The Mercedes SL has always been a car for people with aspirations. Our Nice Price or Crack Pipe SL500 will give you the sun and the moon and the stars, owing to its rare panoramic glass roof. Will that make its price something you could see paying?
Do you remember Meg Ryan’s famous faux-orgasm scene in When Harry Met Sally? Classic, right? The comments on yesterday’s 1987 Jeep Grand Wagoneer seemed a similar, albeit more authentic exaltation, the result being that the Jeep drove off with an overwhelming 92% Nice Price win and a promise to call you later.
Hey let’s stereotype people, okay? What are the sorts of people you think of when I say Mercedes Benz SL500? Accountants? Wives of Accountants? Dentists? It’s hard to pin down the typical owner isn’t it? The only central criteria for those buying the cars when new was that they needed to be stinkin’ rich. That’s because the compact convertible has always been balls to the wall expensive off the lot. Take this 1999 Mercedes SL500 for example. This car would have been nearly 100-grand when new. Shee-it! It’s a lot cheaper now, although we’ll be the judge of whether it’s cheap enough. After all, that doesn’t cost us anything.
The R129 SL was introduced in 1989 in replacement of the R107 which had been in production since shortly before the dinosaurs were creamed by a big space rock. The R129 crammed just about every bit of technology Mercedes could muster into a compact convertible and eschewed much of the aesthetic of its forebears for a heavy but clean design, one that is arguably one of the company’s best ever.
This 114,000-mile ’99 has the added benefit of the optional panoramic glass roof. That’s a pretty rare and desirable addition, and it changes the look of the car when in place as the glass roof has thinner sail panels than the standard metal cap, and slightly embiggened side glass.
Under that is of course the fully-retractable cloth convertible top and a pop-up roll bar that you should hope you will never need to use. Paint and finish appear exemplary in the photos, with no apparent curb rash on the factory alloys or door dings along the sides. There’s a bit of weirdness with the headlights, however. They don’t appear to be the optional Xenon HID units (standard on the V12 600) but do have a series of what look like LEDs surrounding them. Yeah, WTF, right?
That’s very minor and you’d probably forget about it once you popped the hood. There you’ll find Mercedes’ M113 E50. That’s a 4,966-cc SOHC V8 good here for 302-bhp and 339 foot-pounds of torque at 2,700 rpm. Mated to that is an electronically controlled five-speed automatic. The factory claimed this combo could move the 4,125-lb car from a standstill to sixty in 6.1 seconds. Yeah, this little two-seater is over two tons. Did I mention all the stuff crammed in there?
The seller makes no mention of mechanical condition, preferring instead to regale us with the list of the car’s standard features. Heated rear window? You don’t say! He does say that it’s in excellent condition inside and out and we can assume that extends to the spinning bits.
Speaking of the inside, well, that looks to be a pretty nice place to spend some quality time. Napa leather covers the two seats, and there’s enough positioning adjustments—all electric of course—to allow even the Elephant Man to find a comfortable position. The leather looks to be in great shape, and there’s no apparent wear on any of the frequently touched surfaces. It’s also pretty bright in there, owing to the light color scheme and that all-glass top hat. There’s a sun shade that can be pulled across the glass if you ever get tired of looking up bird’s butts at stoplights.
As I noted at the top of the hour, these cars went for a pretty penny back in the day. This one now asks $10,950, which is high for an SL500, but then this one has the benefits of reasonably low miles, a pleasing presentation, and that panoramic roof. And, in case you haven’t been paying attention, prices on older SL models have been climbing for a decade or more so maybe in 10 or 20 years this one will be back to as-new value too.
What do you think, does this handsome Mercedes seem to warrant that $10,950 price tag? Or, panoramic roof or not, is that just throwing good money out the window?
H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!
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