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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone.

New guy here. I don't have a car yet, but have been looking around. Drove a boss' car many years ago, and have always liked them. Need to learn all the differences between the various models.

Been looking around the site and reading a few threads. Is there any way to adapt my browser so all the threads line up in order, instead of random dates? Also the search function doesn't make a lot of sense. It doesn't say anything about it in the cartoon video. Eh, I'll figure it out.

I had a 300TD years ago. It didn't end well. Maybe I'll have better luck with a gasser. I'll try my best to start with a better car than that one was. My goal is to find a decent car that will be a nice summer top-down cruiser.

I hope I can find a car soon, so I can participate on a higher level. Thanks in advance for putting up with a bunch of inane questions I'm sure to have.
 

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1973 450 SL
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2,062 Posts
Slantflat,

Welcome to the forum - best of luck finding a 107 that suits your needs. Our forum platform is about 2 years old and was a big adjustment for those of us who have been around longer than that. The 3 vertical dots in the upper right corner has an Advanced Search function that works pretty well.

I don't want to influence you by steering you towards an early D-Jet model by explaining how awesome they are. We have the entire 18 year production run represented here. Good luck in your search.
 

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'79 450SL, '04 CLK200 convertible; former A124, W210, A209.
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2,042 Posts
Welcome to the mad House! I'm sure the right R107 is out there waiting for you, first and foremost you want to figure out how much you're willing to spend which will influence the outcome. As Brad mentioned, we have all models represented here from straight six 280 to all mighty V8 500 and 560.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thanks guys. One does wonder with such a diverse offering, is there one SL that is more drivable than the others? One more worthy than the others? Apparently the early DJet cars are ones to look at. Most of the cars I see are 380s, and I know 84 and up came with the dual row timing chains. Is the 280 a total dog? Why didn't the V8 cars come with a straight shift?

Maybe I'll have some luck this weekend finding something. Most cars I see are red. Not a fan of red. Ah, well.
 

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Premium Member
1983 380 SL
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3,032 Posts
Welcome to the asylum, we're world-wide so visiting hours are 24/7/365 (masks optional).

I'm partial to the 380 ('81- '85) but they're all great (may have been as early as '80 in some models), just keep in mind that time did not treat many of these vehicles well, so the later the better.

Rust is the Achilles Heal of the R107 so try to locate one that spent it's life where they don't salt the roads... other than that, as with any car, use common sense when buying any 30+ year old vehicle. It may not be impossible to find one that doesn't need work, but it's the closest thing.

Good luck and show us some pictures of any vehicle you're interested in, we may see something you don't.
 

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1994 E320, 1985 280SL
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128 Posts
I have a 280SL - the straight 6 in it is faster than the 380SL V8's and is a couple of hundred pounds lighter too. The engine has a higher rev line as well. Somehow it sounds almost exactly the same as the V8's. I've had a 560 and a 500 and though it's less torquey, it's still powerful enough for sure. They are all nice. Where are you located an how much is your budget?
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,954 Posts
Thanks guys. One does wonder with such a diverse offering, is there one SL that is more drivable than the others? One more worthy than the others? Apparently the early DJet cars are ones to look at. Most of the cars I see are 380s, and I know 84 and up came with the dual row timing chains. Is the 280 a total dog? Why didn't the V8 cars come with a straight shift?

Maybe I'll have some luck this weekend finding something. Most cars I see are red. Not a fan of red. Ah, well.
Oh no, the 280SL is one of the more desirable examples - especially a 280SL with manual transmission.
The 380SL gets the least respect but if you find a decent one, you should be very happy with it.
I have both a 1983 380SL and a 560SL and I find pros/cons with each one.

I like both red and black exterior the best.

The ultimate SL is the 500SL with manual transmission but I highly doubt you will find one or want to pay the price.

The best advice I'll give you is no rust, one that has a service history especially one that has been and is currently in running condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I'm in Atlanta. When I first started looking at cars I saw them all day long for 5-6000. Then when I got serious suddenly they were 8-10000. Prices are all over the board, and then at the "classic" car dealers, holy Toledo.

I really would like to stay under 8000, and I realize that may mean a car that has some issues. I plan to drive it most every day, in town and on the expressway. Might even take it to Florida. So I'm going to find the best one I possibly can.

Speaking of the 500SL, there's an ad here locally for a 500SL automatic. He also calls it a 420SL. Looks nice, not banged up, he wants 7000 for it. Says it's a grey market car ordered from Germany and imported straight here. Who knows. It has US headlights.
 

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73 450 SLC, 99 SL500
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118 Posts
"Lack of rust" has already been mentioned. And I second that. Also, check all the rubber and plastic parts -- interior, engine compartment, and seals around doors, trunk, and windows. On my '73 450SLC, with 200k miles, all of those parts are brittle, cracked, or gone! Fixing rusty areas was easy compared to finding/replacing the soft parts...
 

