1997 MERCEDES-BENZ R129 SL 320

EN­GINE 3199cc/6-cyl/DOHC POWER 228bhp@5600rpm TORQUE 232lb ft@3750rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 149mph 0-60mph 8.4sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 24-30mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, five-speed auto MoT 12 months ODOME­TER 51,000 miles

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - BUYING & SELLING - Nathan Chad­wick

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

The R129 is renowned for be­ing a solid car and this one feels no dif­fer­ent. It feels com­pli­ant and sturdy at all times, with no hes­i­ta­tion from the en­gine or gear­box. The six-cylin­der en­gine gives vi­brant per­for­mance backed up by pre­dictable, con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing han­dling. The sus­pen­sion ex­hibits no pe­cu­liar­i­ties and the steer­ing is free from slop.

BODY­WORK CHECK

This Mercedes is in good con­di­tion over­all, though there were spots of lac­quer peel, painted-over chips and signs of paint pen use, as you might expect from a four-owner, orig­i­nal-but-used, 20-year-old car. How­ever, the ven­dor has pledged to sort th­ese paint is­sues out be­fore sale; you should sat­isfy your­self this is the case when you visit. Other­wise, the car presents well, bar­ring a few de­tails – the most sig­nif­i­cant be­ing signs of kerb­ing to three of the four wheels. Also, the off­side head­light lens is cracked. Well-treaded tyres are a mix­ture of Nex­ens at the front, and a Con­ti­nen­tal SportCon­tact and a bud­get brand at the rear.

HOW’S THE IN­TE­RIOR?

If you’ve made your peace with the need for a post-paint re-ap­praisal, then this is where your faith starts to pay off, be­cause this car’s in­te­rior is in very good con­di­tion. R129s are ca­pa­ble of cov­er­ing in­ter­stel­lar mileages and, as such, their in­te­ri­ors can eas­ily look ex­ter­mely tired. Not so here. The leather seats are in good con­di­tion with only light age-re­lated wear, the head­lin­ing is in fine con­di­tion with only mi­nor marks and the cen­tre con­sole wood has only the very light scratches that are to be ex­pected of a 20-year-old car. Other mi­nor is­sues that could do with ad­dress­ing in­clude trim that is start­ing to lift on the off­side door and a door rub­ber that is work­ing loose. Other than that, this is a very pre­sentable in­te­rior.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

It gets even bet­ter when it comes to this SL’s oily bits and pa­per­work. The en­gine looks clean and the flu­ids are where they need to be – up to the max­i­mum mark, not on the floor. The big his­tory file con­tains lots of ser­vice stamps and MoTs, and re­cent in­voices in­clude a full ser­vice and fresh hood in­su­la­tion – which cost a pre­vi­ous owner £1134 as recently as 2015. Two years ear­lier the hood con­trol unit was re­placed for an eye-wa­ter­ing £1200.

THE CCW VIEW

This is a car that de­serves a closer look once the paint­work has been seen to. The re­cent con­sid­er­able ex­pen­di­ture and cur­rent driv­ing ex­pe­ri­ence in­di­cate that it has been well cared for over the years, some­thing that’s backed up by the par­tic­u­larly good in­te­rior. This has the po­ten­tial to be a stun­ning car that would be per­fect for long-dis­tance clas­sic jaunts – what­ever the weather.

ASK­ING £13,995 PRICE

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