Streetside Classics probably sells more R107 Mercedes-Benz SLs than anyone else, and we've developed a pretty good eye for these beautiful cars. This 1981 380SL is a great balance of performance, style, price, and preservation, and for open-air motoring, the SL is still pretty tough to beat.
In the mid-80s, wild colors were in fashion, but ever-conservative Mercedes-Benz always got it right. In this car's case, it's beautiful Astral Silver Metallic bodywork with dark blue hides inside, a combination that has looked great for decades, if not centuries. The silver paint gives the SL a big car look despite its rather diminutive size, and in a Mercedes, elegance is never an option but mandatory. The light color also emphasizes how straight and clean this one is, thanks to a lifetime of careful ownership and only 106,019 believed original miles showing on the odometer (that's not many at all on a 38-year-old Mercedes-Benz). A dark blue pinstripe offers a bit of contrast and the light colors like this do a much better job of disguising the heavy federally-mandated bumpers, so it looks sleek and trim compared to many of its siblings. There's plenty of shine, and the finish is very nice, but a dedicated hobbyist could really take it up a notch with a professional buff so that the car can live up to the legacy of the three-pointed star on its nose. And don't worry, this isn't just a fair-weather roadster, as both the hard-top and a soft are included with the car.
Most R107 SLs received MB-Tex vinyl, a patented material was very durable and elegant, which is why the interior on this car still shows so well today. The design is familiar, of course, but that's part of the SL's appeal, and with everything so sensibly arranged and logical, is there really any other way to do it? The upholstery's condition is very good all around, particularly for an open car, and aside from a couple splits in the dash pad, it looks great. Big, easy-to-read gauges were a Mercedes-Benz hallmark for decades and the giant steering wheel makes this car feel substantial when you're at the helm. Features like automatic climate control, power windows/locks, and cruise control mean it's one of the most user-friendly luxury vintage you can own, and the back seat is surprisingly spacious in this slick little car. A blue cloth convertible top stows neatly under the hard vinyl boot in back and looks almost new and like mentioned before, it also includes a removable hardtop.
In 1980, the SL switched to a 3.8 liter V8, which still delivers the kind of effortless performance for which these cars are famous. They're also quite reliable and easy to maintain, so don't be afraid of owning this one. It starts easily with a familiar V8 thrum from the exhaust and the bubbly idle and smooth torque make it feel beautifully polished from behind the wheel. The engine bay has been maintained over the years and remains clean, and it's full of correct parts, so no worries about deferred maintenance here. The 4-speed automatic transmission has a knack for always being in the right gear, and as always, it's impeccably smooth. The all-independent suspension is supple yet athletic and shows some recent parts, and while this is no sports car, it doesn't mind hustling a bit on your favorite roads. Power 4-wheel discs live behind those familiar Mercedes-Benz alloy wheels and carry right-sized 205/70/14 blackwall radials.
This is a clean, tidy SL in great colors that we can heartily recommend for warm weather fun. Just don't tell your friends and neighbors how affordable it really is! Call now!