Mercedes SLK32 AMG

Classic Cars (UK) - - Chasing Cars -

When you know only 263 rhd ver­sions of a par­tic­u­lar clas­sic were ever made, it’s worth a look. But when that clas­sic can hurl to sixty in just 4.6 sec­onds, has an engine hand­built by just one man and a twin-screw su­per­charger that pushes out 349bhp – but only costs £10k – then you should sit up and take no­tice. The 2000-2004 R170 Merc SLK32 AMG is a su­per-rare giant-killing pocket rocket that’s a prime ex­am­ple of the star­tling value in Mil­len­nial AMG Mercs. In the early 2000s wide-eyed en­gi­neers at Stuttgart’s emerg­ing per­for­mance di­vi­sion used su­per­charg­ers to squeeze ev­ery last ounce of horse­power out of V6s and V8s and cre­ated a brand that’s now al­most as hal­lowed as the holy three­p­ointed star it­self. Th­ese were the glory years of the mighty E55, SL55, S65 and bark­ing mad SL73. But the lit­tle white-hot SLK is one of the best of them all.

Faster than an E55 or con­tem­po­rary BMW M3, the AMG SLK’S £35k base price eas­ily climbed to­wards £45k if you ticked all the op­tions boxes. That high price and the low-pro­file looks put many buy­ers off but the few who did take the plunge got a red­line of 6200rpm and a quicker 0-100 mph time than a Lam­borgh­ini Coun­tach. Road testers heaped fur­longs of praise on ‘Stuttgart’s sweet­est sharp­shooter’ and loved the fact that only dif­fer­ent wheels and badges sep­a­rated it from the much more com­mon and sub­ur­ban SLK 200. This Q-car char­ac­ter is per­haps why val­ues have yet to re­flect this AMG SLK’S huge ap­peal. A pri­vate seller in Sus­sex has an Am­ber Red 2002 with 59k and FMBSH for £11k while a Ply­mouth seller has a black-on-black 2002 with 69k and to­tal his­tory for £10k. The trade is wis­ing up though and Pre­mier Car Ware­house in Bris­tol has a Mys­tic Blue 2002 with 49k, ev­ery MOT and eight M-B stamps in the book for £15k.

Any­body who says the AMG SLK is ‘girlie’ has clearly never driven one be­cause when the box changes up to fifth at 140mph un­der hard ac­cel­er­a­tion you won’t give a stuff about the car’s im­age. Own­ers don’t re­port that many prob­lems, and com­mon is­sues aren’t ru­inous to fix. Plus it’s a prac­ti­cal as­set with a de­cent boot and that clever fold­ing metal top to keep you snug. Ten grand for a real rar­ity with al­most su­per­car lev­els of heave is hard to beat – but this hid­den gem can’t stay a se­cret for much longer.

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