James Siddall on SL (R107) | Car News | MercedesBenz SA

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Mercedes-Benz R107

Choosing a favourite classic is challenging, but for JAMES SIDDALL the SL wins…

Nov 22, 2011

The Mercedes-Benz SL pulled me through  the Marathon. Twice.But let me go back a any petrolhead I’ve been “fantasy fleet” – where you up an imaginary dream garage – I was a boy.

I still play it, and the the cars included vary time to time, they to remain fairly accessible. of the vehicles I could logically to.So that means no 540Ks, pre-war blower and other multi-million-rand exotics. my fantasy fleet includes a Rolls-Royce Shadow, an American car – and several Mercedes-Benzes. Like a late-1980s 560 SEC and a 230E or TE (that’s the estate) of vintage as a daily runaround, being cars that me when I was a teen and they still new. But most of all I add a Mercedes SL (R107) to the collection.This is the elegant, oh-so-Hollywood roadster from 1971 to 1989 – it the second single longest after the G-Class, ever by Mercedes.A small book given by Mercedes titled Heritage: The Motor Car Family nicely sums up the car thus:

Mercedes-Benz R107

“The R107-series SL is widely as a monument to automotive construction. Its design reflects the understated that prevails in the 1970s. series encompasses an exceptional variety, ranging from the 280 SL to the V8 560 SL. different engines are made during the 18-year production itself is an understatement. This SL – not nearly as rapid or as much of a as the current R230 roadster – just ooze glamour. also as solid as a tank.No  it was apparently nicknamed the “Panzerwagen” during its development. And indeed to the graceful if rather feminine SL” it replaced, it was a heavy beast. wonder as it took its chassis from the Mercedes W114.Sample one and the “lithe” and “light” don’t to mind. This car is more a gran turismo or boulevard than a machine for snaking serpentine secondary roads, and it The R107 almost feels it was billeted from a

solid chunk of steel, and the “thunk” shut like vaults, while even the gear seems built to a nuclear apocalypse.

Buy a good one – complete with the detachable hard top; a fabric roof is built in – and it be a forever car. An heirloom you hand down to your

Bobby Ewing, he of the big hair and bigger belt buckle, one in Dallas, famously. And it was watching unlikely role model across the small screen I was a pre-adolescent that triggered my love of these cars. the decades since I’ve in and out of love with many from the DeLorean of Back to the fame to even, I am slightly to admit, the Pontiac Firebird Knight Rider. But the utter of the R107 means lust one even more than I did as a news is that with 300 000 models made during its long life – including 60 000 fixed-head, four-seater SLC versions the C107 – there are plenty to be range from around R60 000 for a late-1970s SL 450 through to R200 000 or for a time-warped, late-‘80s 500 SL – which by boasted  the likes of ABS and and some very mild but cosmetic enhancements. But even at the end of its it was never designed as a performance In 1988 a 500 SL would surge to in a fraction under

eight seconds, topping out at 220km/h, thanks to that woofling V8. Quick yes, no. The emphasis on these cars has been effortless elegance than tyre-shredding shenanigans.They’re a nice place to park money too. Consider in 1979 a new 450 SL, with 165kW and from its 4.5 V8, was yours for R32 330. might sound cheap you remember that a W123 230 of the vintage cost almost a that.Today that same car in unmolested condition will triple or more. And as the R107 recognised as the modern classic it is, I that prices across the are rising – in some cases, a one will fetch more its R129 successor.But that’s no as sooner than later add a mint model to my garage.As for
me through the Comrades, well, in race you have to play games. Visualisation especially.Mine – as new hill beckoned, and then the finishing line – was simple. I’d visualise a pristine, astral 500 SL, the roof down, waiting with my name on it. It too, and now it’s time to the fantasy into reality.

Mercedes-Benz R107
Mercedes-Benz R107

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