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Old 07-27-2002, 08:56 PM
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380SL - to buy or not to buy?


I'm new to the world of Mercedes (but not to collector cars) and I'm looking at an '82 380SL. Car is being sold by a small dealer who bought it at a wholesale auto auction. It has 155k. Very minor rust here and there, interior quite nice and complete (aftermarket wood Nardi steering wheel is very nice). Car has NOT been cleaned up with a recent respray.

Engine feels very smooth, no shake at idle, almost inaudible (I can tell this ain't no British car!). Only problem I notice is a slow 2-3 shift with the transmission, which I gather could be a cheap fix (fluid and filter), an expensive fix (rebuilt tranny) or maybe a problem I could live with for a long time. Also, A/C doesn't blow cold, but fan and thermostat appear to be working -- I'd probably just convert to R134.

I've been reading on this forum about the dreaded single-row timing chain; I DO NOT KNOW if this has been converted. Can you tell just by pulling a valve cover?

Anyway, price is around $5,600, which seems decent. Comments? I do most of my own car work, when I can.

Thanks for any feedback, and this is an excellent forum. An hour's reading here has given me a pretty good picture of these cars.
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