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  #1  
Old 07-04-2009, 01:06 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SE Mich
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ok, then, which one should I buy?

I have several friends who own various SL models. They all keep pushing me to buy one. I have sold off a couple cars recently and will be selling off four more, so there will be room to buy one.

Which should I buy?

An older two-seater like the 380/450 SL with dual tops?

A newer SL?

What about a newer SEL?

Which to avoid? to look for?

I got all the SL experts here, so please, put in your two cents.

Assume we got up to 8,000 to work with

Thanks
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Strelnik
Invest in America: Buy a Congressman!

1950 170SD
1951 Citroen 11BN
1953 Citroen 11BNF limo
1953 220a project
1959 180D
1960 190D
1960 Borgward Isabella TS 2dr
1983 240D daily driver
1983 380SL
1990 350SDL daily driver alt
3 x Citroen DS21M, down from 5
3 x Citroen 2CV, down from 6
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  #2  
Old 07-04-2009, 03:06 AM
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Join Date: May 2005
Location: East Midlands of the UK
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car choice

Hi Strelnik

Well let's start the ball rolling then!

What you're going to get from the forum are lots of biased answers from people just like me who love "Their" particular car! so here goes for mine:


I suggest a 300SL R107 facelift ( 86-89) and if you can find one - a Euro model possibly with a stick-shift if that's your choice.( I said I was biased!!)

Reasons:
  • Seems that in the US the Euro 107 models hold their value better though they come at a premium to start with.
  • The Euro models ( 300SL espcially) has better performance compared with the standard imports.(Less emmission control and no CAT)
  • The Facelift ( 86-89) 107 has ABS,a better engine, improved ride, better brakes, plus loads of little things.
  • An open top is FUN FUN but with the hard top you can use it in the winter as standard coupe.
Against:

Can't think of any


Cheers

Jim
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  #3  
Old 07-04-2009, 09:16 AM
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Location: Houston, Texas
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Yeah, I think the answer to this question will come from you and your lifestyle.

1) Start with sedan, coupe, or two-seat convertible - figure out which one best suits your life. I have an SL, but I don't drive it as much as the sedan because I have two boys, 6 and 4.

2) Once that's resolved, then you can start tackling what floats your boat - low-mileage, completely original beautiful machine? Used but well-cared for with higher miles? Rare, uncommon car or something "normal"? You want a car from the '70s? the '80s? the '90s? Will you do small repairs yourself? Will you do all repairs yourself?

With those answers, you can then proceed to "I think I'd like an SEC", or "how about an SL from the '80s", or "a newer SL like an r129 would be cool". When you get to this point, our experience can help you greatly choose a good one, but to get to that point you'll need to soul-search and pick a style, model, and decade of a car that best suits your life and your personality. We can't do that part.
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1989 500SEL Euro
1966 250SE Cabriolet
1958 BMW Isetta 600
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  #4  
Old 07-04-2009, 12:19 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: SE Mich
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coleyjf View Post
Hi Strelnik

Well let's start the ball rolling then!

What you're going to get from the forum are lots of biased answers from people just like me who love "Their" particular car! so here goes for mine :

I suggest a 300SL R107 facelift ( 86-89) and if you can find one - a Euro model possibly with a stick-shift if that's your choice.( I said I was biased!! Jim
Thanks Jim, you have started the ball. I'm also interested in finding out such details are: type X has terrible rust problems, Type Y has many fuel injection problems etc
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Strelnik
Invest in America: Buy a Congressman!

1950 170SD
1951 Citroen 11BN
1953 Citroen 11BNF limo
1953 220a project
1959 180D
1960 190D
1960 Borgward Isabella TS 2dr
1983 240D daily driver
1983 380SL
1990 350SDL daily driver alt
3 x Citroen DS21M, down from 5
3 x Citroen 2CV, down from 6
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  #5  
Old 07-04-2009, 01:23 PM
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Location: NE Oklahoma
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The first model 107's through '74 or '75, can't remember which, had Bosch D-Jetronics electronic fuel injection. Injectors are very expensive to and not exactly inexpensive to buy refurbished. The later K-Jetronics (CIS) is a mechanical system but it also has some expensive parts if they fail.

