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.
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.