Tag Archives: R129

Trip Notes Part 2: Show Me a Little Merc!

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It is no secret to my friends, family, and readers that I am a Mercedes Geek. It goes back to my youth when my Dad – Dr. Mechanical Engineer – regaled me with stories of the overengineering wonders that Mercedes cars were (it should be noted that a few short years after I started driving he changed alliances to Lexus). The first new car I am old enough to remember my parents buying was a Mercedes, I learned to drive on a Mercedes, and when I was finally married and on my own, I bought my first. I have since owned about fifty of them from across the range. Suffice it to say that I have a passion for Mercedes cars, especially the classics. So after a couple of days of Porsche immersion, meeting up with the good folks at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center USA for some Benz time was like putting on your favorite pair of shoes. And then driving them.
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1983 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 5-speed: Classic and Rare Beater Bargain

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Having been produced from 1971 through 1989 in no less than eight engine configurations, Mercedes-Benz R107 roadsters are hardly rare. In fact, for many of us children of the 1960s, 1970s, and even 1980s, when someone references “Mercedes SL” these are the cars that come to mind. Here in the US, however, we only really got three “official” versions of the R107: the 450SL (and 350SL 4.5 which was the same car) from 1972 through 1980, the 380SL from 1981 through 1985, and the 560SL from 1986 through the end of production. That leaves a lot of SLs that never made it to our shores, including anything across the range that came with a manual transmission. That’s what makes this Euro-spec car on CraigsList in Fort Lauderdale, Florida a rarity. That, and its low $4,400 asking price.

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1991 Mercedes-Benz 300SL 5-Speed: Putting the “Sports” back in “Sports Leicht”

The original Mercedes-Benz SL-series cars were true sports cars: hard-edged, performance-oriented, and they took some skill to drive. In fact, the designation “SL” originally stood for “Sports Leicht” or in English, “Sports Light” referencing the sporting nature of the car and its lightweight construction. Subsequent models, starting with the 190SL and carrying through the R113 “Pagoda” models and on to the iconic Beverly Hills Housewife R107 convertibles, steadily became less sporting and less light. Quality remained top-notch in true Mercedes fashion and only improved as the years progressed, but “Sport” was a concept that seemed to get lost in translation, especially on U.S. shores where buyers could not even buy a manual transmission-equipped Mercedes SL after the last of the R113 Pagodas rolled off the boat from Sindelfingen. Until, that is, the R129 300SL came along. The new 300SL could be had with a stick shift – like this car on eBay – but very few made it over here.

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1995 Mercedes-Benz SL500: Are You Feeling Lucky?

Yes, folks, the blog has been quiet for a while. Truth be told, our day jobs have been taking it out of us lately, and we haven’t even been scanning the classifieds lately, much less blogging about interesting finds! That is, until this weekend when I was doing some catch-up writing for one of my other automotive outlets, and I managed to revitalize my dormant car hunting gene. I’ve actually stumbled across a few interesting things over the past few days, but this one really asks the question that we are all about: are you totally that stupid? The car in question is the 1995 Mercedes-Benz R129 SL500 roadster you see here, available here on Craigslist in my hometown of Fairfax, VA for just $3,900. Seriously, beat Miata money for a V8-powered Mercedes Sports Leicht two-seater!

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