Finding one reasonably priced euro-spec Mercedes-Benz roadster (R107) amongst the classifieds is a welcome departure from all the U.S. big-bumpered 380SL and 560SL models. When it’s a euro and is a 500SL rather than the 280SL, it's worth a closer look. When two of them show up within a week of each other and are the exact same blue on gray w/blue top color combo two years apart, things start to get exciting.
The older twin is a 1982 with 136,000 miles located in the Chicago suburbs. The car retains its glass euro headlights, slim euro bumpers, rubber trunk spoiler, and rear jump seat sized just large enough for your school-age kids.
The listing suggests that the odometer remains in kilometers but is unclear from the photos (buyer to verify). This being a gray market vehicle imported in the early 1980’s should have had the speedometer/odometer replaced as part of the federalization process but not all received the full treatment. The paintwork still carries a shine and the original 14” bundt wheels look to be free of corrosion.
The leather seats and the dashboard look to be in decent shape without cracks or fading but the zebrawood center console has some delamination and significant cracking.
The underside picture suggests a surprisingly corrosion-free life, and reasonable tread depth on the tires.
To top it off, the original color-matching hardtop is pictured but no hardtop stand is pictured with it (a nice bonus when it is present for storage purposes). The lack of an under-hood picture leaves us guessing as to the extent of mechanical work done on these. The timing chain’s plastic guides should be replaced by this age if there is no record with the current owner. At $12,500, it is well under lower mileage well-sorted examples that routinely match or exceed their US-spec 560SL counterparts due in part to their looks and uniqueness state-side. More on the 500SL vs. 560SL comparison below.
The younger twin is a 1984 with 88,000 miles located in the Cleveland area. The car has US-spec headlights but does retain the slim euro bumpers. The lack of a rubber trunk spoiler isn’t concerning as not all euro 500SLs came with one, nor did all come with the rear jump seat. There look to be yellow lights on either side of the fog lights in the lower valence that don’t look factory; perhaps a federalization add-on? The clear coat is very faded on the hood and trunk holding true its Florida heritage mentioned in the description.
The addition of chrome fender arches is often a matter of taste, but buyers should inspect closely for rust bubbles hiding underneath them.
The interior shows reasonably well without any noticeable cracks or sun damage, however the wood trim looks rather faded on the center console and could do with a refinishing.
The matching burl walnut box under the armrest and covering the glovebox panel are nice touches that aren’t very common. Note the US speedometer and odometer and an early airbag-equipped steering wheel (seen on some 1984 and 1985 model years).
The seller comments extensively on the benefits of the 500SL’s motor over the 560SL but does so with unnecessarily broad strokes. The euro 500SL vs U.S. 560SL comparison is a longstanding one that often ends in an argument over numbers more so than in driving experience or acceleration. The euro 5.0L single-overhead camshaft V8 does have higher compression than the US 3.8L and 5.6L motors, and also did not have any emissions controls. The result is 231 hp for the euro 5.0L and 227 hp for the 5.6L but with better torque numbers for the latter. Both are adequate for these roadsters and the focus should be on condition, care, and mileage rather than on which motor is favorable.
Summing up the younger twin is a lower asking price of $10,500 that adequately reflects the poor paint condition but recently fitted tires and lower mileage do help. If only the euro headlights remained on this one. Perhaps the owner did the switch themselves and have them, along with the hard top, to even this one up against its older sibling.
All comparisons aside, both cars serve as unique versions of the R107 model here in the US and with some love, could really shine as starter weekend cruisers for years to come.
Original CL Details
South Chicago (LINK TO LISTING)
1982 Mercedes-Benz 500SL
For sale 1982 Mercedes 500 SL
Blue soft top in good shape
Color matching hardtop
136k miles=217k kilometers
Cleveland (LINK TO LISTING)
1984 Mercedes-Benz 500SL
This is my 1984 500 SL Mercedes Benz convertible. Its a real 500SL that was a German market car imported to Miami and then federalized by Taurus as the badge in the glove box shows. This has a 5L V8 will duel overhead cams this is the fastest r107 produced.
The 560SL has a larger displacement engine however since it was equipped with smog equipment it is a slower heavier car made for the USA.
A 500SL is the r107 that was made into a road rally car.
This car has a clean Ohio title. The document show this car was imported into Miami in 1983 where it underwent federalization. It was titled for the first time in 1984 in Palm Beach after it had been federalized for the USA.