At $7,000, Would Buying This 2001 Mercedes SL500 Prove a Tall Order?

The seller claims to have discovered, only after purchasing the car, that it simply doesn’t fit them.

We may earn a commission from links on this page.
Nice Price or No Dice 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500
Photo: Craigslist

While today’s Nice Price or No Dice SL500 is a convertible, it’s not reasonable to drive it open-topped year-round. That’s a problem for the seller who claims to be too tall to fit in the car. Let’s see if that unfortunate realization means the car’s price won’t come up short.

One of my favorite movies growing up was the WWII actioner, The Great Escape. I liked it not just for the action or how it depicted the camaraderie of the disparate characters. I mainly liked it for how Steve McQueen made being confined to solitary in a Nazi prisoner-of-war camp seem cool. I think Steve McQueen could probably have made a colonoscopy look cool.

The 2005 Ford Escape XLT we looked at on Friday sadly wasn’t all that cool. I mean, could you even picture Steve McQueen driving it? Still, it presented as clean, offered low mileage, and is in a size class that’s red hot these days. However, a $7,900 asking price dissuaded most of you from finding favor in any of those attributes. The result was a narrow 56 percent No Dice loss, a fate the Ford seemingly couldn’t escape.

Advertisement

One thing that few of us could argue about last Friday’s Ford was that it was practical. On top of that, quite a few of you averred that it—or something similar—would make for a solid choice for a first-time driver. Of course, for many, enjoying the sweet taste of freedom that a driver’s license offers, having something with a little more panache might be preferred. After all, debuting drivers deserve to make a splash at their debutante ball.

Image for article titled At $7,000, Would Buying This 2001 Mercedes SL500 Prove a Tall Order?
Photo: Craigslist
Advertisement

This 2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 is just the car to do that. And, being an R129, it’s built like a tank so the inevitable mistakes made by a novice driver will probably not end in too many tears. According to the ad, though, there is a height issue. It seems that new drivers who are also starting members of their high school basketball team need not apply. For the rest of us who fall under the 95th percentile, this Benz roadster should fit like a teutonic turtleneck.

The 2001 model year closed out the R129’s impressive 12-year run. The successor R230 SL never felt as solid as the R129 and came with several complicated technologies (origami hardtop, anyone?) that make long-term reliability a bit of an issue. The major problem with the R129 was a biodegradable wiring harness used in its mid-life years that proved particularly vexing. By the time this ’01 rolled out of Bremen that was no longer a factor.

Advertisement
Image for article titled At $7,000, Would Buying This 2001 Mercedes SL500 Prove a Tall Order?
Photo: Craigslist

Power comes from the M113 5.0-liter V8 which is good for 302 horsepower and 339 lb-ft of torque. That’s backed up by a five-speed automatic that shifts through a snake gate on the center console. The seller doesn’t provide much info on how the car works, other than to say that it “runs excellent, drives and stops like a dream and has good tires.” The drivetrain does have a reputation, in general, for being pretty solid, so there shouldn’t be too many ghosts in its closet.

Advertisement

Aesthetically, the car presents a couple of issues. Most notable of those is the failure of the clear coat on the rear bumper and a curb crack in the front valance. The seller notes both of those issues in the ad and says those demerits are the reason for “the low price for this amazing car.” You could also call out the Magma Red paint and chrome-plated wheels as less than desirable but then that’s more of a personal choice.

Image for article titled At $7,000, Would Buying This 2001 Mercedes SL500 Prove a Tall Order?
Photo: Craigslist
Advertisement

The interior is in decent shape although the driver’s seat does suffer some wear-through on the outside bolster that should be addressed. According to the ad, both hard and soft tops work, but we only see the car in the pics with the hard top in place. These have electro-hydraulic soft top actuation and with age, that system can fail expensively. On the plus side, the car still has its windblocker cover in the boot. That’s something that often goes missing on these models.

The title is clean and with just 110,000 miles on the clock, the car seems not to have been over-used. A passing grade on a recent smog test is the cherry on top.

Advertisement
Image for article titled At $7,000, Would Buying This 2001 Mercedes SL500 Prove a Tall Order?
Photo: Craigslist

As we noted, the seller says they recently bought the car only to discover, after the fact, that at 6 foot, six, they are too tall to comfortably fit in it. I’m not quite sure how that came to be but, you know; their loss, our gain, blah, blah, blah.

Advertisement

For those of more compact stature, the asking price is $7,000 and we now need to see if that makes sense for the car as it sits. What do you say, is $7,000 a good deal for this SL500 that has a few minor cosmetic issues but seems otherwise solid? Or, is that price a long shot?

You decide!

Advertisement

San Francisco Bay Area, California, Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to davidgrassimcdaniels831 for the hookup!

Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at rob@jalopnik.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.