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What do you think of the Mercedes-Benz R129 SL?

I have the opportunity to purchase, as a private deal, a LHD 1994 Mercedes-Benz SL320 roadster, which belongs to a friend of a friend. It is white in colour has a petrol engine with automatic transmission, and seems in excellent condition. It has covered only 40,000 mile since new. I do not know more of the history at this point in time, but I believe the owner to be an honest man who will not misrepresent the car to me.

Is this a car that would stand comparison with say an E-type as a desirable possession? If I bought it I would probably just use it for jaunts in the summer and for attending Merc get-togethers etc. Otherwise it would be mothballed in the winter as I normally run a BMW 530d. What should I look for? I understand that the soft-top needs to be inspected for its condition but what else? Assuming the condition is as it appears, what would be reasonable price to pay for the vehicle?

Asked on 13 April 2013 by DP, via email

Answered by Honest John
This R129 model of SL has a lot of complex electrics that can go very expensively wrong, so is best bought as young as possible. Whatever the intentions and honesty of the vendor, an old car is an old car, and 19-year-old electrics can be a nightmare. More: www.honestjohn.co.uk/carbycar/mercedes-benz/sl-r12.../

Pay £5,000 - £10,000 according to true condition. It is a roadster rather than a sports car, so stands comparison with the more flaccid E Type V12 rather than the much sportier original 3.8 E Type. All that said, the original late 50s, early 60s Mercedes 300SL roadster is better than an E Type, but they are half a million quid these days.
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Still looks good, even thought it's now over 25 years old, best bet is the 224bhp SL320 V6 with five-speed automatic gearbox from June 1998
 

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