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buying an SL 107 - am i setting myself up for a world of pain?

Discussion in 'General Mercedes-Benz Related Discussion' started by J2Bs, Dec 19, 2011.

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  1. J2Bs

    J2Bs Guest

    Hi all,

    So, I'm a newbie here and hoping for a few helpers before I get too involved.

    I'm looking into getting a later 80's SL (107) and was hoping to be able to do so for c.£10k. Don't mind spending more if I have to get a decent one(?)...

    I'm in my mid 30's and live in SW London and need to park on the pavement. My mechanical skills are OK (drove an old Land Rover Defender overland to Cape Town so got plenty of practice!).

    I reckon I'll only drive the car 2-4 times a month and would like it to work when I get in it. It'd be my only car, but me and the wife both use our scooters a lot so not totally reliant on it.

    I really do love the SL's, have wanted one since I was a kid and although I like some tinkering about and researching this kind of stuff, I don't want it to be a constant pain in the butt. The more I research and read more threads, it worries me that it's pretty easy to be royally done over and to buy a lemon.

    My brother used to have a Volvo 1800 around the corner and he's definitely no mechanical whizz, so it can be done.

    Am I off my rocker?? Any (sensible) feedback would be gratefully received...

    Thanks
     
  2. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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  3. Mic

    Mic Senior Member

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    Hello and welcome.....of course you are off your rocker.....the joy of it.

    The 107s are relatively expensive for a good one.....and then to keep it on the pavement for very infrequent usage??????????The 107s are very pretty and desirable but it may be worth considering a 129 for your budget and usage.

    Plenty of both on the market.....happy hunting.

    Mic
     
  4. Alex M Grieve

    Alex M Grieve Senior Member

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    Good point Mic. You can get a lot of 129 for £10K at present. They are very well equipped, comfortable and reliable. They tend not to rust and are excellent dynamically. With the hardtop in place, they would also tolerate living at the kerbside better than a 107.
     
  5. television

    television Always remembered RIP

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    I have to agree with the 2 post above, a soft top standing out is not a good idea really
     
  6. deejaybee

    deejaybee Senior Member

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    You should probably also make some enquiries about insurance to help you decide. Although you could theoretically get a classic insurance for a R107 it may be precluded because you don't have off-street parking. Also remember that the insurance group for either a 107 or 129 is fairly high, particulalry for a 500 model. Depending on which part of SW london you live in you may find that finding insurance at a realistic price for any type of SL based on street parking is a non-starter?

    Dave
     
  7. robparker

    robparker Senior Member Authorised Forum Supporter

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    mechanically any 107 will be reliable to use, i've had a few, but as everyone is saying rust is their problem and street parking wont help it. If you are going to keep it on the street i'd be temped to spend £4-5k on one (you can still get a good mechanical and sound one for this) but accept there might be a few scabs on it and have £5k in the bank to attend to body problems when needed, rather than let a £10k car deteriorate and go down in value
     
  8. antijam

    antijam Senior Member

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    Any idea where he might find one Alex - or has it gone? :rolleyes:
     
  9. Myros

    Myros Senior Member

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    I'm with Rob here

    but then I would be. a 107 can live with it's hardtop on just as easily as a 129, surely. They are neither of them stow in the boot bits of kit.

    I'd say don't be in a rush to buy, there are always plenty to choose from, and from what I've seen of some of the dedicated 107 dealers, some are way ott on price and will never shift, as they haven't moved in the 6 years I've been watching them.

    Rust rust rust is the big problem. just about anything else can be fixed, either by you, or a good indie. Like most things classic and MB, nearly everything is available at a price.

    as for usage, i fire mine up very two weeks and go for a spin, barring the most horrible of snowy weather. mainly to warm her up and stop things clotting up, but partly to remind me just how much fun the car is to drive.

    Buy whatever engine floats your boat, as they are all pretty bad on consumption by modern standards, and all as bad or worse than each other by small margins.

    test drive as many as you can, and let your heart rule your head after you've checked all the bodywork for the r-word. Condition is much more important than mileage.
     
  10. OP
    J2Bs

    J2Bs Guest

    Hmmm, thinking, it hurts!!

    Thanks loads for all your feedback so far. Really helps to get my thoughts together.

    Kerb Issues:
    I was kinda hoping that by having a 107 with a hard top, I'd avoid some of issues with leaving it on the street. Maybe, maybe not.... Then again, will probs be moving out of town sometime next year so will at least be on a drive way, or garage, after that.

    129 vs 107:
    Pretty sure I'd want a 107, not a 129, sorry 129 owners, they are great cars but not the one I've been longing for since childhood.

    Insurance:
    Are there insurers that specialise on 107's and/or classic(ish) cars? The thought of phoning thousands of agents and filling in similar number of online forms makes me feel ill.

