1992 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL R129
ENGINE 2960cc/6-cyl/OHC POWER 190bhp@5700rpm TORQUE 192lbft@4000rpm MAXIMUM SPEED 142mph 0-60MPH 9.3sec FUEL CONSUMPTION 14-21mpg TRANSMISSION RWD, four-speed auto MoT 12 months from sale ODOMETER 75,000 miles
WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?
This car’s 3.0-litre M103 engine was carried over from the previous R107 SL – but with an additional 10bhp – making it the smallest and oldest engine in the R129 SL line-up. That said, only the steepest hills should cause it any problems. What you may lack in outright heave compared with the V8 and V12 SLs is more than made up for in fuel economy. This particular example fires up on the turn of the key and settles to a light whisper. It’s quiet and refined, though kickdown is accompanied by a harsh metallic zing to let you know it’s there. The handling is customarily light but you always feel assured behind the wheel. Brakes are sharp, yet predictable. There’s no tramlining and no untoward noises from the drivetrain or power-assisted steering.
The bright red paint really pings in the sun and the bodywork passes close scrutiny, which is impressive, given the car’s age. There are a few stonechips to the front of the car, the odd swirl mark here and there and a bit of lacquer peel on the passenger door. Overall, though, it’s in decent nick for the year. The roof works as it should and the fabric is in fine condition. The alloy wheels are free from corrosion and kerb damage, there are no cracks in the windows or light lenses. We could find no signs of corrosion in any of the wheelarches.
HOW’S THE INTERIOR?
There are a few age-related creases in the seat leather and some wear to the driver’s side seat bolster. A fault with the driver’s electric seat means that it doesn’t go all the way back as it should, but this will be rectified before sale. However, the stereo and electric windows work as they should.
UNDER THE BONNET
Opening the long, lustrous bonnet reveals a tidy, if not exactly concours engine bay. There’s no obvious corrosion and no evidence of leaking fluids – those same fluids are clear and up to the maximum marks. A cooling fan that only operates intermittently means that keeping the car running at idle is currently problematic, but again, the vendor says that this will be sorted before the car is sold. A look at the service history reveals plenty of old MoTs, but little in the way of stamped service history or bills for work performed on the car.
THE CCW VIEW
This is neither a concours queen nor a road burner, but it is certainly an honest example of a smart-looking Nineties SL. If you’re looking for an R129 that’s easy to look after, then the fact that this example’s engine is very well-known and relatively simple to work on is a big plus. Ideal for enjoying some topdown summer cruising before tackling the handful of minor jobs over winter, and temptingly priced to boot.
EXTERIOR Good paint Minor stonechips INTERIOR Clean and tidy Faulty driver’s seat MECHANICALS Largely excellent Rather sluggish PROS Highly presentable, great cruiser CONS Not exactly quick, lack of history
ASKING £5995 PRICE
All the electrics work perfectly, bar the driver’s seat.
3.0-litre engine’s a hangover from previous R107 SL.