The Iconic Mercedes 560SL Endures!
You’ve arrived on this page most likely because you are a fan of the Mercedes-Benz 560SL coupe/roadster. We are fans too and have owned and restored over 100 of these attractive, durable, and usable Mercedes roadsters. Simplicity, superb build quality, and an enduring design are all hallmarks of the Mercedes 560SL. The 560SL was the culmination in the United States of what Mercedes-Benz internally referred to as the R107 chassis, a model run that lasted for 18 years, beginning in 1972 with the US introduction of the 350SL.
Rare black/black 560SL. 1988/89 models distinguished by slim 3rd tail light at rear edge of trunk
While European SL buyers had access to a wide array of engine, transmission, and option configurations, Mercedes-Benz decreed that from 1972 forward (until 1990), all SLs destined for North America would carry V-8 engines coupled with automatic transmissions. Reflecting the preferences of the upscale North American SL buyer, US cars were delivered with a high level of equipment and very few options. According to ourSL.com, a comprehensive online SL community, a 1989 560SL offered only three extra cost options: heated front seats ($420), electrically operated orthopedic backrest left side ($85), and electrically operated orthopedic backrest right side ($85).
The 1972 350SL became the iconic 450SL in 1973 and continued with yearly improvements through 1980. The new “S” Class sedans of 1981 carried the new generation light-alloy M116 3.8 liter powerplants and the SL received this silent if moderately underpowered drivetrain as well. Thus in 1981 production began for the silky smooth 380SL. After five years of production, the initially unreliable 380SL gave way to the muscular 560SL in 1986.
Clean, aggressive good looks give the 560SL its appeal. Chrome alloy wheels an aftermarket add-on.
In the 560SL, Mercedes got it all just right, offering essentially bullet-proof reliability, satisfying power, and aggressive good looks. The 560SL combined all that Mercedes learned about the V-8 R107 chassis cars into a cultural icon that quietly and confidently told the world its occupants had “arrived.”
Standard equipment included driver’s side airbag and ABS brakes. Interior improvements for the 560SL included lovely burlwood accents, improved lateral seatback support, and a power passenger side mirror. The steering wheel, however, was still fixed and seat adjustments were still carried out manually.
Cozy, well constructed interior features driver’s airbag, manual seats, and rich burlwood accents
Now over 20 years old, this car is attracting new buyers due to its iconic good looks, simplicity, and vault-like build quality. Total production from 1986 through 1989 came to 37,218 units and prices rose a whopping $16,000 from 1986’s $48,200 to $64,230 in 1989.
Time, however, has not been kind to many examples and savvy buyers do their homework before venturing out to buy their dream 560SL. Check the “Links of Interest” below to reference some effective tools for the 560SL enthusiast. Once you have found your dream 560SL, join the Mercedes-Benz Club of America to find tours and events near you!