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
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.
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