Thursday, March 7, 2019

Future Collectible: 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL R107

I don't want to say this too loudly because I might jinx it, but the gorgeous Mercedes-Benz R107 generation SL roadster is probably near the bottom of its depreciation curve.  Prices are cheap, particularly compared to older 60s Benzes with 2-doors but it offers a more sophisticated ride for a bargain price.  The R107 was introduced in 1971 and lasted for an incredibly long 18 years of production and was finally replaced in 1989 by the smoother but less cool looking R129, but if you want a deal on a classic, reliable and drivable 2-seat roadster, the R107 is the way to go.  Find this 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450 SL offered for $7888 in San Rafael, CA via craigslist.

From the seller:

VIN: 10704412029630 
cylinders: 8 cylinders 
drive: rwd 
fuel: gas 
odometer: 145189 
paint color: blue 
size: mid-size 
title status: clean 
transmission: automatic 
type: convertible 
450 SL. Very good condition. Just had $1,000s spent on maintenance steering and front suspension. Interior and bodywork are in excellent shape. Drives superb. Comes with hard top.

See a better way to drive a classic?


  1. I know these are touring cars, and not sports cars, but were they offered with a manual transmission? Or is a conversion reasonably practical?

  2. This model is not the R129, they are the R107. The smaller motors were available in Europe with a manual transmission but it is a clunky unit - not much fun!

    1. Thanks @grbbenny for that real-world reflection on the manual gearbox.

    2. Yup -- I borked up the post when I was typing it up -- fixed now!!

  3. All that trouble to obscure the tag number, and it's visible in the reflection of one shot, and at an angle in the other. If anyone is interested: 2AGV793 comes back to a 1976 450SL not a 1974. So I checked smog records ( ) with the VIN specified in the auction, and that too comes back as a 1976 (matches the records that are returned by the tag number).

    Any buyer should be aware that this vehicle is a 1976, and hasn't been smogged since November 2017 (so it expired in November, 2018), but it's a CA requirement to smog 90 days prior to sale (or less) if it's selling in-state.

    Out of state, no big deal.

    This is a great price for an R107.

    1. If this really is a 1976 that hasn’t been smogged that could account for the low price. The R107 V8 is notoriously difficult to get to pass smog tests these days, and once they get to the point where they can fail it often requires a ton of work to get them to pass again. If it really was a 1974, of course, no problem, since anything 1975 or older doesn’t require a smog check in California, but there’s reason for caution here for any California buyer.

  4. I thought those bumpers looked way too big for an early car......

  5. and..those vanity "sun" plates postdate 1974 ( which should be solid blue) if my memory serves me..of course the car could have been brought to California after it was initially sold. If the plate starts with a 2 I would say early eighties

    1. Yeah, the “sunset” plates were an option (5 bucks extra per year) that could be selected instead of the standard blue plates from 1982-86, and then for one year (1987) they were the standard license plate issued for all cars, until replaced in 1988 by the fugly plain white with blue/red block letters plate (which only lasted a couple of years until they switched over to the current “lipstick” plate. IMHO the “sunset” plate was the nicest modern era plate, and it was replaced by the ugliest.


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