Brought out towards the end of the R107’s run, the 300 SL didn’t just have a great name that harks back to the glorious SL of the past. It also had everything that one would look for in a lighter and a touch more attainable model, in comparison to the V8-engined ones. The 3-litre straight-six engine made 185 hp, and with slightly less weight at the front, these are said to be better handling cars. Available from 1985 onwards, the 300 SL also benefitted from better aero and improved suspension characteristics. And it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s regarded as one of the easily recommended models in the R107 range. For a car whose shelf life turned out to be one of the longest in Mercedes-Benz’s line-up, that’s a testament to how genuinely good the 300 SL was.
Available here is a 1988 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL finished in Signal Red and with under 35,000 miles from new. It has the original service booklet and invoices for work done at The SLSHOP, which has been instrumental in making the car look as glorious as it does in pictures. It has four previous owners and the new owner will be treated to not just a great-looking car but also a bunch of paperwork comprising original manuals, brochures, MoT certificates, old tax discs, etc. Also included with the car is the matching hard top in undeniably pristine condition.
What about the rest of the car, one may wonder. It's a very clean example that's had some of the bodywork painted — and the nearly new-like appearance shows. In terms of visible deviation from how the body and paint ought to be, there's not much, except for very minute marks — like the one on the nearside rear arch. The wheels appear to be very good, too, while it's only some plastic/rubber bits which show signs of ageing.
Replicating the exterior condition, the interior of the 300 SL is profoundly spot-free. The boot, for instance, is clean for a car of this vintage. The cabin doesn't show any cracks in the dashboard or high wear. The seats do verify that the car has been used, but with wear that can only be described as natural. The sills and footwell, pretty much like the door cards, are in line with the rest of the cabin. Its engine bay also deserves to be looked at — the M103 straight-six engine fits just fine and looks pretty neat, too.
Registered first in 1988, this 300 SL has done limited mileage in the three decades — the odometer currently reads just 34365 miles. The included paperwork details the work done on the car at SLSHOP. This includes corrosion removal, and repainting of some parts like the bonnet and front wings. There are also stacks of old MoT certificates, tax discs and invoices from former ownership, and even original brochures too.
As we've said in the past, the 300SL makes for a great driver-orientated iteration of the R107 SL. While it does lack the V8's grunt, the better balance definitely makes up for it. A clean example like this is bound to offer the chance to enjoy the drive in what looks and feels like a new car. Furthering its appeal is how it looks on the outside because, despite its age and the fact that the original R107 came out more than five decades ago, the design still works rather well. Add bonus points for its name, too.