I'm going to look at a 'cherry' 1984 380 SL in a few days. I already own 2 Benz-mobiles (1989 300E with 155K miles and 1992 190E 2.3 with 199K miles) so am somewhat familiar with them.
My mother in law has owned a raft of SL models over the years (currently has a '95 SL 500) but never one with the 380 V8.
I've heard and read in this forum that the 380 engine suffers from timing chain issues (factory stock with single-row chain, updates to dual-row chain), tensioner / chain guides, and head gasket failures.
I'm very mechanically inclined but would rather not get into some of that 'heavier' stuff. I've had both of our cars maintained by Mercedes Centre in Santa Cruz, CA. and found them to be excellent. Still, I fear buying the car and then facing a $5000 repair bill for chains and head gasket. (I had a friend run into this with his '81 380 SLC).
What do I need to know, what should I watch out for. Your learned suggestions and kind words will be greatly appreciated.