When the Mercedes-Benz SL is mentioned in collector car circles it brings about nostalgic thoughts of the Gullwing, Sir Stirling Moss, the 300SL, the 190SL; and one of the quintessential German sports cars of the day, the 280SL. However, as the years pass it becomes more evident that Mercedes-Benz of all eras have something appreciable about them. Today the market is defined by those cars that ascertain a certain quality to them, and the first year of any car can certainly be worth mention as well as collectible. Toward the end of the hand-built Mercedes-Benz era in 1971, the long loved 113 series was replaced by the 107 series, which ran its course until 1988. Starting in 1972, the 107 embarked on an evolutionary path that ended with nearly 300,000 produced in a few different variants.
Premiering for US sales in 1972 the 350SL was a total make over from the Pagoda cars of the 1960’s. It offered V8 power, plenty of options, a refined design and interior. The SL now had fuel injection, early engine management, and creature comforts of the sedans of the same era. They were indeed cutting edge, as SL’s always have been. Today they are often noted as second or third in the hierarchy of collectible SL’s. The 300SL/190SL lead the way with price trends, the Pagoda’s offer a sporty car for a bit less and have easily achieved and iconic status. The 107 however, has always remained in the shadow of its big brothers, until recently. As it can be said with most makes/models, the first year of anything has a certain importance, especially if it remains well preserved and indicative of the manufactures original design and intent. The 1972 350SL offers purity of an original design, a new beginning, and with this in its contemporary setting, an opportunity for a car worth noting as investment grade.
The example on offer here, a 1972 Mercedes-Benz 350SL Roadster is exemplary of an investment grade 107. An extreme rarity as these cars were quite the “used sports car” of their day, and often have had many owners, plenty of time on dealer lot after lot. With over 300,000 produced many had the misfortune of being treated poorly, left to rust or neglected for years as they became worth less and less each year. It is not often that one was purchased, well kept and cared for as a prized possession in limited ownerships to be preserved over time as a treasure of automotive engineering. The example being offered is just that, a 3 owner car that has lived a privileged life of care and enjoyment. Never being neglected, out of service, or sitting dormant. It shows original miles of just over 35,000 and is the recipient of a recent cosmetic freshening to put it back to its former luster when it was new.
Thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center we know that this example, chassis # 10704412003749 is the 3,749th 107 produced. It was sold new exactly as follows:
304- Paint, Horizon Blue
162- Interior Trim, Blue MB-Tex
401- Single seats
416- Hardtop mounted
467- Central locking system and instruments with English lettering
491- U.S. Version
502- Outside rearview mirror, on the right
513- Becker radio
524- Paintcoat preservation
585- Behr air conditioner and electric window lifters (front doors)
593- Heat-insulating glass
744- Folding top fabric, Dark Blue
It presents today, exactly as it did when sold new out of NJ to its first owner: Horizon Blue with matching hardtop and Blue MB Tex interior. By 1980 it was in the hands of its second caretaker in Maple Shade, NJ, a contractor who drove the car seldom, but enough to keep it in order without issues. It was always garage kept, never saw inclement weather, and was serviced regularly. By 2004 the owner contacted the services of Euro Auto Classics of Philadelphia, PA to complete a total repaint and interior freshening. It is reported that it was unnecessary to do so at the time of completion as the car retained a wonderful original presentation and was by no means a rough car. The owner insisted that it be put back to showroom new. As such a total strip and repaint of the exterior was completed, and the interior was also redone to factory correct specification with all of the proper materials, as was the top. At this time the suspension, brakes and engine all received servicing to render this example nearly new as of 2004. It was then enjoyed regularly and often shown at local shows such as The New Hope Auto Show and Buckingham Auto Show here in Pennsylvania.
Upon the unfortunate passing of the second owner, the owner of Euro Auto Classics offered to purchase the car having gotten to know it inside/out and realizing it to be a rare specimen of a 107. He acquired the car in early 2012 enjoyed it for a year adding about 1,000 trouble free miles to the clock. Realizing that his stable was becoming full, this 107 is now available for its next custodian who can continue the trend of care and enthusiastic ownership.
Cosmetically a walk around the car shows straight panels, excellent fitment, and factory gaps which all have no issues. The Horizon blue paint shines beautifully and is without any notable flaws beyond a few touched up chips. The chrome items are bright and original, with all accompanying rubber the same consistency. The wheel wells, door jams and engine bay all show original paint in excellent condition as well. The hardtop is very nice with good glass, rubber and headliner. The soft top is nearly new and of the same quality.
Upon entering the car we notice a very fresh and correct interior with the only item out of place being that of a modern stereo head unit; which can be easily replaced and put back to the original Becker Europa if necessary. The steering wheel has a light patina; the carpets, door panels, seats, dash etc… are all in excellent condition with no issues to be noted. Overall a very high quality job throughout and a nice place to spend a Sunday afternoon. The pedals, steering wheel, and shift knob are all consistently worn to that of a 35,000 mile car, and as such through thorough inspection we absolutely support the original mileage. Beneath the mats is the original sound deadening foam for the floors, slightly cracked but still present and no rust to be found anywhere.
The engine bay shows to be highly original, beyond regular servicing it absolutely has never been out of the car or extensively worked on. There is a lot of original paint in the engine bay, all of which shows nicely, and a thorough inspection reveals this car has also never been hit and retains its original finders and radiator support. Of which many have had the misfortune of not being in such good care. The trunk is also clean, and like new in many ways, with a rust free and clean spare wheel well and absolutely rust free with proper finishes throughout.
Starting this 350SL comes with ease and requires a turn of the key. It idles smoothly, runs strong and doesn’t miss a beat. It shifts firmly as a Mercedes-Benz should and does from this era, and the suspension, steering, and braking are all in proper working order while riding on a set of good tires; overall a superb performer in need of nothing.
All things considered, this 107 presents a unique opportunity to finally acquire a well kept Mercedes-Benz SL that is on the cusp of being a true collector car and achieving a like status as the price trends will soon indicate. Low original miles with known ownership history, finished in handsome colors and offered with both of its tops put this 107 in a category all its own. Surely an opportunity to deeply consider by any Mercedes-Benz Enthusiast, collector, or car guy/gal looking for an open air convertible that won’t disappoint.