1992 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster
Mercedes-Benz 1992 300SL Roadster
In 1989, Mercedes-Benz retired its classic Type 107 bodyshell that had been used for a succession of roadsters for for what was nearly the preceding 20 years, replacing it with an equally appealing, sleek new design in the modern idiom. This new Type 129 body style was used for three different engine types: 6.0-liter V12, 5.0-liter V8 and 3.0-liter straight six. As installed in the 300SL, the fuel-injected six was available in 12 and 24-valve versions, the latter being 41 horsepower more powerful at 231bhp and delivering significantly improved performance.
As one might expect, these new SL luxury sports cars were designed to be world leaders in their class and were lavishly equipped in the best Mercedes-Benz tradition. The W129 found a market with the rich and famous, including Princess Diana, who got a 500SL in 1992 to replace her XJS—an event which marked the first time a member of the British royal family acquired a car not built in their own Kingdom. This particular car is no different, having always enjoyed a pampered, well-maintained and always garaged existence, most recently as part of an extensive and significant collection valued well into the millions. Finished in Signal Red over tan hides, this 300SL left Stuttgart in September 1991, equipped with the more powerful 24-valve straight six and fully loaded with both tops. Few more advanced or well appointed cars could be bought when the purchaser of this SL drove off the lot: automatic climate control, 10-way power and heated seats with 3 memory settings, passenger side SRS airbag and automatic pop-up roll bar system were all standard fare.
Having traveled just 47,000 miles since new, this fantastic example is truly a head-turner that still looks fantastically sporty and luxurious despite being more than 20 years old. The exterior is near perfect, the body straight with excellent panel fits and gaps and no dings or evidence of body work to speak of. The finish is fantastic, marred only by the most minimal of imperfections, none of which were significant enough to appear in any of the pictures. The same is true of the interior, the rich leather seats showing only the most insignificant wear, and the carpets, interior panels and dash are all flawless. Both soft and hard tops are in excellent original condition. Mechanically the car is strong and solid, indicative of the careful use it has received over its lifetime. The engine starts effortlessly, idles consistently and pulls strongly and smoothly through each of the gears. The 3.0L Inline 6 Cylinder engine puts out plenty of power and has the added benefit of having the lowest average maintenance costs and the best fuel economy of all of the R129 SLs. Recent work done to the car includes: new power system for both hard and soft tops, rebuilt computers, and service.
The R129 Series SL is considered by many in the collector car world to be the last standard production Mercedes that will ever be considered a classic. With these finishes, low mileage and an excellent provenance, this example is as fine as they come and will undoubtedly provide many happy miles for its next owner.