1980 Mercedes 350 SL
(Featured on 31st March 2011)
Model: 350 SL
Registration: LDB 91V
Sellers original description:
1980 Mercedes 350SL has travelled just 45,000 genuine miles, backed up by a fully-stamped service history and every MoT certificate (save a couple of years where it was in storage) since new. Effectively a two-owner car (substantiated by supporting paperwork), this Mercedes is original as one can find – a real time-warp car.
LDB 91V was first registered on the 1st February 1980, making it one of the last of the 3.5 litre SLs prior to the 380 versions. The last enthusiastic owner owned the car for twelve years; prior to that it was owned by an engineering firm from March 1980 to April 1998. This wonderful Mercedes is finished in the very early Eighties shade of Champagne Metallic (Mercedes paint code 473), with contrasting interior and soft-top. It is fitted with the 3-speed automatic gearbox, sits on steel wheels with original colour-coded hubcaps, and is complete with matching hardtop.
Whilst there are many 107 Series SLs available to choose from, many have suffered from the ravages of time. Mercedes build quality and engineering standards were at their peak when this car was built but, like most cars of this age, they can and do rust. Not this one. As can be seen in the photos it really is in original, low-mileage condition and the bodywork is superb and damage free. All the chrome-work is equally original, and the weighty hard-top is in a condition commensurate with the rest of the car. The soft-top has no rips or tears, with the vinyl windows unscratched with no clouding.
Open the bank-vault-thick door and the interior looks as if it has hardly been sat in. The half-cloth seats are good as new (no wear at all) and you’ll no doubt have spotted it has the rear seat option – OK for toddlers, but no-one else; the carpets pristine – even the genuine Mercedes over-mats look good. The switchgear shows that typical Mercedes precision, and the original, working, Blaupunkt Coburg cassette/radio is still fitted. Pop open the boot and the standard is equally high, with unmarked carpet, complete tool-roll, jack and warning triangle in place.
Mechanically, LDB 91V is as tight as you’d have every right to expect of a 44,700 mile car with full history (complete with current MoT to Aug 2011), and is a total pleasure to drive. The engine holds full oil pressure, is quiet, and does not overheat. The gearbox is equally good, smoothly changing gears for you. Kickdown is just as effective, swiftly changing down a cog for you, making overtaking manoeuvres swift and safe.
The great thing about all SLs is their ability to adapt to your mood and the weather: sunny days really do demand that you cruise in the utmost comfort with the roof down; if it gets chilly the effective heater will deal with that, if the rain comes pop the soft-top up; and for Winter, the solid hardtop turns convertible into coupe.
The service history and documentation for this car are excellent. As mentioned, there is a fully stamped maintenance booklet, all MoTs, letters from previous owners and details of a private registration transfer (it was once DGM 666…), Mercedes Owner’s Manual, original Blaupunkt Coburg instruction manual, and even the 1000 miles/ 1500 km Mercedes ‘break-in’ and Tempomat (cruise control) booklets that Mercedes would have tied to the steering column and ignition key. We’ve just had it serviced (all fluids, including transmission, filters, plugs and leads), along with two new rear tyres fitted.
So there you have it, an astonishing example of a Mercedes 350SL, with such low mileage, fantastic history and, most importantly for us, driving superbly.