sl Shop lets you try its classics

Dealer moves into events, track days – and new premises

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - /ex­pe­ri­ence ❚

A lead­ing Mercedes-Benz spe­cial­ist is aim­ing to get as many clas­sic en­thu­si­asts be­hind the wheel of an SL as pos­si­ble – thanks to a ma­jor new se­ries of events.

Mid­lands-based The SL Shop, Europe’s largest spe­cial­ist in the cars, has launched the SL Ex­pe­ri­ence, which of­fers pack­ages such as a £45 on-track test drive, hir­ing a car and tak­ing one on a continental tour.

SL Days will take place at Bices­ter Her­itage on 28 April, 7 July and 1 Septem­ber where cus­tomers will be able to drive one car or a ‘time­line’ of mod­els span­ning half a cen­tury. These are ex­pected to in­clude a 1960s W113 250 SL Pagoda, R107 300 SL and 500 SL and an early 1980s 4.5-litre V8 SportLine.

Speed fans can en­joy a SportLine track day at Don­ing­ton on 18 May, 19 Au­gust or 4 Septem­ber, with a qual­i­fied race in­struc­tor, and the chance to drive SLs at the cir­cuit.

‘It’s about giv­ing as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence these fine cars, and also get­ting the mes­sage across that these cars aren’t an in­vest­ment like a paint­ing or a sculp­ture, but some­thing that you can use and en­joy,’ says SL Shop man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, Sam Bai­ley.

Three tours are be­ing or­gan­ised, in Wales from 12-15 March, a Clas­sic Europe trip with Bruges and Stuttgart among the cities on the itin­er­ary on 10-15 Septem­ber and the Isle of Wight on 19-22 Oc­to­ber.

Bai­ley, who has been a life­long SL fan since he worked on the cars with his fa­ther as a young­ster, es­tab­lished the SL Shop ten years ago. To­day the com­pany em­ploys around 25 peo­ple and an­nual parts turnover alone ex­ceeds £1 mil­lion.

Buoyed by its re­cent suc­cesses, The SL Shop is plan­ning to move from its present home near Red­ditch, in Worces­ter­shire to new, larger premises in Strat­ford-upon-Avon.

Adds Bai­ley: ‘ We feel that that many as­pects of the busi­ness have grown to the max­i­mum size pos­si­ble in or­der for us to re­main niche and pas­sion­ate about these cars, which is another rea­son for us in­tro­duc­ing this new ven­ture.’

SL hire starts from £245 per day for an R107 or £395 for a long week­end. Nick Larkin

cus­tomers will be able to drive the sl shop’s one-off Mercedes-Benz sl sportline at Bices­ter Her­itage.

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