Mercedes-Benz SL 500

ENGINE 4973cc/V8/DOHC POWER 322bhp@5500rpm TORQUE 332lb ft@4000rpm MAX­I­MUM SPEED 155mph 0-60MPH 6.3sec FUEL CON­SUMP­TION 21-25mpg TRANS­MIS­SION RWD, four-speed au­to­matic MoT 12 months ODOME­TER 21,200 miles

Classic Car Weekly (UK) - - This Week - Nathan Chad­wick

This SL 500’s 5.0-litre V8 fires up to a healthy, lusty bur­ble. There’s plenty of per­for­mance on tap, but qui­eten down and the SL is the per­fect longdis­tance cruiser. The sus­pen­sion is soft and com­pli­ant but with no wal­low­ing, and the steer­ing is light but pre­cise. The brakes are sharp yet pre­dictable and there are no un­to­ward noises from the driv­e­train or sus­pen­sion. There are no dead zones in the steer­ing and the four-speed au­to­matic gear­box shifts through its ra­tios smoothly.


This re­ally is a time por­tal back to the early 1990s – the blue-black metal­lic paint con­trasts beau­ti­fully with the Alto Grey lower trim, and is set off won­der­fully by the or­ange in­di­ca­tors. The pan­els are all as Mercedes in­tended and the paint is beau­ti­fully even across the whole car. The shut lines are ex­cel­lent and even through­out, and we found no ev­i­dence of cor­ro­sion. The win­dow rub­bers and chrome trim are in ex­cel­lent shape. The 15-hole, 16-inch al­loy wheels are in gen­er­ally ex­cel­lent con­di­tion, with only mi­nor kerb marks present. The car wears Yoko­hama S-Drive tyres, front and rear, all of which have plenty of tread re­main­ing.


As be­fits such a low-mileage car, the in­te­rior looks as if it’s come straight from the dealer back in 1992. The seats show only very mi­nor wear and the wooden trim is free from scratches and marks. It’s worth not­ing that this is a Ja­panese mar­ket car, so the odome­ter reads in kilo­me­tres, so bear this in mind when fully ex­ploit­ing the SL 500’s healthy 322bhp near a speed cam­era. Both the metal and fab­ric roof ma­te­ri­als are in ex­cel­lent con­di­tion, with no marks. This car is fit­ted with a dealer-fit Tech­nics sound sys­tem, which com­prises a sub­woofer be­hind the pas­sen­ger seat and a CD auto changer in the boot. It also comes with the orig­i­nal toolkit and what ap­pears to be an un­used spare wheel.


It’s tricky to see much un­der the long sculpted bon­net be­cause most of the R129’s beat­ing heart is hid­den be­neath a plas­tic shroud. But what is vis­i­ble is free from cor­ro­sion, and it’s all very clean. All the flu­ids are up to the max­i­mum mark and none show any signs of leak­ing. Mak­ing sense of the Ja­panese ser­vice his­tory will be a chal­lenge to those who aren’t flu­ently bilin­gual, but we can see reg­u­lar stamps in the ser­vice book.

THE CCW VIEW With iconic early 1990s looks – largely thanks to the or­ange in­di­ca­tors – this SL re­ally grabs your at­ten­tion even be­fore you get close to it. When you do, its qual­ity is astounding; it re­ally does look like it dis­ap­peared off a show­room floor in 1992 and reap­peared 25 years later. It’s def­i­nitely well worth a look.

PROS Ex­cel­lent con­di­tion through­out CONS Ja­panese speedo and ser­vice his­tory, price


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