With the number of Mercedes 300SL for sale on SLSHOP MarketPlace at an all time high, we thought it important to outline our top picks. But first, to understand why the 300SL is such an exciting prospect, we must hark back to the golden era of motorsport, when the American Dream was capturing ordinary hearts and minds.
The original Mercedes 300SL Gullwing & Roadster
It’s the five-letter alpha-numeric insignia that would change the face of motoring for the next seventy years. It’s a name that would provoke envy amongst automotive brands, racing drivers and aspiring owners; one that would become synonymous with sportscars. Whether known as the Gullwing or the ‘300 SL’’, this badge and the silhouette upon which it sits, transcends generations in a way that is perhaps unachievable by modern automotive design.
The fifties Mercedes 300SLR (W194) and 300SL (W198) marked a new era of design and engineering for the Mercedes-Benz brand. With multiple competition wins under their belt, the 300SLR was offered as a road-going sports car for those with larger fiscal bandwiths. The 300SL would run from 1954 – 1957 in Coupe form and 1957 – 1963 in roadster form, before being replaced by the slightly tamer but no less elegant W113 Pagoda. Most importantly though, was the diversion from the famous badge. The Pagoda would leave behind the Mercedes ‘300SL’ name tag, perhaps because Mercedes-Benz wanted the founding roadster to only live on in people’s sub-consciousness… And it wasn’t until 1985, 22 years on, that this would change.
The launch of the Pagoda successor, the R107, meant a shift to primarily V8 engined-SL models. With the main market being America, we can surmise that the eight cylinder powerplant was favoured because it would match American expectations, given they were more accustomed to larger lumps under their bonnets. The V8 was synonymous with a family car, so anything smaller simply wouldn’t do for a convertible sports car. Mercedes-Benz were right to do this, until the 1974 oil crisis came along to which they responded by introducing a six-cylinder 2.8 litre option. The 280SL was made available for European and American markets and would be sold up until 1985.
The Return of the Mercedes 300 SL
In 1985, the R107 received a full facelift, with 15-inch wheels (up from 14-inch), improved front wheel suspension, and a new range of engines. The three-litre 300SL (185bhp) straight-six replaces the 280SL and this is where the 300SL insignia returns to boot lids, for another short run until further changes take place to the alphanumeric name tag.
So why did Mercedes-Benz return to the 300SL insignia? The 280SL engine was by this point rather out-dated and the response was to increase displacement to 3.0 litres, allowing the return to the 300SL badge. But this wasn’t the only reason, the brand knew that the R107 was soon to be phased out particularly given development of the R129 was underway. The return of the 300SL would reignite sales with provenance and association to the original model, which could explain why the 300SL was one of the most sold R107 variants of between 1971 and 1989.
The same stands today. Association between the original 300SL and the R107 variant, adds credibility and whets the palettes of enthusiasts… Which could explain why the 300SL is so popular right now. BUT what else is it about the 300SL that appeals?
Lightness in the corners. The 300SL Mercedes is lighter and nimbler than the eight-cylinder variants, making it more manageable in corners. This characteristic also makes it a great contender for our SportLine upgrades, which easily make the 300SL corner akin to a modern car. See Nigel’s testimonial on this front. Similarly, the 300SL was offered at the latter end of production, meaning it has the revised aesthetic of larger wheels, lower front apron and are often highly-specified with expensive options such as air conditioning, Cruise Control, leather and rear seats.
Interest in the 300SL is only growing and below you will find two of our current Mercedes 300SL for sale.
A selection of Mercedes 300SL for sale UK
1989 MERCEDES-BENZ R107 300SL – VIEW HERE
This high specification 300SL sports the iconic colourway of Signal Red (568) with Beige Leather (275) and comes with a favourable low mileage of just under 60,000. In addition, you’ll find air conditioning from factory, cruise control, rear seats, electric windows and heat insulating glass. As standard, the 300SL also gets a limited slip differential for better power delivery.
Leaving the factory in the final year of production, this is a fine example of a Mercedes 300SL for sale, unmatched in both its original specification and the condition in which it has been maintained. A unique opportunity.
1988 MERCEDES-BENZ R107 300SL – VIEW HERE
A combination of Light Ivory (6230) with Mid-Red Leather (277) is not something you’ll often see on the road. Nevertheless, this refreshing colour specification is ideal for the classic Mercedes enthusiast looking for something different that pairs a nostalgic aesthetic with modern and capable grand touring traits.
With only 35,000 miles on the odometer, this a vehicle that is ready to start its life on the road. We have inspected the mechanicals and can confirm there are no issues that have been caused by little use. Ready to be enjoyed by you.
Above you have seen two of a wide variety of 300SL for sale on SLSHOP MarketPlace. Across our Showroom, Appraised and Classified categories, you will find a 300SL Mercedes for sale in the UK at different pricing levels. All of these vehicles differ in colour, history, mileage and condition. Our Showroom selection are the highest calibre of 300SL available on the market today. For more information on what makes our particular stock special, watch the video below.