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1987 300SL
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123 Posts
Welcome Slant! Finding a good 107 is not easy, as others have said time takes it's toll on them
It's worth going to have a good look, as in take pics, of really good examples, ones you would never consider paying the dollars for
Generally these cars will be in extremely good condition and as close to original as you will find
Take pics of critical areas that can get changed/modified in other cars not looked after well, such as the engine bay
Under the dash, wiring etc, is another area worth investigating, but that's not really possible when you're out there looking for a purchase
Pull up carpet in the cabin and boot, most are just sitting there, and check for rust and/or repairs
Have a GOOD look under the car, very few clean under there when selling so it will tell you a lot
But you get the idea, get to know how the car should be and you will be able to spot a good one quickly
You will mostly see V8s in you travels, and probably never a manual
I've grown up with modified cars most my life, absolutely love a V8 on song, and still drive and prefer manuals
But 107s are different, I've seen it described here more than once they are not a car you drive, but a boat you steer
And it describes them perfectly
It amazes me how soft and compliant they are around town, but get out on highway speeds and they are very firm on the road
So I never went looking for a V8, but found a 300SL automatic in very good condition
It's always been in the back of my head how good a straight six is, from being beaten by Ford sixes, to owning Nissan straight six rockets
The 300SL auto surprises me how well it keeps up with modern traffic, and as others have said does howl a bit when you open her up
And they are lighter and a ton more room to work on in the engine bay, and get better fuel consumption, than the V8 models
But I'm showing my bias there, cos I own one
Put me behind a really well sorted 500SL manual and I'd be a pig in shit, and screw fuel consumption
What you spend on buying one is up to you, but what you spend on one after you bring it home is another world
The 3 litre six example I found ticked all the boxes, but I have still spent close to the purchase price on tidying the car up
But that is with a very, very good indy, as I don't really have the time myself
The cost will be far less if you do it yourself, if you have the time and are handy on the tools
Don't expect to find a car that will be a turnkey, because as good as it looks when you get it home you will find things that need doing
But if you love the car, the days out in the sunshine motoring around with the top down are so worth it
And keep reading new and old posts here, and the stickies, there is a wealth of knowledge and incredibly smart people
Good luck
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,954 Posts
...
Speaking of the 500SL, there's an ad here locally for a 500SL automatic. He also calls it a 420SL. Looks nice, not banged up, he wants 7000 for it. Says it's a grey market car ordered from Germany and imported straight here. Who knows. It has US headlights.
Interesting. At $7,000 for a 500SL or even a 420SL - that would definitely attract my attention.
I've pondered what I would do if I came across a real deal on a nice 500SL - would I
take a chance that my wifey would leave me buying a 3-rd R107?
I would have to fire sale one real quick.

Parts alone, a nice set of Euro headlamps is easily worth $1,000. Nice set of Euro bumpers $1k-2k.
Later style Sun Visors go for $500+ on Ebay.
 

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1985 280SL (Euro)
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240 Posts
The question as to whether the 280SL is a "total dog" has been well answered by CWMoser, JIMC280 and Cousin MB. (admittedly a 300SL but still a straight 6) When I started looking for a 107 15 years ago I was pretty well focused on a 500SL but at the time the only ones available were from the rust belt. I ended up with a 280SL from Las Vegas and absolutely no regrets.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Wow lots to take in. Thanks everyone. I suppose the model I end up with will be whatever is the nicest I see at the time. I like the look of the car itself, no prejudice as to which engine. Just good stuff to know.

But a straight shift would be cool... How many have gotten the parts from a 280 manual and retrofitted them into a V8 car? Feasible/no? I realize anything is possible with enough money.
 

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1986 560SL with M120 V12 Engine, 1988 560SL Stock
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10,432 Posts
I find the 560SL to be the most practical to own in America. More parts are still available for it. I has significantly better corrosion protection. You can still get decent tires for it. And most issues of the previous models have been addressed like the subframe, 2 row timing chain etc. And they are the latest ones so its easier to find them in good condition. But if you want a stick you will have to go with the 280, which seem to be available or the 300 which have all the refinements of the 560SL but are very rare in this country and very few in Europe had a stick. There were also sticks available in the first few years of production 350SL's and I belive Euro 350SL's with sticks may have been available into the 80's
 

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1986 560SL with M120 V12 Engine, 1988 560SL Stock
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10,432 Posts
Also specimens under $10K will ultimately cost more than specimens over $10K.
 

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1983 380SL, ivory/dk brown, 46k miles, dual roller timing chain. 1986 560SL, red/white, 190K mile.
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6,954 Posts
Also specimens under $10K will ultimately cost more than specimens over $10K.
The old adage ... "A cheap Mercedes is the most expensive Mercedes" :)
 

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500SL made only in Germany. The parts are hard to find. I would avoid that model. 280SL I love and would have preferred, but good ones have really gone up in value. I ended up with a 560SL with only 45,600 miles on it for a fair price. That model is well built and some relatively low mileage ones are out there. The V-8 is a gas guzzler but I drive it for pleasure, not a daily driver. You don't want one that has been abused and driven hard. Repairs can eat you up.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
So I went to the junkyard today. South side of Atlanta has a big pull apart yard and I go once a month or so and walk the whole place. Never have I seen a Mercedes SL in there before and today there were four. All of them 560s. One had a hard top that was all beat up, broken glass, missing trim, dented. I was looking at the last one and there were a couple guys there, one looked like James May, and I said this is the fourth car I've seen. Really, we've only seen one other one. I said the other two are around the corner facing the fence. I thought they were going to sprint over to them. Hope they found something good.

So, four SLs in the junkyard. What's the message? Don't get one because they are all going to the junkyard, or do get one because there will always be parts. How funny. Hope everyone has a great weekend.
 

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R/C107 Moderator
1986 560SL: '84 500SL: '84 280SL 5 speed: other 107s
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32,488 Posts
500SL made only in Germany. The parts are hard to find.
That's true of all 107s except a few assembled in South Africa.
The parts are no harder to find than US models.
 
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