The perennial Mercedes-Benz R107 series is one of the most iconic luxury cars of the 70s and 80s. In movies and television, the SL roadster was often the car seen cruising Rodeo Drive or through Miami Beach. It was a car that defined the marque and the era. Such was its enduring charm; it is surprising to recall the car was first introduced back in 1971. Known internally and by loyal fans as the R107 (the four seat SLC was dubbed C107), the car was designed in house at Sindelfingen by Karl Wilfert and his team. The styling was understated but elegant yet highly sophisticated. Mercedes-Benz’s obsession with occupant and pedestrian safety through the 1960s led to a great number of subtle yet important design features that would trickle down to the rest of the line during the coming two decades. The SL roadster spoke to a new breed of luxury roadster buyers and went on to become the longest-running production passenger car in Mercedes’ history. Mechanically, the R107 took a page from its predecessors, riding on a unique platform but sharing engines and suspension components with its sedan counterparts. It was also incredibly well-built, with a solidity and over-engineered feeling that few manufacturers past or present could match. Through the years of production, Mercedes continually refined the formula, adding ever increasing displacement V8 engines, improved materials and refined design.
The ultimate model in the R107 SL range is the 560SL. The big 5.6 liter V8 from the S-Class was shoehorned into the SL’s engine bay to create a sporting car that was capable of 150mph performance while remaining quiet, composed and sophisticated. It was the sports car for those who preferred not be ruffled when arriving at the club in style.
This 1987 560SL is a desirable later production example, finished in rarely seen and elegant colors of Diamond Blue (3550) over cream beige leather and a dark blue top. It is a highly original and very well maintained example that has covered a scant 31,261 miles over the past 30 years. The body is very straight and crisp, with no corrosion and factory precise panel gaps. A clean Carfax report shows no known history of accident damage, and continuous ownership for the past 17 years. The paint quality is excellent, showing only a few very minor touch ups. Bumpers are excellent, with original chrome plating and very good original extensions and rubber trim. Original Bosch fog lamps are fitted to the front bumper, and all other lights and lenses are excellent with no cracks or chips. Original Sekurit glass is in fine order, including on the removable hard top. A subtle cream double coach stripe ties the color scheme together. Wheels are factory original disc-style wrapped in very good Pirelli rubber. The wheels are in excellent condition, the correct bright silver finish showing virtually no pitting and no signs of curb rash.
Doors open with that signature Mercedes-Benz solidity to reveal an outstanding and lovely interior. Beige leather (code 275) is clean and very tidy with no rips, tears or undue wear, beautifully complementing the Diamond Blue paint. Only the slightest bit of wear can be found on the driver’s outer bolster upon close inspection. Carpets and overmats are excellent as is the headlining on the hard top. The original Becker Grand Prix cassette player remains in place. Original wood trim presents very well on the excellent dash, with only a slight crack forming in the lacquer on the center console wood, which does little to detract from the otherwise excellent interior. Blue German canvas soft top is in very good order as well and functions as it should.
The chassis and engine bay exhibit factory original surfaces, accessories and hardware which are in appropriate condition for such an exceedingly well-maintained and low-mileage example. Original books and some service records are included, as are the original hard-top removal tools and a hard top storage stand.
The big 5.6 liter V8 runs strong, with plenty of low end torque, and smooth effortless running around town. With the hard top in place, the 560SL becomes a silent, unflustered Grand Touring car, while folding the soft top transforms it into a thrilling open sports car. The 560SL is among the best performing of the R107 breed, with excellent, stable handling and mile-crushing highway ability all wrapped in a timeless and refined body style. As such, values and demand for exceptional examples such as this one have been steadily increasing. This is a beautifully presented, well maintained and low-mileage 560SL in gorgeous colors that will surely satisfy the most meticulous enthusiast.