1987 MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL Convertible

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1987 MERCEDES-BENZ 300SL Convertible


The Mercedes Benz SL series of cars can legitimately trace their lineage right back to the 1952 300SL racing car (W194) that was the firm’s first post WWII competition car and the first to bear the “SL (Super Light)” nomenclature. This racer would go on to provide the basis for 300SL road car (W198) and its revolutionary “gullwing” doors. Then on through the popular 190SL (W121) to the R107’s direct predecessor, the W113 “Pagoda” SL of the 1960s and early 1970s.

Mercedes Benz were never a company to take the easy way out, so the R107 was an all-new design based more heavily on the saloon range of the time. It was a savvy move, giving the R107 more grown up and significantly more advanced underpinnings. Consequently, the R107 became the company’s second most long-lived model after the G-Wagen and went on to sell over 300,000 units over its 17-year production life. Once again, the car enjoyed great success in the USA with 60% of R107s being sold there.

The 300SL appeared as the result of a 1985 late-life update of the range. This delivered a number of enhancements to the range, including bigger wheels, a common front spoiler and various suspension and interior upgrades. Possibly the most obvious change, however, was the replacement of the “entry level” 280SL with the 300SL. This marked the revival of the 300SL name and helped remind the world of where the SL story began, over 30 years earlier.

The Vehicle

This eye catching 300SL is a UK supplied car, originally delivered via Lancaster Mercedes Benz in Hertford to its first owner. The car was first registered in May 1987 and was pretty much as it appears today, making this a very original and, seemingly, unmolested example.

Including the current owner, our example has been enjoyed by a total of 13 owners. Whilst sounding initially high, this tends to be par for the course for summer orientated cars of this nature. When analysed it also equates to close to 3 years tenure per owner, on average. Our current owner is known to have acquired the car in April 2018.

A couple of common threads do link the previous owners however. The first is the diligent and regular servicing our example has enjoyed during all stages of its history. The second is the light and sparing usage it has had in the more recent past. The MoT history verifies that this car had covered 88,032 miles in August 2005, meaning it has covered around 11,500 miles since then, or around 630 miles a year on average over that period.

It is clear that our car has been serviced to within an inch of its life, too! The original service book is adorned with a full 21 service stamps as well as four brake fluid change stamps. These are mainly from Mercedes Benz dealers but are augmented, in places, by independent specialists.

Given our car’s sensible, original mileage which has accumulated in quite a linear fashion, combined with this fastidious maintenance regime, and there is nothing to suggest that this is anything but a very original example of the R107. It all seems period present and correct which is a very appealing commodity in these increasingly sought after roadsters.

On the Outside

The R107 exterior design appears, misleadingly, effortless and subtle. On close inspection, however, there is lots of considered attention to detail to enjoy. In-house Mercedes Benz designers Ferdinand Hellhage and Josef Gallitzendörfer handled the initial design concepts of the car with the fabled stylist, Friedrich Geiger, crafting the final design. The understated result, adorned with just enough eye-catching drama, is one of the reasons why the car remained contemporary-looking throughout its long production life.

Our car presents in bright Arctic White which helps emphasise the relative size and prominence of those signature ribbed, wrap around front indicators and similarly finished large rear light lenses. This was a very Germanic “form and function” fusion that helped to prevent the rapid build-up of light-blocking dirt.

Our car’s bodywork and paintwork present very well for its age. The panel gaps appear tight and symmetrical and no major dents or dings were noted or reported. As you might expect from a largely original 36 year old car there are some minor areas of surface bubbling and corrosion. This is most evident around the wheel arch edges and our photographic package aims to capture these for your review. There also appears to be a little delamination of the underseal around a couple of the jacking points located on the sills.

This R107 rolls on the iconic, if not so attractively nicknamed, “manhole cover” light alloy wheels. On our car they are the correct 7J x 15-inch examples and seem to be in a good, un-scuffed condition throughout. These familiar alloys are shod in the correct 205/65 configuration of Michelin tyres.

Our photographic package will reveal that the retractable soft top is finished in a durable black fabric. This looks to be in a fine overall condition and the rear plexiglass windows are free from fogging or cracking. When required, this stows snuggly beneath the steel tonneau cover in a shallow compartment which keeps everything neat and tidy.

