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Old 09-05-2007, 01:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Exeter, CA
Posts: 16
What to Look for in 98-01 500 SLs

Been slowly getting interested in 1998-2001 500SLs (about what I could afford if I sell my 06 Mazda Miata). I have had in past 87 300TD (13 years) and replaced that with 2000 E320 7 years ago (still have). I find many going for some decent prices with low miles in Ca. My Q. What should I look for or stay away from in the years listed? Saw something on the Edmunds site that said 500SLs are gray market cars - is that possible? All the 500SL for sale are gray market?? Also would appreciate any specific sites to look at for some info on these specific models.

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Old 09-06-2007, 11:31 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Exeter, CA
Posts: 16
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Old 09-07-2007, 12:31 AM
RUFLIFE's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 9
If I'm Not Incorrect, The Only 500sl's That Were Grey Market Were Pre 129 Body Styles. I Had A Grey Market 107 (500sl) That Was A 1985 ( I Think That Was The Year ). I've Had 3 1991 Through My Current 2000 Sl500 And Personally Have Never Had Any Issues With Any Of Them. They Are Pretty Much A Bullet Proof Car In Almost All Respects. Only Thin I Do Is Make Them Handle Better With Suspension Mods. ( I Feel The Stock Suspension Is Way Too Soft, But Mine Are Only Fair Weather 3k To 5k Weekend Toys So Firming Up The Ride Doesn't Bother Me ) Only Thing You Need To Look For Is A Good Clean Accident Free Example With The Options Your Looking For. My 2000 Sl500 Is For Sale ( Check Posts ) Enthusiast Cars Are Always Better To Buy In My Opinion Because The Owners Care And Know What To Do And Not To Do. Hope It Helps. Good Luck.
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Old 09-12-2007, 03:11 PM
snowbilt's Avatar
Registered User
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 51
My research narrowed it down to the 96-98 models. We purchased a 98 and couldn't be happier with it. had the 4 speed tranny, went to five speed in 96. I figured they had two years to work out the kinks in that. 99 engine changed and has a little less hp, but there are more mods available for the 99 engine. 98 they went to digital climate readout and many other little things. Plus the 00 to 02 models was really out of our price range for what we wanted to spend. You can check out this site, but don't believe everything you read on here. It is a little biased as you will see. I mean pulling a SL out of the ditch buy the door handles.......come on.
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Old 09-12-2007, 05:05 PM
Pete Geither's Avatar
Half Fast Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Western Pa.
Posts: 2,417
I liked the Rockwell site. Those are only his opinions of course, but he had a lot of good technical stuff. One thing I hear a lot about is the inferiority of the 4 speed trannys in the older SLs'. I haven't driven a 5 speed, but I am really happy with the performance of my 4 speeder. It kicks down at ease, and seems to get me up to speed easily. The 5 speed should be quicker through the 1/4 mile, but I'll bet it's not by more than a 10th or two.

95 SL500 Smoke Silver, Parchment 64K
07 E350 4matic Station Wagon White 34K
02 E320 4Matic Silver/grey 80K
05 F150 Silver 44K
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