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Old 09-26-2019, 09:17 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 3
Need advice on 380SL search

We have been searching for a vintage SL to go along with our 928, we found this one on a local classifieds.
1985 380SL (Manufacturing date 12/84)

115, 775 miles
seller claims it is all original except the new soft top
has 1 crack in rear dash at 1.5" long
asking $13500

I am not very familiar with these cars, I am mechanically inclined and plan to do the work myself as much as possible.

Any thoughts, advice or help you can give would be greatly appreciated.
Thank you in advance,
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Old 09-27-2019, 12:42 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 751
Confirm that it is a double row timing chain, not a single. Maybe someone here can confirm that by year??? Single rows break and by 115K it must have been done. Drive it to see if you are satisfied with the performance of the 380 engine, they aren't known for speed.

It looks very nice, if the paint is original it must have been well cared for.

Good luck!!!
Does a Caddy stretch? No, but a Mercedes bendz.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:51 AM
okyoureabeast's Avatar
Rogue T Tolerant
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: North America
Posts: 1,634
Timing chain isn't an issue past 1984 so you're ok.

What work has been done on it? Had it had the subframe gussets done? There's a defect with the subframe that requires reinforcement. Google this if you're unfamiliar.

Does everything work? That's aircon, vacuum accessories, no leaks, etc?

Frankly, i think 13500 is too high given a torn top, ugly non function car phone, and a non stock radio. Torn top to me means something else is wrong.

Pull the carpets and look for rust. That plate looks like a M plate to me. These cars love to rust.

Make sure the engine is in tune. I would have a shop do a PPI and smoke test the engine. If there are any leaks, run away!

Maybe if there was serious repair work done with receipts, subframe work done, and a good top. What's confusing me is the 3rd brake light and rims. I was under the impression those were only on post 86 vehicles.

Regardless, it looks like an $8k car to me.
-Typos courtesy of my mobile phone.
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Old 09-27-2019, 06:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Posts: 7,474
Is the seller the actual long term owner or a car filpper?

Run their phone number through the google machine. Also ask to see the title so you can verify when they purchased it and if the name matches their name. If you get a story that it was their uncles car that willed it to them, look for an obituary to back this up.
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Old 09-27-2019, 09:05 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2019
Posts: 3
Thank you all for your advice, we will definitely try to do a little more research on both seller and car.

We appreciate your time and help, and if there is any thing else we should look out for we would be glad to know.
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Old 09-27-2019, 02:03 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: NE Oklahoma
Posts: 1,418
As mentioned third brake light does not belong on an '85. That one looks like the '88-'89 560SL model. Wheels are also later model and chrome is not factory. Yes it will be double row chain but with those miles and and age it is over due for upper guides, chain and tensioner replacement if not recently done.
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Old 09-28-2019, 07:53 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2019
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Thank you, Rowdie
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