What’s not to like about a 2 seater convertible? I guess not much, especially when it offers a great look (subjective…), a whole range of engine choices and real comfort for long distance cruises. The Mercedes SL series have been applying that model rather successfully for decades, and today we will review the 2 classic generations that are now affordable.
The SL R107 series was produced from 1971 to 1989, and in almost 20 years offered many engine configurations and aesthetics updates to remain in line with its era. You could get an SL model from the 280 up to the 560 in either L6 layout (SL 280 and 300) or V8 from the 350. However, in Europe, the largest available was the 500 V8 while the 560 was specific to the US, Australian and Japanese markets.
I am personally not a big fan of the R107 design, though I can understand the appeal. In the purest 2 seater roadster tradition with a long bonnet and big engine to make it the perfect long distance cruiser especially during summer thanks to the removable hard-top. Though, the SLC variant (fixed roof) took part rather successfully in the 1978 World Rally Championship, which is a bit unusual for this type of car.
The successor, the R129 came in 1989 and was produced until 2002 and was based on the W124 saloon platform. All models featured a regular canva roof, but came standard with a hard-top and received a facelift from 1996. The R129 engine range was even broader than its predecessor, offering V6 (1998 facelift) and V12 layouts on top of the existing L6 and V8. The most desirable versions are definitely the AMGs with the SL 55 and 60 in V8 configurations, and the extremely rare SL 70, 72 and 73 with V12 offerings which were later used by Pagani to fit in their Zonda.
In terms of prices, you might have guessed that given the very large offering, trims, special editions and market specific version, the price range is very broad as well… Whether you want an R107 or R129, some models can be picked for as low as £4K, while a low miler with full service history will likely be above £13K. As for the extremely rare AMG versions (especially the SL 73 with only 85 units), well, it has no place in the Monday Money segment as prices will be over £200K… That is if you manage to find one.