The 1986-89 560SL had the new subframe so you don't have to worry about that. Also ABS. A decent, low mileage can still be bought for a reasonable price. A higher mileage, well documented one is also a good buy, just make sure the timing chain, guides and tensioner have been replaced if near 100,000 miles or over.
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  #6  
Old 07-04-2009, 11:07 PM
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I'm not sure you'll get much in the way of an SL for $8,000.00. If you do find one for that price, you will likely need to pour some bucks into it in order to get it up to speed. Maintaining one of these older SL's is not cheap. Buying injectors at $25-$30 bucks a pop is small change when compared to some of the repairs which will inevitably come.

I just finished a complete engine rebuild of my '85 500SL (Euro) and it ran me roughly $10,000.00. The only things in the engine that weren't replaced were 7 pistons, 8 rods, and the valves. Heads were ground, one cylinder was honed and an oversized piston put in it. Rings, camshafts, cam towers, all the bearings, timing chain, tensioner, rails, front and rear seals, oil pump, oil chain, water pump, power steering pump...and the list goes on. Engine was pulled twice, ultimately resulting in boring out the head bolt holes and putting timeserts in the heads.

The aluminum block is a booger when it comes to retorquing the bolts. It's almost inevitable that you will pull one or more threads. I have one thread that came out totally intact in the threads of the head bolt. One other thread came out in pieces. Putting timeserts in the heads has pretty much made the engine bullet proof if the heads have to be removed again. The catch with putting timeserts in the engine is you must purchase a plate with the pattern and exact angle in order to properly align the holes. Plate costs $600.00 thru Baum tools. My mechanic ate the cost of that himself. Said he would need for for future engine rebuilds. Nice guy.

My mechanic gave me a once in a lifetime deal. I got all the parts at his cost and 60 hours of his labor at $45.00 per hour. He put a lot more time into it than that, even with my helping and doing most of the scut work. I now have an engine that should be good for another 150,000 miles. The body was pristine, or I'd never have undertaken the engine rebuild.

One caution for anyone replacing the rings in one of these aluminum engines. The rings MUST BE CHROMED. We priced the rings from Mercedes and they wanted $160.00 per piston. German Auto sold them for about $22.00 per piston. The catch was that theirs are not chromed. We wound up going to Total Seal and having a set of rings manufactured to Mercedes specs for about $25.00 per piston. Interestingly, after we had ordered the rings made, we learned they now have gapless rings available for the engine. The benefit is about another 10 horsepower. Wish we had known they were available and we would have gone that route instead.

These older SL's are great to drive, but are not cheap to own and operate--even if you do much of the work yourself.
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'85 500SL (Euro) - 186,000 w/a complete restoration and engine rebuild at 154,000
'95 C280 - 174,000
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  #7  
Old 07-05-2009, 10:11 AM
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Location: Falls Church, VA
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A clean 300SL 5-speed would be ideal, but not with your budget. In this price range, you will need to make some compromises between cosmetics, mechanicals, and mileage. If it's going to be a fun car, my choice would be a 280 with a manual transmission and small bumpers. If you are going to commute in it, I would try to find a 560 or a late 380.

If working climate control is important, forget about the 76-81 cars with the dreaded servo. Avoid the 74-75 with underhood cats, and the 81-83 380's with the single-row timing chain.

From your roster, you know how to check out cars. But with a 107, be sure the soft top is in good shape, goes up and down easily, and check its well and seal for rust. Pull up the cover behind the seats and look for rust, ditto for all the carpets.

Good luck and keep us posted!
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Falls Church VA
'66 200, '66 230SL, '96 SL500. Sold: '81 380SL, '86 300E, '72 250C, '95 C220, 3 '84 280SL's '90 420SEL, '72 280SE, '73 280C, '78 280SE, '70 280SL, '77 450SL, '85 380SL, '87 560SL, '85 380SL, '72 350SL, '96 S500 Coupe
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  #8  
Old 07-05-2009, 11:26 AM
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Location: West Hills, CA Northwest San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles
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This is not mine, and I have nothing to do with it. But it is close to you?? MI
Worth a look or a chat.


Mercedes-Benz SL-Class 560SL|Research 1989 Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz : SL-Class ebay Item number: 120443709597
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  #9  
Old 07-05-2009, 04:11 PM
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Location: NE Oklahoma
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Here is one that a BW member is selling with no reserve. It may be too much and too far for you but last time it sold for just under $11,000. but the bidder didn't come through.
http://www.benzworld.org/forums/r-c107-sl-slc-class/1455360-f-s-1986-560sl-w-under.html
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