    Spending £4-5k on a scruffy but mechanically sound one:
    Would be well up for that but hard to tell if I'd be constantly throwing money on it to keep it going, or getting patches welded to it. Guess it'd only be an annual thing for MOT's. Also, finding one that isn't great looking but is great running might be asking a lot of my basic 107 knowledge.

    Age:
    I also like the slightly older ones, with nicer wheels, or just going to be in worse shape as older and not originally galvinised. I'm also a fan of the SLC's but same issue..

    Think I'd also rather the V8 than 6 cylinders but not too bothered about having the 500, actually would prefer something a bit more modest.

    Oh, also just read Myros' post. I like your thinking!!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2011
  11. Bolide

    Bolide Senior Member

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    Wouldn't you be better off joining something like the Classic Car Club? That way you can use a car 2-4 times a month and someone else gets the hassle of owning & maintaining it

    The two considerations with cars like these are running / maintenance costs and depreciation. A really good R107 won't depreciate if bought right. You're planning to buy a cheap one so the running / maintenance costs will be high and the car still won't retain as much value as a nice example kept in a garage

    Nick Froome
    www.w124.co.uk
     
  12. Alex M Grieve

    Alex M Grieve Senior Member

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    as luck would have it Nick, I have just the car! :D

    Thank you for asking.
     
  13. Alex M Grieve

    Alex M Grieve Senior Member

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    There are certainly garages which specialise in 107s. I enclose the link for one near us in the Midlands. They advertise the cars currently for sale, but include a section on "recently sold". This will give you an idea of what is possible (model, age, mileage, extras) and at what price.

    Their presentation is excellent and their prices are sensible - and I have no interest in the company at all.

    If you did consider visiting them, I live only a few miles away and would be happy to accompany you to view. It is always prudent to have someone along who is not emotionally involved!

    http://www.theslshop.com/index.html
     
  14. prwales

    prwales Banned

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    Test drive as many as you can, the 280 is very different to the 300 in character, 6's smoother than V8's and cheaper to fix but rust is the issue. Do try a few w129s to to see what you're missing as well, you might change your mind, these are the future classics.
     
  15. StevieM

    StevieM New Member

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    Me, too!

    Hi,

    I have also taken the plunge, blown a substantial part of my retirement lump sum, and put a deposit down on a 1989 300SL. Will be paying absolutely top whack from a well-known MB specialist dealer near Alton, Hants, but then again, it is a genuine 23,500 miler with all the requisite history and it frankly looks like new (I know you can tart them up but this one just feels right and has the dealer's description in writing). Only downside is that it seems to have had a relatively large number of previous owners (5) but I do not always agree that that is automatically a bad thing.

    J2B,

    It sound to me that a good SLC would suit you better, as recommended in other posts. More car for your money. I would never keep a soft-top outside, let alone in London.

    BTW, 'my' car apparently won the 'Best Classsic Convertible' accolade from the MBOC at the 2009 Tatton Park Classic show. Does anyone have a picture of it there or can verify that this occurred (I have a certificate)? It is blue-black with mushroom leather interior.

    Cheers,

    Steve
     
  16. IanA2

    IanA2 Active Senior Members

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    Have you actually driven a 107 or a 129?

    Suggest you drive both and see if you still feel the same.
     
  17. StevieM

    StevieM New Member

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    Ian,
    I know what you mean. No, I have never driven an R129, but I am sure it is much better in most respects than an R107. Problem is that the R129 is still regarded as an 'old' car rather than a classic. This will obviously change with time but how long?

    Personally I love chrome, which defines for me a classic. I am buying one of the best of the newer classic Mercs and intend to keep it pristine and low mileage. J2B seems to feel the same way about the exact model of SL - he wants the W107 series, even though the R129 would logically make more sense. Sometimes you have to go where your heart leads you!
     
  18. IanA2

    IanA2 Active Senior Members

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    And some regard it as Mr Sacco's finest work........:D
     
  19. samannan

    samannan New Member

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    It may be worth having a chat with your local council... they often have garages to rent locally at surprisingly low rates, which would be much better for the SL and could mean lower insurance premiums too!
     
  20. kevbo

    kevbo Member

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    I've got a 107 380sl non-galvanised 85, I bought it quiet cheaply but spent nearly £6k dealing with bodywork issues at a decent body shop. On reflection I think it's probably less risky to buy one that has any rust dealt with and good paint and interior. There are lots around and I would try the SL Shop. Get one with history and that has been looked after I sure you won't regret it!

    I did have a 129 previously, a fantastically well built car, in my opinion. My wife preferred the 129 to the 107, particularly the power hood but also its ride/handling. A good 129 just eats the miles, but maybe doesn't have the classic lines?

    If you've no garage what about a quality fitted car cover? Bit of a pain to manage but may save the car from the worst of the weather.
     

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