With its six-cylinder engine, today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mercedes R129 is a rarer bird than its V8-powered counterparts. We’ll have to decide if the price on this lower-spec’d roadster makes you want to flip it the bird as well.
Should you be the sort of person who rues the vast number of cars and trucks denied to us in the U.S., you can take umbrage in thinking about all those that did come here, only to fail. One such failure was Rayton Fissore which managed meager sales in what has arguably been the most lucrative segment in the market, that of the luxury SUV.
We looked at the fallout of that effort yesterday, a 1989 Laforza, which didn’t offer any obvious clue as to the marque’s demise, but instead stood as a stalwart reminder that an effort was made. At $9,900, it didn’t prove to be a terribly expensive reminder either. At least not to the 53 percent of you who voted the rare 4X4 a Nice Price win.
Hey, do you want a little money investment tip? Stock up on R129 Mercedes convertibles. Seriously, I think these are just about to pop on the market. Right now decent examples can be had for well under ten grand, and if the preceding R107 and older W113 editions set any precedent — which they have — that state of affairs won’t last all that much longer. The question, of course, is just which model of R129 makes for the best investment?
Here in the States, there are basically three flavors from which to choose: the six-cylinder 300, the V8 500, and the romper-stomper V12 600. While their engines are different, they’re all SLs, which stands for Super Leicht (Super Light) harkening back to the 300 SL Gullwing and roadster of the 1950s. Each of the three models has its pros and cons, but today we’re going to focus on the particulars of the lowest-end model, this 1990 300 SL in gray over biscuit leather and sporting 152,000 miles on the clock.
The 228-horsepower/201 lb-ft of torque DOHC six in the 300 proved to be far less popular here in the States than the 300-horse V8. So much so that the six-cylinder cars would be dropped here entirely in ’98, leaving only the five-liter eight and six-liter V12 cars to carry the torch. That makes the 300s a bit rarer and considering that the three-liter M104 straight six lives in an engine bay that has room for a V12, they’re fairly easy cars to wrench on.
According to the ad, this one comes with a clean title and complete maintenance records. One of the weak points of this model is the hydraulic top mechanism which can sprout leaks at multiple points owning to age. The seller says that the included hardtop was recently removed and the soft top raised to ensure function, so it apparently passed that test. That fabric top is claimed to be in excellent condition if a bit wrinkly from having been folded up for so long. The also included hard top comes with a roll-around stand for when it’s not on the car.
The interior is claimed to be in excellent condition. The leather on the seats appears to be intact and there’s no apparent cracking on the burl wood console facing. I’m not sure if the added wood on the steering wheel and instrument cluster is an original option or an aftermarket add-on, but that seems to be in good shape as well.
One thing to always look for with an R129 is the windscreen and its boot-mounted case. Those occasionally go missing and are pricey to replace if they have. This Benz has both.
This seems to be a solid example of an R129, and the only real question about its value may be whether the more popular V8 car may make a better investment. The investment in this one demands $7,500. That’s not bad in this market, but is it a deal?
What do you say? Is this SL a sleeper at that $7,500 asking? Or, does its bottom-of-the-barrel cylinder count demand a bigger discount?
H/T to Paul Chabe for the hookup!
Help me out with NPOND. Hit me up at email@example.com and send me a fixed-price tip. Remember to include your Kinja handle.