1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL - $19,900
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Mercedes-Benz built the R107 SL for nearly two decades and in that time, managed to keep it fresh and desirable, so much so that it remained THE luxury/performance roadster throughout the ‘80s. There were faster cars, more expensive cars, more exclusive cars, but none that could capture the SL’s blend of all three. In short, if you had money and wanted everyone to know it, there was no better tool for advertising it than the R107. In its final iteration, the 560SL actually became a formidable machine, along with a host of comfort and convenience upgrades that make it the one to own if you’re looking for Mercedes’ ultimate status symbol. And in truth, they’re also great cars to drive, so don’t be dissuaded by their image, because they are just about the best blend of performance, comfort, and bulletproof engineering ever created by the engineers in Stuttgart.

This handsome 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL is a fantastic combination of affordable price, great specifications, and attractive colors. The Signal Red over tan combination is elegant and sporting at once, the perfect choice for the top-of-the-line SL. It’s certainly flashy and on the trim SL, it looks like the sheetmetal was shrink-wrapped over the mechanicals and the chiseled character lines along the bodywork really stand out. This car has never been hit or rusty, and that’s original 1989 paint, which means there are no nasty surprises waiting for you underneath. Build quality is exemplary, which you’d expect from a car whose engineers referred to as “der Panzerwagon,” AKA the tank. It feels incredibly robust, and this is a 30-year-old machine! The US-spec rubber bumpers have become so familiar that they’re not really a demerit today and they remain in excellent condition with no UV damage or cracks. There’s still quite a bit of chrome and it’s all excellent, from the grille to the wonderfully heavy-feeling bright trim on the trunk lid, and it wears accessory chrome wheel arches and defroster vents. Like most SLs, this car has led an easy life as a summertime toy.

The tan leather interior is more evidence that someone has loved this car all its life. With the 560, leather upholstery was now standard, wrapped around supportive seats that hold you in place without feeling tight or restrictive. There’s some very, very minor wear on the outer bolster of the driver’s seat, which is to be expected, but the rest looks pretty good. Carpets, door panels, and the real burled walnut on the console all remain quite presentable. The big steering wheel was leather-wrapped in the 560, and the big, round gauges are a model of functionality, able to be read at a glance. The original AM/FM/cassette stereo still sounds pretty good and looks right in the dash, unlike modern head units. The windows power up and down properly, and even the temperature gauge in the center of the dash keeps an accurate eye on exterior temperatures (this is not an owner add-on). The trunk is beautifully upholstered using the same plush carpets as the interior, and you’ll find the original unused Pirelli spare tire and jack tucked underneath, as well as the original tool roll. All SLs came standard with both a folding cloth top and a removable hardtop, and both are included. The convertible top has some minor damage that has been repaired between the rear windows, but it is otherwise very presentable—besides, if you’re doing it right, you’ll only use it in emergencies.

But the biggest improvements came under the skin, starting with the big 5.6 liter OHC V8 engine, which powered all Mercedes-Benz flagship vehicles in the 1980s. In the relatively lightweight SL, performance is impressive, particularly on the roll. There’s torque available at any speed and I would liken this SL more to a German Mustang than a lightweight sports car. It’s impeccably smooth at all times, even when you’re running hard, and it has proven itself over the decades as one of the toughest machines ever to come out of the Mercedes-Benz factory. Mileage on these cars seems to be a non-issue, as they’ll seemingly run for hundreds of thousands of miles without any diminution in performance or reliability, so it’s a mistake to regard a car with mileage like this one as second-best. Maintenance is what really matters, and this car has been properly maintained all its life, a fact that is more than demonstrated by its outstanding road manners.

All 560SLs received a 4-speed automatic transmission with a deep overdrive gear, so it’s an effortless high-speed cruiser, especially with 2.47 gears out back (remember this car was born to run the Autobahn). For smoothness, it is programmed to start in 2nd gear, which makes it feel a little sleepy, but a quick prod of the throttle will drop it into 1st and the car takes off like a rocket—German Mustang indeed! Otherwise, shifts are smooth and unobtrusive, and only Mercedes-Benz seems to have mastered the ride/handling compromise that makes the SL so much fun. Drive gently, and it feels luxury car smooth, with bumps feeling far away and never upsetting the rock-solid platform. Drive it aggressively and it is happy to run with you, with good reflexes and a surprisingly amount of grip. Powerful 4-wheel disc brakes are augmented by ABS, another 560 upgrade, and there’s a wonderful V8 burble from the tailpipes out back. This car sits on a set of factory alloys as well as some fat 215/65/15 Goodyear radials that fill the fenders just right.

Documentation includes the original manuals.

We’ve sold quite a few of these and their enduring appeal surely comes down to their awesome build quality and fun-to-drive road manners. This is a lot of car for the money, and if you’ve been watching R107 prices lately, you know that these are on the move in a big way. We can’t promise this one will make you rich overnight, but we can promise that you’ll be having too much fun to worry about it. Call today!

Harwood Motors always recommends and welcomes personal or professional inspections of any vehicle in our inventory prior to purchase.

Vehicle: 1989 Mercedes-Benz 560SL
Price: $19,900
Stock Number: 117050
Mileage: 117,050
VIN: WDBBA48D7KA092336
Engine: 5.6 liter SOHC V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Gear Ratio: 2.4700000000000002
Wheelbase: 2460 mm
Wheels: 15-inch aluminum wheels
Tires: 215/65/15 Goodyear radials
Exterior Color: Signal Red
Interior Color: Palomino leather
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