BUYING GUIDE #Mercedes-Benz
SL R107 / #Mercedes-Benz-R107
Why one of the most glamorous, luxurious ( #Mercedes-Benz-280SL-R107
) and reliable roadsters of the 1980s is even.
The R107-series SL was launched in #1971
and offered stylish interiors, smooth, large capacity engines and peerless build quality. Initially only available with V8 power, the R107 was offered with six-cylinder engines shortly after in the form of the 280 SL, with a twin-cam 2.8-litre engine and the 3.0-litre 300 SL. These engines are reasonably economical and refined and quiet. Here’s how to get yourself one of the finest six-cylinder tourers ever made.
WHY YOU WANT ONE
The SL is a usable and dependable classic that still manages to make a statement. Values have been on the up for some time now so it’s time to buy one now, before it follows in the footsteps of previous SL models and gets out of reach of the average buyer. Six-cylinder motors offer much of the V8s’ torque and refinement but with lower running costs. Don’t be put off by the 280 SL’s ‘entry-level’ image; like the 300 SL’s 3.0-litre engine, its 2.8-litre ‘six’ is actually more than up to the task.
Well-made interiors are durable, especially in MB-Tex trim.
Torquey six-cylinder engine can easily last 300,000 miles.
Sharply rising prices mean now’s the time to buy an R107 SL.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
BLUE SMOKE The six-cylinder engines offer a good mixture of refinement and torque, without the fuel bills of the V8s. Engines can last for as long as 300,000 miles if properly maintained. Blue smoke indicates worn valve stems. Look for evidence that they’ve been changed every 75,000 miles along with the timing chain and tensioner.
KEEP IT COOL Check the car’s history and see if it’s had regular coolant changes. It’s important that the proper antifreeze with the correct inhibitors has been used as it helps combat internal corrosion. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge too – these engines run hot if the radiator is clogged with silt.
SHAFT WEAR A loud clicking from the engine indicates camshaft wear. If the engine has reached this stage, then it’s likely the cam followers and the chain will be affected too.
GEARBOX GRUMBLING You can buy an R107 with a manual gearbox, but automatics are more common and more popular. Early cars have a fluid flywheel that can struggle to select first gear, but this was replaced in 1975 by a torque converter. On either gearbox, listen for excessive noise or problems with selecting gears. Vibrations from the transmission are usually as a result of worn propshaft couplings.
RUSTPROOFING Generally speaking, the later the model, the less likely you are to find major rust. Post-1986 cars are by far the best and pre- #1976
versions by far the worst, mainly because they were built before wax injection was introduced. Check the sills, jacking points, floors and box sections, together with the wheel arches.
THE REAL THING All panels are welded, apart from the front wings, and most are available directly from Mercedes-Benz. Pattern parts are available, but the fit is often compromised. It’s a sports car, so it’s always worth checking front chassis legs and inner panels to see if they’re rippled. If they are, there’s a good chance the car may have been crashed.
WORN BUSHES Sloppy handling is usually down to worn bushes. Shock absorbers will also need replacing on high-mileage examples. If the car’s covered in excess of 90,000 miles then it’s worth looking to see if the steering dampers have been replaced too.
SUPERIOR INTERIOR R107s were always built to a high standard, so beware cars with tatty interiors. Four different trim options were offered; cloth is the least desirable, MB-Tex the most sought-after. Wet carpets could indicate a compromised windscreen, door seals or hood. Wood lacquer is prone to scratching.
POWER [email protected]
TORQUE 184lb [email protected]
MAXIMUM SPEED 124mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION 23-30mpg
TRANSMISSION RWD, five-speed manual
WHAT TO PAY
1980 MERCEDES-BENZ R107 SL 350, VALUE £12,000 45-year-old male, living in Cambs, club member, car garaged, 3000 miles pa: £82.31 or £99.54 inc Agreed Value.
Rear valance panel £249.95
Full exhaust system £1462.00
Front brake disc £79.90
Steering damper £24.95
All prices from The SL Shop
CLUBS & SPECIALISTS
Mercedes-Benz Owners’ Club www.mercedesclub.org.uk
The Mercedes-Benz Club www.mercedes-benz-club.co.uk
T&D Heaney Motor Co