The Mercedes-Benz SL roadster is a magnificent piece of engineering that costs upwards to $85,000 when you head to your local dealer, but through the magic of depreciation, you can pickup a used one for a fraction of that cost. Just for fun, we are going to see what the newest SL500 you can get for less than $20k. The best I could find is this 2007 Mercedes-Benz SL550 offered here on eBay for $20,950 buy-it-now or make-offer located in Mesa, AZ with 2 days to go.
The R230 generation Mercedes-Benz SL-Class was the fifth generation of Mercedes-Benz's two seat grand tourer. Production started for the 2003 model year, but the car received a major facelift in 2006 before losing the classic Benz quad headlight look in the 2008 facelift. The new Benz product coming from the factory is certainly good looking stuff, but it doesn't really look much like a Benz from 20 years ago...unlike this 2007 model.
Under the hood of the SL550 is a 5.5 liter all-alloy DOHC V8 that puts out 382 horsepower and 391 ft-lbs of torque. It doesn't have the maniac launch of an AMG version, but it shouldn't be as expensive to repair or prone to consuming drums of dino juice.
Of course you wouldn't expect to see a clutch pedal and s hifter in a modern Mercedes-Benz sports car, but the 7 speed automatic can be shifted via buttons attached to the wood rimmed steering wheel. Read more about the 2007 changes in this Road & Track article, but just remember that less than 10 years ago this car cost almost $100k.
See a newer SL-Class for less than $20k? Maybe one with the ultra rare "granite" trim...made from real rocks. Send it here: firstname.lastname@example.org