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The R107-generation SL boasts one of the most impressive production runs ever seen on a mainstream vehicle, being produced for a mind-blowing 18 years between 1971 and 1989. In fact, only the G-Class can beat this record within the Mercedes-Benz history books, which is quite the feat.

What makes that even more impressive is the fact that there were very few changes to the lineup during this time beyond a few minor aesthetic tweaks and engine upgrades, something that would be unheard of in today’s market, with the desire for models to be significantly face-lifted or replaced every five years or so.

One of the biggest benefits for the R107 family of vehicles was the sheer variety of engines and trim levels available, with a total of 14 different variants on offer throughout the SL’s 18-year tenure.

Whilst often marketed as a ‘sports’ car, the SL was always better suited to long distance ‘GT’ duties, though that’s not to say they didn’t have sporting credentials further up the range.

Perched atop the SL roster for Europe, the 500 SL, with its 5.0-litre naturally aspirated V8 engine, produced a respectable 237bhp, which was delivered in a comfortable, silky-smooth fashion typical of Mercedes, taking the car on to a top speed of 140mph.

Transmission choices were either a five-speed manual, or a three-speed automatic transmission, which was upgraded to four-speed for cars produced in 1980 onwards.

The Vehicle

In the care of its last owner for over 34 years, this 1983-registered 500 SL is finished in a timeless combination of blue over a grey leather interior, and remains in wonderfully original condition throughout, with no outwardly visible or noted modifications fitted - even the original period stereo remains in place!

With low ownership, low mileage for its age and an impressive history, this is a truly impressive example of the classic, top-of-the-line R107-era 500 SL, which is ideally poised for someone looking for a usable and original SL that needs a little bit of minor TLC.

On the Outside

Evidently cherished throughout its life, the paint and bodywork of this 500 SL have stood the test of time well, and the car presents in great aesthetic condition.

Looking up close, there are the usual minor cosmetic marks such as stone chips and light marks that you’d expect from a nigh-on 40-year-old car, but nothing that is particularly untoward or unsightly. There is a small patch of bubbling noted on the offside of the bonnet, along with some more notable stone chips to the lower bumper and typically exposed areas.

The lower half of the bodywork with its grey mouldings has seen better days and would benefit from a thorough reconditioning to bring it back to its best, with the same being true of the bumper mouldings and various pieces of trim.

Elsewhere, the chrome detailing and trim pieces around the car are in good condition, retaining a healthy shine and mirror-finish in places. On the whole, the chrome is in good shape though some pitting and light patina is visible, which is commensurate with the car’s age and mileage.

The all-important hard-top is present and fits well, though our photographer noted that the central pin gets caught on the release mechanism when the top is being removed. This is a common SL fault, and is easily rectified by fitting a stronger return spring to the mechanism.

The hard-top is in great condition in keeping with the rest of the car, with only a few marks around the base and mounting points being worthy of note. By contrast, the soft top looks to be in good condition in terms of its construction and operation, but requires an extensive deep-clean or refurbishment, due to long periods out of use.

On the Inside

As per the exterior, the inside of this R107 has aged well, though there are plentiful opportunities for the next owner to apply some TLC and take this classic SL to ‘the next level’ should they wish.

The front seats, for example, are generally in good condition with minor creasing that is commensurate for the car, though there are a few rips which have been bodged over with duct tape. The wooden trim is also complete and in largely decent shape, though there are a few chips and notable marks from years of enjoyment.

Up above, the headliner of the hard top looks to be in excellent shape, and down below the carpets remain in impressively good condition, including the over-mats. There are the usual sighs of usage patina to high-traffic areas such as the steering wheel and shifter, but nothing too untoward.

As far as our photographer could tell, and from what we’ve been told by the vendor, all systems, switches and controls are working as they should, with the only known issue being the aforementioned problem with the hard-top pin.


In the engine bay, the 5.0-litre V8 engine presents in very good order, though as you’ve probably gathered from the rest of the car, a little TLC and elbow grease wouldn’t go amiss to bring this hulking great V8 back to life from an aesthetic standpoint.

Mechanically, however, our vendor reports that the car drives “really well” and we didn’t note anything that would suggest otherwise, though the idle tickover is around the 2,000 RPM mark, so this may need some attention as it seems a little on the high side.

Looking underneath the bodywork, the usual smattering of surface ‘bloom’ and years of use and enjoyment are visible, but, judging by the recent MOT exam dated 19 August 2021, there are no areas of any particular concern under here, with the only advisories being related to the condition of the headlight lenses.

History Highlights

Included with the car is the original owners manual, three keys, Mercedes-Benz book pack, original service booklet, and the V5 registered keepers document which shows only two former owners.

There are also several MOT certificates, miscellaneous invoices and manuals, and a clean HPI check sheet.

What We Think

Representing the opportunity to obtain a wonderfully original, low-ownership and relatively low-mileage example of the classic V8-powered roadster with legendary Mercedes-Benz build quality and timeless styling, this 1983-registered 500 SL is a lovely and honest example of the top-of-the-range SL.

Presented in good condition throughout but with plenty of scope for the next owner to apply some elbow grease, make their own stamp on the car and perhaps even carry out a light restoration, this is a running, driving and eminently usable example that can be tinkered with and fettled in-between bouts of winter sunshine - perfect for the upcoming months!

As such, we estimate a value of £18,000 to £28,000, so be sure to get your bids in early, and good luck!

Viewing is always encouraged and as stated this car is located at THE MARKET headquarters near Abingdon; we are open Mon-Fri, 9am-5pm and to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of suppliers we work with regularly including: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance, Classic Concierge for storing your car plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping.  

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, return policy does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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james harvey

  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Odometer Reading: 50923
  • Chassis Number: 10704622003063
  • Engine: 4973
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: RHD
  • Colour: Blue
  • Interior: Grey Leather
  • Estimated Price: £18,000 - £28,000

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