $10K will get you a nice car.
That explains the 350SL to 450SL "conversion" It is most likely a '72 US model which was originally badged 350SL when sold. It should have a 117.982 D-Jet engine.

To add to what you pointed out: clock in center vent is '72- mid '73, '72-'73 front turn signals. Pretty sure the holes in the headrests are to tighten so they don't flop around.

It is missing the AMG rear valance.

Seller is either ignorant or lying.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for adding the pics, and for everyone's insight. I was already pretty suspicious but now I'm considering it a pretty hard pass. Everything sounds a little too wonky, and if the seller has all of the emissions work documentation then why not get it turned into a restored salvage title and have an easier go at selling it?

It does have AMG paperwork, but it was for a new computer, emissions, and cosmetic stuff, nothing really performance related.

I appreciate your help, guys.
 

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I can't find the ad on craigslist. Anyone have a link?
 

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Thanks for the link. The engine bay pic screams '72 D-Jet model. Also note inner fenders look like flat black color. Should be body color.
 

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Incan only share the story I was told by my dad, I'm 34 the car is older than me, I'm neither ignorant or lying I'm just trying to sell my dad's car and move on. I've been an open book to anyone with ?s some answers I guess I simply don't know, I know only what I've been told, God Bless you guys. Oh and I he car was shipped to me less than 3 months ago fr CA, CA is not a notary state and AZ is so I just figured easier and cheaper for the buyer, nothing "fishy" or I would not be posting personal info all over int. Also never one accident period. Or theft for that matter, car has not left the garage in over 15 years
 

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I've been "chatting" with Bryan via email. I was trying to emphasize that we're just trying to figure out what the car is - not trying to skewer him.

So the car has a grey market import sticker, CA BAR sticker and a VIN stamp on the radiator support showing the 32710 number. But the interior and engine bay looks to be a '72-73 car. So the VIN should be below 15000. Interesting that the AMG tag shows the modification done in 1998! What a mystery.

But thanks Bryan for joining in. Hopefully the experts here can help with the mystery and that will help move the car on more quickly for you.
 

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I've been "chatting" with Bryan via email. I was trying to emphasize that we're just trying to figure out what the car is - not trying to skewer him.

So the car has a grey market import sticker, CA BAR sticker and a VIN stamp on the radiator support showing the 32710 number. But the interior and engine bay looks to be a '72-73 car. So the VIN should be below 15000. Interesting that the AMG tag shows the modification done in 1998! What a mystery.

But thanks Bryan for joining in. Hopefully the experts here can help with the mystery and that will help move the car on more quickly for you.
I really appreciate your help, I'm honestly not trying to do anything but so my dad's car I wasn't trying to cause Mass confusion or have people feel like they were being done wrong. It really is a beautiful car for whoever is going to end up taking it.
 

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Hello Bryan,

Thank you for posting these pictures. Given the nature of salvage titles, it's very important that you include those pictures with your craigslist advertisement as well as pictures of the AMG receipts.

We've seen all sorts of oddities when it comes to these cars and as such we hold a skeptical eye.

Mach4 had the distinct pleasure of detailing his experience with the CA BAR Smog Refs. The rule is simple: you can do an engine swap if the engine is from a later model vehicle and has the appropriate smog "stuff".

An engine swap is not a reason for a salvage title. Google searching definitely settles this question as well.

I'd like to see the carfax for sure.

Of course, carfax doesn't like that vin even with WDB in front of it.
 

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Hello Bryan,

Thank you for posting these pictures. Given the nature of salvage titles, it's very important that you include those pictures with your craigslist advertisement as well as pictures of the AMG receipts.

We've seen all sorts of oddities when it comes to these cars and as such we hold a skeptical eye.

Mach4 had the distinct pleasure of detailing his experience with the CA BAR Smog Refs. The rule is simple: you can do an engine swap if the engine is from a later model vehicle and has the appropriate smog "stuff".

An engine swap is not a reason for a salvage title. Google searching definitely settles this question as well.

I'd like to see the carfax for sure.

Of course, carfax doesn't like that vin even with WDB in front of it.
Again everything that's in my description is hearsay the car is older than I am all I have is stories from what my dad said nothing else besides the 75 + pieces of paper that I send a prospective buyers detailing all records from the 80s when my dad got the car. There's not much more I can do other than be open to learning from you guys again I've done nothing but supply everything to everyone that's asked I would like to see a VIN check as well if somebody can push me in the right direction that would be wonderful and I'll post it for everybody to see again nothing to hide here. Now it's a whole nother set of questions people didn't believe half the things about the car I post some pictures talk to another gentleman and all of a sudden those aren't issues anymore it's something else. I wish I could answer every question I wish I could have a detailed carfax report but I don't so I'm looking for more positivity and somebody helping me possibly figure out how to better word and price my Dad's ole Benz.
 

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Bryan,

I think you're reading more negativity into people's comments than is there. You've got a unique situation. No one is accusing you or your dad of fraud or trying to pull a fast one. It looks like an early car. The VIN it has doesn't match either the years it appears to be or the year that the documentation claims. It has the grey market import sticker. The grey market was a bit of the wild west. Who knows what was done at the time.

Having heard your story, I think we can safely say we are all interested in helping find out what (as much as possible) what "it" is.

Do you have some of the AMG invoices you can share? That would be interesting. It would also help you establish the value of the AMG mods that were done - as I described in the email I sent you.

Guys, any where else Ryan can look on the car to get a definitive answer as to what type it is? Maybe a date code on some easy to access components?
 
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