Craigslist: 1980 Mercedes Benz 280SL with a manual transmission


I like the Mercedes-Benz SL. Actually, let me rephrase that: I like the SL up until the end of the R129-era car. The newer ones do absolutely nothing for me, but the classics have always been the archetypal open-topped grand tourer in my mind. Unfortunately, to Americans, grand tourer means automatic everything. Which is a shame really, and means that R107 and R129 SLs with manual transmissions are rarer than a cold day in hell.

I figured I’d try my luck on Craigslist again, and found this: a 280SL in the brownest of browns.

[Source: Craigslist]

UPDATED! – now with proper link! -KK


I much prefer the earlier W113’s delicate lines, but these have a presence of their own. Thankfully, this one was spared the indignity of the massive U.S.-specification bumpers. I have no idea how these are to drive, but I imagine that they are fairly sturdy cars. It should serve as a fine cruiser for anyone who finds modern SLs to be a bit… garish.

Part of the ad:

Absolutely Stunning 1980 Mercedes Euro 280 SL roadster that is in amazing original condition throughout! This awesome Mercedes is the desired Euro model, which is nearly impossible to find especially in this condition because this vehicle was never marketed in the USA. Go ahead check any SL of this vintage on the internet, they’ll all be automatics. This vehicle possesses the sought after extremely rare manual transmission coupled with a straight six engine. In addition this solid example has very low original mileage(80K). It includes both hard and soft tops. 

Mechanically, the car runs well with no trouble or issues. The motor fires right to life and delivers smooth power across the rev band, and the transmission shifts cleanly through the gears. It would make a dependable daily driver, as it can be driven anywhere you want to go with simple ease and pleasure. The car drives down the road straight as an arrow. Steering and suspension are excellent. The tires all match and the original Mercedes alloy wheels are in great shape. This Euro 280SL offers the best balance of power, economy and handling. No oversize V-8 to weigh the car down and overpower the car through the curves. The weight is well balanced front to rear. This isn’t your mistress’ car, it’s a true roadster with the room and comfort of a Mercedes.


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26 responses to “Craigslist: 1980 Mercedes Benz 280SL with a manual transmission”

  1. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Alright, how many first borns will that be?

  2. Joe Btfsplk Avatar
    Joe Btfsplk

    *Sigh*….. I wish I could afford a mistress. They're just so expensive these days.

  3. Reuven Avatar


    1. stevelyon Avatar

      OMG I NO RIGHT? How can I click through to see if it's a 4 speed or a 5 speed?

      1. Kamil_K Avatar


    2. dukeisduke Avatar

      He wants to keep it for himself. He's a BAAAAAAAAD MAAAAAAAAAAAN.

  4. lilpoindexter Avatar

    Buy it.

  5. dukeisduke Avatar

    I'd rather it had power windows, but I'd take it.

  6. Modeleccentric Avatar

    Wistful, Wiiiiistful sigh. Long and drawn out. Followed by another, with a rueful look into the bank account. Sigh.

  7. Reuven Avatar

    Wish I could downvote the article so he learns to link craig's.

    1. Kamil_K Avatar

      Updated with link. Sorry, he's still new.

  8. Modeleccentric Avatar

    Yaaaay Internet! Linky Goodness!

    1. dead_elvis Avatar

      Nice – via your own Google-fu skills? I found it posted in NY, but the ad had already expired.
      Thumbs down to the whiner lamenting the missing link. Thumbs down to the CL poster too – those keywords at the end are loathsome when searching for something specific.

      1. Modeleccentric Avatar

        My Google-fu was strong tonight. Yes.

        1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar
          Peter Tanshanomi

          <img src=""&gt;

          1. Modeleccentric Avatar

            Thanks! That was a gigglemaker!

    2. Kamil_K Avatar


  9. Maymar Avatar

    The SL65's 738lb-ft make a reasonable argument for the R230/R231. Of course, they're no where near as timeless as the 107 and 129.
    But, as much as I'm not entirely up on 107 pricing, that $12k seems entirely too reasonable for something that probably can't depreciate too much further.

  10. Piston Slap Yo Mama Avatar
    Piston Slap Yo Mama

    As much as I am smitten with it, those 70's Mercedes alloy wheels have never done anything for me. I don't like saddling cars with more unsprung weight when possible but this is a situation that calls for steel wheels with hubcaps and brown hi-lites. Years ago in a Mercedes parts yard I found a set of Mercedes bolt-pattern alloy wheels that looked just like steel wheels – I've never seen anything like them before or since. I wonder who made them?

    1. Lance Boyle Avatar
      Lance Boyle

      The alloy wheels are copies of the steelies that were available over the counter at the dealer. They were primarily to be used as mounts for snow tires to spare one's regular alloy wheels from the ravages of winter road salt and gravel. They were also used as spare tire rims to reduce vehicle gross weight on certain MB models. Pricey and prone to curb damage, they were eventually dropped from inventory.

  11. Mike Hunt Avatar
    Mike Hunt

    12 large for a clapped-out 33 year old 6 cyl. powered SL ? Really ? This stripped down 107 would be fun with the 3.5 litre V-8 with the 4-spd. auto. But this M-110 engine is a dog in need of a flea collar. Look up the definition of "oil leak" in Webster's and you'll find a picture of this pooch. With its foot long throws, shifting this manual trans is akin to rowing through an old school bus box. What's the soft top look like ? Where's the hard top ? How about some close-ups of the rockers and rear fenders (major corrosion areas) ? 80K miles ? Clutch replacement time. Gearbox synchros prone to grindage. Weather stripping looks pretty time-challenged. That stuff's not cheap, especially the pieces around the w/s pillars. Lots of wrinkles in the seat upholstery due to worn out padding and sagging seat and backrest springs. New sun visors will set you back $500+. The bloom has been off this rose for quite some time. Take a pass on this porker.

  12. mac350 Avatar

    This 76 450SL is listed at $6995 OBO in Missouri – says it was restored a couple of years ago. Red and saddle tan are always in style.
    <img src="; width="600"> <a href="” target=”_blank”>

    1. mac350 Avatar

      Of course, either his camera needs to have the date reset or these pictures are 8 years old – me thinks I smell a rat.

  13. Cougarracing Avatar

    I have a 1973 350SL Euro car with Manual Transmission numbers matching close to Toronto Ontario. Way to much fun to drive. Do not know why anyone would want an automatic 450? I’m considering selling if you are interested? Dave dfromatgatemanmilloydotcom