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1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SL

  • 1978 Mercedes-Benz 350SL
  • Only 40,000 miles from new
  • Thistle Green with Tan interior
  • Supplied with original factory hard top
  • Outstanding condition

This Mercedes-Benz 350SL has covered just over 40,000 miles from new and is a timewarp example of the famous R107. Used sparingly over the course of the past few years – it covered only 346 miles in 2020-’21 – it has recently been treated to a full service and is MoT’d until 28 October 2022.

Its Thistle Green paintwork is in superb condition, as is the Tan leather interior, and the history file includes the original document containing numbers to call in an emergency, as well as instructions for the Radiomobile and factory cruise control.

The chassis number confirms that it’s an original right-hand-drive 350SL, and like most R107s it’s fitted with the automatic gearbox that perfectly suits the car’s nature as a luxurious open tourer. New Michelin tyres have been fitted all round, and it’s supplied with a Cypress Green factory hardtop – an optional extra that was specified by the overwhelming majority of R107 buyers.

This 350SL exhibits the stunning build quality for which Mercedes-Benz was rightly lauded during this period, and which earned the R107 its ‘Panzerwagen’ nickname. There’s effortless performance from the 3.5-litre M116 V8 engine – which from 1976 onwards was fitted with Bosch K-Jetronic injection and produced 195bhp – and few cars from the era can match its blend of understated elegance and sheer usability.

Now being offered for sale by The Classic Motor Hub, this 350SL is a highly original and exceptionally low-mileage survivor, and recent work means that it’s now ready to be used and enjoyed once again.

Model history

Launched in 1971 as a replacement for the W113 ‘Pagoda’ SL, the R107 had a long and successful production run that lasted until 1989.

Based on the mechanical underpinnings of the ‘new generation’ W114/W115 models, the R107 was first SL to be fitted with a V8 engine. It was offered in various capacities over the years – a 3.5-litre version of the 90-degree M116 unit was fitted to the 350SL, before being stretched to 3.8 litres for the 380SL and finally 4.2 litres for the 420SL.

The R107 also used the M117 V8 in the 450SL, 500SL and 560SL, while there were two six-cylinder offerings in the shape of the 280SL and 300SL.

Beneath the sharply styled bodywork was double-wishbone front suspension and a semi-trailing-arm rear set-up that was a significant improvement over the oft-criticised swing axles on the W113.

The R107 was an elegant and refined status symbol that was beautifully built and fell squarely into the ‘reassuringly expensive’ category. When it was launched, it was nearly twice the price of a Jaguar E-type but nonetheless thrived during the 1970s – not an era that was ideally suited to a thirsty two-door roadster thanks to various economical upheavals plus increasing environmental and safety regulations.

If anything, the R107 grew in status as the 1980s dawned. Total production had reached 237,287 by the time it was replaced by the R129 in 1989, with most cars being supplied to the North American market. It starred in everything from Dallas to American Gigolo, but more importantly it was the final model to be signed off by legendary Mercedes-Benz engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut before he retired.

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