A removeable hard top is included with the 300SL, too. The hardtop fits snugly and is complete with its original cabin glass in a great, used condition. Fitting this quickly transforms the car into a well-insulated and more rigid hard topped coupe, truly making this a sports car for all seasons.

On the Inside

The interior presents as an entirely original SL interior of the period. The box pleated seats are complete with the familiar “eared” headrests and are finished in the now familiar blue “Sport Check” fabric to the centre panels. The bolsters are finished in a complimentary blue MB Tex. They look great and no areas of significant wear is noted or reported. Our example features rear seats which are of the very “occasional” variety.

Door cards are finished predominantly in blue and feature inset panels of Mercedes Benz sports check fabric in blue. Generous side pockets provide ample storage for your boiled sweets of choice. The dark blue carpets appear to be in fine fettle considering the age of the car.

The dash is topped with blue, deformable safety foam, which is in good original condition and the large, four-spoke Mercedes Benz steering wheel presents equally well. A panel of wood veneer dissects the dash from side to side. The large, clear instrument binnacle houses a central white on black VDO speedometer, a clock, and a multi-function dial. The car is fitted with a more modern Sony head unit with Bluetooth connectivity.

The hard top is lined in light vinyl headlining to the uprights and a complimentary light vinyl to the roof panel. The overall condition is very good indeed. The headlining of the soft top is a little stained in places but nothing too out of kilter with the age of the car. The well-shaped boot is fully carpeted and provides underfloor storage for the full-sized alloy spare wheel and tools.


Being a post-1985 facelift car, this 300SL features the sought-after 3.0L M103 six cylinder engine and four speed automatic gearbox combination from the W124 saloon. This enhancement provided useful improvements in economy, performance and driveability over the earlier 280SL and is a drivetrain that suits the relaxed ambiance of the car very well indeed.

The M103 engine utilised a continuous injection system and was originally rated at 188bhp and 192 Ib-ft of torque, and gave the SL a good turn of speed, when required, topping out at around 130mph where conditions allow. Like most of the range, however, the 300SL is probably best suited to comfortable cruising with the top down and Raybans on.

The engine bay exhibits the original Mercedes Benz data plates, detailing the various specification codes, the VIN and the permitted vehicle weights. It appears to be in good overall condition with no obvious areas of concern. The underside of the car appears in keeping with its age and mileage, and still offers the potential for further improvement by a new owner, if required.

Our car is reported to drive very well as you might expect given its exemplary maintenance history and modest recent use.

History Highlights

This 300SL comes with a good amount of provenance providing paperwork covering all periods of the car’s life. The current V5 and hard copy MoT are included together with many previous MoTs. The SL holds a current MoT to August 2023. No advisories are noted.

The original owner’s manual and service booklet are also present. The service book contains a great number of stamps, validating maintenance from main dealers and independents. These stamps cover mileages from 883 miles to 99,116 miles. There are also four brake fluid change stamps making a total of 25 stamps in all.

Two original keys are present together with a 2021 invoice detailing a steering box replacement, full service and front brake callipers and pads replacement. This invoice details an expenditure of over £1,776.

What We Think

The Mercedes Benz SL cars have become highly sought after exemplars of the firm’s prowess at creating and building sports cars that appeal to both heart and head. No temperamental garage queens are these but robust and exquisitely engineered cars, whose blend of charms have helped earlier examples reach some eye-wateringly high values.

The R107 offers the same rare blend of attributes but with the significant advantage of still being available at a much more attainable price point. This is due to it being a younger car produced in higher volumes rather than being any less appealing or able than its illustrious forebears.

This example looks great, offers a high degree of originality, and presents the new owner with the appealing opportunity to get behind the wheel of a classic SL before prices become increasingly prohibitive. We think our estimate of £24,000-£29,000 represents fine value for this Teutonic masterpiece.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, 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’.


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If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

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 always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are 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 basic 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 (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a 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
  • Seller Type: Trade
  • Odometer Reading: 99526
  • Chassis Number: WDB1070412A067673
  • Engine: 2962
  • Gearbox: Auto
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: White
  • Interior: Check Fabric/Blue MB-Tex
  • Estimated Price: £24,000 - £29,000

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