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Mercedes 450SL Best Car Ever Made?

glemon

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I saw one when was I driving home from work, I see them all the time, not just on weekends going to cruise nights and shows. My unscientific poll of cars on the road says there are more Mercedes 380-450-560SLs around than just about anything else built before 1990. Cared for but not stuffed away and never driven like some hyper expensive exotic.

They have the reputation of being built like tanks, but still they are getting on 30-40 years old depending on when built, they cant be cheap or easy to fix, but people must like them enough to keep them going seemingly forever. Craigslist is always full of them, and unlike many cars of the same vintage, most always in running shape.

Long production run but limited numbers, more than exotics, but far less than Fords, Chevys and Toyotas. Is their great survival rate and apparent love and care most get enough to make the argument these things may be the best cars ever built? I kind of like them, I dont lust after them, but their survival AND apparenr driveability and use rate makes quite a statement, especially when they are not an easy and cheap to work on.

Kind of a long rambling post, has anybody else had similar observations about this or other cars?
 
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Steve P.

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Don't know that I'd say these were the best cars ever made but they are high on that list.
As you can tell from my tag line I'm mostly into Britmobiles and have been for over 40 years.
Like you, had seen quite a few Mercedes 450SL's around and was curious about them.
Ten years ago I bought a very nice '73 450 SLC. This is the 4 seater coupe version
of the convertable and they are fairly rare. What a great car for cruising at high speed
for long distances! MGs and Healeys while a blast to drive tend to beat up drivers on long
trips so the SLC was a welcome change. Also picked up a '71 350SL which was the first
production year of the 108 chassis. Another nice cruiser and a convertable.

If anyone is interested in these they can be found at very reasonable prices. And usually
in good shape as they were quite expensive so owners usually took care of them. Unlike
Britmobiles! The best models to get are pre-1974 because in that year they made the mistake
of adding a catalytic converter close to the exhaust manifold, much like the later MG Midgets.
The high heat cooked hoses and wiring harnesses. Pre-74 cars also had bumpers that
did not stick out too far unlike later bumpers that needed to meet tighter standards
and look terrible. As far as servcing goes mine have been very reliable in all respects.
And Mercedes does a very good job supporting their older cars with parts.
Steve
 

NutmegCT

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Never had the moolah for those, but here's a buyer's guide from the M-B "Star" magazine:

https://www.mbca.org/star-article/january-february-2015/buyers-guide-1972-1989-r107-roadster-and-gt

If I win PowerBall, I'm going for an early 190SL.

190sl.jpg

dream on ...
 

Jerry

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A neighbor offered us his project 190 for free. This was long enough ago that they were worthless. I passed, not enough garage room then. Smack on head, must accept free cars always!
 
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glemon

glemon

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I remember when 190SLs were cheap used cars too. A lady down the street had a well used one in black, semi daily driver. Our thoughts back in the day on them were basically "it isn't a 300SL". Nowadays they really do look like nice cruisers to me, but I like 230-280SLs better, which used to be a lot cheaper too.

Steve P. that is a nice collection of cars, similar taste, have recently started to think I need one big American 60s cruiser to go with the little european stuff.

I don't know if I think the 450SL is the best car ever, but the survival rate speaks to some sort of argument in that direction being made.
 

Steve P.

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I remember when 190SLs were cheap used cars too. A lady down the street had a well used one in black, semi daily driver. Our thoughts back in the day on them were basically "it isn't a 300SL". Nowadays they really do look like nice cruisers to me, but I like 230-280SLs better, which used to be a lot cheaper too.

Steve P. that is a nice collection of cars, similar taste, have recently started to think I need one big American 60s cruiser to go with the little european stuff.

I don't know if I think the 450SL is the best car ever, but the survival rate speaks to some sort of argument in that direction being made.

When I was first bitten by the classic car bug had a chance to buy a 190SL. Already
had an MGA and A-H 100-6 taking up garage space and my Dad said no-way! The one
that got away. The 300SL would be very close to my first purchase if I won the lottery.
It'd have to be a BIG lottery!

There are some very nice older cars available now. Both Euro and American. The list is
long! If I had a warehouse I'd have a blast filling it up as many of us here would. Some of the American cars that have
always impressed me, that are still affordable include; '61-63 T-Birds, early Cougars, '66-'69
Mustangs and the C3 thru C5 Vettes. Not sure about Nebraska but there are lots of
these around here.

And thanks for the compliment. With few exceptions these are cars that happened to cross
my path at the right time.
Steve
 

pdplot

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My brother in VA had a 450 SL that was for sale for about 2 years with no takers. He finally sold it for a lot less than the $10K he paid for it about 15 years before.
 
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