1999 Mercedes-Benz SL600 - SOLD
     
  • Overview & History
  • Specifications
  • Image Gallery
When you come hammering up on other drivers in this car, they tend to snap to attention and simply get out of the way before they’ve even had a chance to think about it. That’s PRESENCE.

In the late 1990s, when I was still working with a large Corvette tuner, we rented Waterford Hills Raceway in suburban Detroit for a day. While we were there, a NASCAR Craftsman truck team of some note was also on the track testing their latest hardware. It was fun to see how our Corvettes compared to a tube-chassis full-race machine. The track got a little busier when a writer from one of the big car magazines headquartered nearby showed up in an SL600 roadster just like this one. For fun, he took it out on the track and within a few short laps, was steadily closing the distance on the NASCAR truck. Eventually, the big, bad Benz stepped around the race truck and passed it on the front stretch, a Wagner aria blaring from the speakers just for effect, and the mighty V12 matching with its own baritone song. I’ve been playing with cars for nearly 40 years, and that is still one of the most memorable experiences I’ve ever had, right up there with blowing through a speed trap somewhere in Nebraska at better than 220 MPH. But that’s a story for another time.

What we’re talking about here is the world’s most civilized supercar. This stunning triple black 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL600 was the top of the line machine from the world’s most respected automaker, and shows just over 13,600 original miles today. Approximately 15% of the 459 SL600s built in 1999 offered the optional Sport package, and with it the sleek R129 shape takes on an aggressive edge, with a deeper front air dam, pronounced side skirts, and a reshaped rear valence. Of course, in triple black, this Autobahn stormer looks absolutely sinister. For your $140,000 dollars in 1999, you got some beautifully finished paint, with this one showing only slight signs of use, mostly limited to a few nicks on the nose. However, there’s just no mistaking the wide Mercedes grille and the famous three-pointed star in its center, and few cars are better at pushing slower traffic out of the fast lane than this. When you come hammering up on other drivers in this car, they tend to snap to attention and simply get out of the way before they’ve even had a chance to think about it. That’s PRESENCE.

Soft Nappa leather replaced the usual stiff perforated MB-Tex leather in 1999, and the twin black buckets in this roadster are beautifully preserved with only light wear. In fact, there’s leather covering an awful lot of the interior, and while it doesn’t have the same upscale fragrance of, say, a vintage Jaguar, there’s definitely an aroma of quality materials. Virtually everything was standard equipment on the top-of-the-line SL600, including an upgraded entertainment system that uses a large LCD screen and fiber-optic cables to connect it to the trunk-mounted CD changer. Lovely burled walnut warms up the business-like Mercedes interior, and you’ll probably want to spend an evening with the owner’s manual, because the vast array of gadgets, features, and buttons will have even the most brilliant cryptologist working overtime to decipher all the controls. There’s even an “MPG” gauge, which seems to be wired directly to your right foot—wiggle your big toe, and watch the gauge respond. Both seats are heated and powered, of course, and use the elegantly simple door-mounted seat controls. Overhead, there’s both a power black canvas convertible top and a removable hardtop, which seals the coupe up as tightly as any luxury sedan.

Although they appear the same on the outside, the SL600 differs from its less expensive siblings in one major way: more cylinders. And by more cylinders I mean 50-100% more cylinders! The silky 6.0-liter V12 offers dual overhead cams and 48 valves, belting out 389 horsepower and enough torque to affect the earth’s rotation. Built in the days when the engineering department still ruled the Daimler-Benz organization, the engine is a bulletproof powerplant with a proven track record of running hundreds of thousands of miles with only routine maintenance. No finicky turbos, just major mechanical muscle hand-built to exacting standards. In typical Mercedes-Benz fashion, it’s quite content to motor around town with nary a whisper or vibration, and it does so happily now as the owner’s wife’s fair-weather toy. But plant your foot, as the NASCAR truck team discovered at the track that fateful day, and all twelve cylinders flex their muscle like a gathering storm. The instant rush of torque conspires to spin the rear tires, but the frantically flashing traction control light on the dash is your only clue. Moments later, you’re hurtling along with virtually zero physical indications of great speed aside from the speedometer reading and the landscape flashing by in a blur. And did I mention the sound it makes? You’ll feel it in your chest as much as hear it with your ears.

The SL600 uses a 5-speed automatic transmission, and with this much torque, extra gears are just superfluous. Like the engine, it makes seamless shifts when you’re commuting, but snaps off rifle-precise upshifts when the hammer is down, and eagerly drops down two gears when you bury the throttle in the deep pile carpeting to rocket around slower traffic. You will undoubtedly find yourself dipping into the car’s seemingly endless reserves of power, savoring the sensation that feels much like being on the end of a massive recoiling rubber band. Fortunately, the Sport suspension offers the control to match the horsepower, and the automatically adjustable ride height works as it should, hunkering the car down as speeds increase, and with a manual override to get the chin over obstacles like deep driveway aprons and parking curbs. There’s a massive disc brake at each corner, ably assisted by the best ABS, traction control, and stability controls available at the time. The Sport model also received gorgeous AMG alloy wheels, measuring 18x8 up front and 18x9 in back and wearing a set of staggered Dunlop SP Sport 8000 radials. The wheels are completely unmarked, with no curb rash or impact damage, and the tires have a lot of life left in them.

Vastly underrated, the SL600 is an everyday supercar. Even a decade later, it remains an A-list celebrity and anywhere you go, people tend to notice the predatory black Mercedes silently cruising like a Great White Shark. This one hails from the large collection of a well-regarded owner who is a fan of low mileage machinery, so its pedigree is impeccable. If you’ve never owned a 12-cylinder motorcar, this may very well be the finest V12 ever made, and if you’re a Mercedes-Benz connoisseur, you already know what a special machine this is. Fast, rare, luxurious, and beautifully preserved, we are exceptionally proud to offer this SL to our clients.

Vehicle: 1999 Mercedes-Benz SL600
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 111050
Mileage: 13,550
VIN: WDBFA76F2XF177957
Engine: 6.0 liter 48-valve V12
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 2.65
Wheelbase: 99 inches
Wheels: 18-inch AMG alloy
Tires: Front: 245/45/18, Rear: 275/35/18 Dunlop radial
Exterior Color: Black
Interior Color: Black Nappa Leather
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