Classic 380/450sl

JDoyle

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Hello,
As I enter middle age, I think it's time I got my classic car in the garage . I'm interested in either the 380 or 450 sl from 1980 or older. I'd really appreciate any help with the following questions.

1. I've looked at some ads and the amounts asked seam to vary a lot. I know it will depend on condition, but how much should I expect to pay for a car that looks and drives well without been show room condition?

2. Apologies for the dumb question, but, Is the soft top on these cars manually operated? I suspect it is.


J
 

television

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Daventry
Your Mercedes
2002 SL500, 216 CL500, all fully loaded
Hello and welcome,, the condition all depends on mainly any rust in the chassis area's, and all the way down to small details. Some dealers ask a bomb for them,,there must be a middle of the road on buying one, we have a good few on here,, sadly no one else has come up yet.


Yes the hoods are manual, though there was a firm who made
a power version, it was not very good
 

Myros

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in the great , grim 'oop north
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R107, S211, R170
as Malcolm said with extra bits

The best thing is to buy mercedes enthusiast, look at the ads and visit a few of your most local dealers and look at their stock. if they are as keen to shift them as i imagine, then a test drive wont be a problem.
I have been following ME for about 5 years now, and I know that some dealers haven't shifted some of their cars in all that time, and haven't budged on price, and won't ever sell them until they do.
The cars vary from rotten restore and spend all your money type projects, to spend all your money and hope nothing goes wrong projects. It all depends on how fussy you are, and how much you are prepared to spend. There are all sorts of rules of thumb about 10k gets you this, and 20k gets you that and 5k gets you this, but like any other classic, 20yr and older car, luck plays a part. So does usage. they are great (thirsty) daily drivers. If you don't care much about thirst or mileage accumulation, drive it all the time and it will love you for it. Mine gets fussy if left for over three weeks and shows the odd sign of sit-itis. the indicator repeater in the dash goes wonky for a while, making me check my reflection in shops and the like. It all keeps me in line.
The hoods are manual, but not that hard work. You can do them from inside if you are agile. Walking around the outside it only takes a minute or two.
Where are you located. If you're up north, west yorkshire way, you can come and have alook at mine and I'll talk you through and show you the areas to watch as best I can.
there are loads of quality posts here from people who really know thier stuff, save mea fortune. There are also good forums in the US and Germany, same thing, but more numerous.
I'd say buy privately, but take a qualified mechanic who knows what's what with you. I bought mine while talking to my chap over the phone and describing anything I didn't like or wasn't sure of. Fulll service history is a must, but so is regular usage, even if it's only 20 miles or so every now and then. They need to get warmed up and all the systems used.
 

ncooper

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York
Your Mercedes
1984 Mercedes Benz 280 SL,1993 Mercedes Benz 190E Manual,1993 Mercedes Benz 190E Auto
Hello,

I have recently been bitten by the same bug as you and have acquired a 1984 280 SL,the one with the six cylinder engine.

I am using it very day and intend to continue throughout the year.
It's returning 26 mpg,but I don't care,it's the most pleasure I have ever had from driving a car and over the years I have owned a huge range of cars from a Minivan,an Austin Westminster,my previous favourite car,Singers,Fords,BMWs,Volvos,Mercedes,Land Rovers,Bedford vans,Morrises,etc,etc.

Mine has no rust and was purchased from a local dealer who specialises in Mercedes SLs,he had done all the research and mechanical examinations and in his words,"I only sell these in this condition".He has been in business for years and has an immuculate reputation.I chose to trust him and after some six weeks of ownership,it looks like I made the right decision.

The cars all come with a detachable hardtop,for use in the winter months.
Once that is removed,a three person job,and carefully stored away,the soft top can be raised or lowered in a couple of minutes.
There are two locks on top of the windscreen,the roof folds up just like the hood on an old fashioned pram.Once locked onto the windscreen,there are two levers behind the passenger seat,one secures a central pin at the back of the roof and the other tensions it.Job done.
Some come with rear seats,but unless your potential passengers are under five feet tall,they are not of practical use.

As far as I can gather,they will rust behind the headlamps,on the inner wings,at the front and rear of the sills,around the side mouldings,on the bulkhead, in the spare wheel tray in the boot floor and in the well in which the soft top is stowed.This may not be an exhaustive list but these are good places to start looking.
The bonnet,boot lid and door skins are aluminium.

