Market Review – Spring 2019

As March gives way to April and April slides into May, one by one, car covers are removed, garages opened and another year of classic motoring starts with a buff and polish.

Although Brexit confusion is still the order of the day, politics and the economy can’t rain on the parade here at The SLSHOP. 

We continue resolutely in our quest to supply the very best 107, 113 and 129 SLs, a classic car for which demand has not been stifled in a market where other icons have faltered.

In our Autumn 2018 Market Review we spoke of a generation of buyers who remember the SL in it’s hey day – interest in cars of the 1980s continues to thrive, which puts a renewed focus on the R107 SL.

The SL – the enduring icon

As an icon, as an investment and as a usable classic car the SL holds trump cards that insulate it from factors that affect the price and demand of other classics. The sheer all round appeal of an SL means we welcome new SLSHOP customers at the same rate as we always did. A high quality SL will always remain beautiful, usable and dependable. 

R107 production continued for 18 years, and in that time the model remained relatively unchanged. For 18 years the SL stood virtually unchallenged in the marketplace.

There were faster cars, there were larger cars, and there were sportier cars, but as a sumptuous, reliable, powerful, dignified distance cruiser, the SL had no equal. This lengthy production run gave the SL a huge window of opportunity to acquire both owners and admirers of all ages, ploughing a long furrow of future appeal to ensure it’s lasting longevity as a desirable car. 

Luxury, reliability, dignity

When it comes to owning a classic, few things are more important than luxury, reliability and dignity… So we say long live the SL and the generations who adore it.

It is thanks to this enduring appeal that we meet such a wide variety of customers. Young and old, gents and ladies, connoisseurs, collectors, continental tourers, occasional users and part time tinkerers alike. Despite it’s old age the SL remains just as cool as it ever was.

In the last 6 months, in the midst of political uncertainty and market negativity we have found new owners for more high value cars than in the entire previous 24 months.

So what is it that keeps classic SL prices high, and continues pushing them upward? It can be summarised thus – dwindling supply, cost of restoration and pressure from above.

Dwindling Supply

Over time, sourcing high calibre, low mileage cars has become increasingly difficult, and current prices reflect this. Mercedes-Benz poured a significant amount of money into development of these cars, a fact that is all the more apparent when discussing the cost of a complete restoration. 

Cost of Restoration

The value of top level cars continues to be bolstered by the expense of turning an average car into an exceptional one. A client may begin the conversation with a restoration in mind, but after weighing up the investment involved, (not just of money but of time) leaves instead with one of our pristine showroom cars – after all, why spend time and money on a lengthy restoration when really superb cars are available right now?

Pressure from above

Superbly presented Pagodas continue to climb in price, and as the very best cars reach beyond the grasp of the every day enthusiast, buyers look to younger generations of SL. Top prices are dictated by those buyers seeking out nothing but perfection, and as these prices increase, the trickle-down effect manifests itself as younger generations also climb in value. As we type, the figure required to put an average Pagoda in your garage would net you a really rather good R107, or the very best R129. 

Which SL should I buy?

As we have said before, the true answer to this question is to buy the very best one to suit your budget, in a colour and specification that you love. Nothing has changed with this, although we continue to see a resurgence in interest in earlier cars. For the first time in a number of years, our online showroom hosts almost as many early cars as it does late ones, and long may this continue.

Whether you are looking for a low mileage 500SL in black with black leather, or an early car in two tone green with a cream roof, do contact us with your requirements – we love nothing more than matching the right car to a discerning buyer.


Finally, it brings us great pleasure to hear news from our customers that cars are being loved, cared for and used they way they should. Over the last 18 months a good number of you have gotten in touch to share stories of trips, events and occasions enjoyed with your SL. Please do continue to share your classic motoring exploits with us, or if you have an event planned, do let us know.