I think the range of prices simply reflects the huge variation in the condition that these cars may be in after 25-30 years.They may have pristine bodywork,but equally,could be held together by filler.
I read that post 1980 models are much less prone to rust and post 1985 models even more so.
There seem to be dealers offering examples with well over 100,000 miles for similar prices for models with perhaps only 60,000 and there is definitely a noticeable price difference depending on the geographical location of the car for sale.

I think the advice to take someone with you who knows the cars is very sound and will much reduce the risk of you inadvertantly buying a "money pit".

Although it is by no means at all a hard and fast rule,I reckon a really good useable and reliable example that has been properly maintained and has documents to warrant both this and sensible mileage will leave you with little change from £12-£14,000.
Showroom condition,perhaps £20,000 or more and big trouble £3-£4000
Mine was £13,000 with 59,000 miles and all the documents,but it is the model with the smallest engine.

All this is based on my own recent experience and intended to be helpful.
EDIT..I am in East Yorkshire and you would also be welcome to come and look if it would help.

Regards,
Nick.
 
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Alex M Grieve

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Broom, Warwickshire
Your Mercedes
B Class d200 Sport Premium Plus (66)
The best thing is to buy Mercedes enthusiast, look at the ads and visit a few of your most local dealers and look at their stock. if they are as keen to shift them as i imagine, then a test drive wont be a problem.
I have been following ME for about 5 years now, and I know that some dealers haven't shifted some of their cars in all that time, and haven't budged on price, and won't ever sell them until they do.
The cars vary from rotten restore and spend all your money type projects, to spend all your money and hope nothing goes wrong projects. It all depends on how fussy you are, and how much you are prepared to spend. There are all sorts of rules of thumb about 10k gets you this, and 20k gets you that and 5k gets you this, but like any other classic, 20yr and older car, luck plays a part. So does usage. they are great (thirsty) daily drivers. If you don't care much about thirst or mileage accumulation, drive it all the time and it will love you for it. Mine gets fussy if left for over three weeks and shows the odd sign of sit-itis. the indicator repeater in the dash goes wonky for a while, making me check my reflection in shops and the like. It all keeps me in line.
The hoods are manual, but not that hard work. You can do them from inside if you are agile. Walking around the outside it only takes a minute or two.
Where are you located. If you're up north, west Yorkshire way, you can come and have alook at mine and I'll talk you through and show you the areas to watch as best I can.
there are loads of quality posts here from people who really know their stuff, save me a fortune. There are also good forums in the US and Germany, same thing, but more numerous.
I'd say buy privately, but take a qualified mechanic who knows what's what with you. I bought mine while talking to my chap over the phone and describing anything I didn't like or wasn't sure of. Full service history is a must, but so is regular usage, even if it's only 20 miles or so every now and then. They need to get warmed up and all the systems used.

What an excellent post Myros - factual, sensible, balanced, informative , helpful and humorous!

The OP mentioned 380/450s and that probably places the car before the 1985 watershed, after which the cars were galvanized and therefore better protected against rust. Extra caution is therefore necessary on the areas in which rust does not declare itself too readily. There is an excellent set of information and illustrations on a project involving a 280 SL of that era, IIRC.

For the rest, you hit the spot precisely, the more you use them, the better they like it - but they do like petrol.

We look forward to hearing of your choice and seeing the pics. There are many who will help you with any issues that arise. Usual rules, they make the diagnosis and recommend the treatment - you do the work!
 
OP
J

JDoyle

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Many thanks for your replies. Much food for thought.
It looks like my budget is too small at this time if I want the SL I have in mind. I agree with your posts, theirs no point in buying a poor SL.

So, for the moment, I've printed of a picture of a beautiful 450sl and placed a money box underneath it! Given that I have a couple of teenagers nearing college age, I think it could be a slow process but, some things in life are worth waiting for.

I'm from Ireland and a classic car is considered 30 years or older for reduced car tax (over 3L in Ireland is €1,500 pr anum to tax at full rate), insurance & VRT (Importation tax on cars, illegal under EU law)

I'm planning to use it as second car, but will bear in mind that they need to be run it regularly. Pure hardship having to take a 450sl on the road for no other reason than to just drive it :D

Re rust etc.
I thought about importing the SL from a drier climate e.g. USA, but that would mean a left hand drive which I'm not that keen on. So, what about drier climates that drive on the proper side of the road (S Africa, Australia, Japan)?
Carriage cost would be higher & I would be buying the car unseen etc etc.

Anyway, it looks like I’ll have plenty of time to work these issues out as I skip my afternoon tea just so I can put another euro in the moneybox :)
 


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