1984 Mercedes Benz 380SL

This is the SL model with the longest production run, all the way from 1971, till the final year - 1989. At the end it was not even out-dated. A remarkable fact for a car that has been on the market for nearly two decades without a major facelift. At launch the R107 was an instant hit. Ironically SL meant Sport Leicht (light), but the new R107 was by no means a lightweight. 

When it was launched, the Mercedes-Benz R107 SL had a price tag twice as high as an E-type. Mercedes-Benz had only one goal in mind and that was to showcase German excellence with this roadster. Although there was also a 2+2 Coupé version, called the SLC (C107), the R107 was their true masterpiece. During its 18-year production run the SL was the only Mercedes roadster. The R107 SL benefitted from the world's leading engineering and state of art production facilities. Designers were Joseph Gallitzendörfer and Friedrich Geiger (Director of design) The new SL was a modern open sports car that offered the ride and build quality of a refined luxury automobile. It was meant for grand touring in comfort instead of having a temperamental, uncivilized character. All the suspension components were installed in soft rubber bushings and the exhaust notes remained quiet. The SL became synonymous with the charm of unconventional, still spirited driving experience, which in no way shall be disrupted by stress or by a hard ride and annoying noises. All factors others might call sporty.

Nowadays we see this SL as an upper class roadster with typical classic car looks, thanks to the chrome details. It offers a surprisingly contemporary driving experience like no other. When parked, it fits well between cars of several decades, including those of the early 60’s and late 90’s, just like a good example of the Porsche 911 can do, but then in a more distinguished way. Compared to cars from the 60’s it’s easy to use these cars on a daily basis. And totally opposite of cars from the 90’s, the R107 wasn’t designed nor engineered by the financial department, yet. In retrospect that’s quite astonishing and a big achievement for Das Haus which isn’t highlighted as much as I think would be fair. On the other hand, club members already know these first class qualities of the R107 and enjoy them together with lots of driving events. Touring is what an SL does best. Owners just don’t feel the need to scream it from the rooftops.  Exactly this understated approach is the key value of the R107. 

This SL and other 84 and 85 SLs  came with a double row timing chain from the factory. Combined with a 4-speed automatic overdrive gearbox it makes the SL very usable for any occasion. The 380 SL replaced the 280 SL and was equipped with the Bosch K-Jetronic system, which was computer controlled instead of being a fully mechanical system. The management system controlled idle, fuel rate and the air/fuel ratio. Fuel consumption, noise levels and emissions improved while the driveability at lower revs and throttle response turned out to be the key accomplishments for the better driving experience. Especially the ones who already had driven the older 450 SL with its fine V8 noticed they didn’t need to rev that high anymore. Good manners made the 380 SL even more relaxed, despite its illustrious name, but they didn’t slow the car down either. Top speed is reached in 4th gear and just north of 120 mph.  The German horsepower rate is a healthy 215, with a strong 221 lb.ft at just 4400 rpm. The 0-60 mph takes about 9 seconds, if anyone ever cares to do that in this fine luxury machine. The car’s strength lies more in the overall performance at any given speed, in great comfort. There’s no need to rush to go quick. The 3.8 liter engine never misses a beat and just like all the German materials around it seems to last forever. Cars like these are proof that people shouldn’t focus too much on low-mileage examples, because the R107 was made to drive on a daily basis. Although older R107s can rust, the later versions like mine got a galvanized body. They’ve always held their value. 

The interior can be best described as sober elegance and was also built to last. The typical oversized Mercedes steering wheel and the seats will make you feel comfortable all day long. Inside the styling is as refined as the outside. Its gray full leather upholstery and some wood accents wrapped in carbon fiber bring along tons of class without being over-stylish. Anyone who’ll drive this car shall enjoy the feeling of total freedom, not just with the roof down. When closed, the soft top is folded down in its own space, so any luggage stays separated. The original hard top comes with the car, which transforms the SL into a Coupé for the colder winter months. The solid construction with a heated rear window makes it a perfect addition to already all-weather abilities of this Mercedes roadster.

The all around driving and build quality, plus the usability of R107 SLs make them highly sought after. The 380 SL is among the most popular, because its total package feels best. The R107 SL was nicknamed “Der Pantzerwagen” and that’s because it is bulletproof. The 8 cylinder engine in the 380 SL added some lightness. With this example you can enjoy all aspects that make the R107 so good, for a very long time.

  Mercedes-Benz 380SL Specifications

    Years of Manufacture: 1984

    Number Built: 1 of 11,115

    Date of Introduction: February, 1980

    Chassis/Body:  Unit frame and body

    Exterior Dimensions 380SL:

        Total Length: 4380mm

        Total Width: 1790mm

        Height at Kerb Weight: 1300mm

        Wheelbase: 2455mm

        Front Track: 1452mm

        Rear Track: 1440mm

    Kerb Weight:  Roadster: 1540kg

    Fuel Tank: 90 liters

    Turning Circle:  10.74 metres

    Transmission (Automatic, 4 Speed):

        1st: 3.68:1

        2nd: 2.41:1

        3rd: 1.44:1

        4th: 1.00:1

    Rear Axle Ratio:  3.27:1

    0-100 km/h:  9.8 seconds (approx)

        Maximum Speed:  Automatic: 127 mph (205 km/h)

    Engine 8 Cylinder M 116: Capacity: 3818cc 233ci

        Type: Conventional, water cooled four stroke, reciprocating piston type with 8 cylinders in V8 configuration

        Configuration: Front mounted, longitudinal, inline

        Head: Pushrod and rocker actuated ohv, overhead camshaft

        Fuel System: Bosch mechanical with air-flow sensor

        Bore and Stroke: 92mm x 71.8mm (3.62 x 2.83 inch)

        Power: 218 hp (DIN) @ 5500rpm

        Torque: 31 mkg @ 4000rpm (224.3 ft/lb)

        Compression Ratio: 9.0:1

    Ignition and Electrical: 12 volt Coil and alternator

    Exhaust:  Single tail-pipe

    Suspension:  Independent front and rear, double wishbones, diagonal-pivot swing axle

    Steering: Recirculating ball, servo assisted, ratio: 15.9:1 (3.0 turns)

    Brakes:  Front: Vented Disc, 278mm (10.9 inch)

    Rear: Solid Disc, 279mm (11.0 inch)

    Wheels:  14" Alloy

    Tires:  195/70 VR 14

Compare Mercedes Benz Series 107 Models

Mercedes-Benz R107 SL Comparison Chart     Top Speed

Model   Years    # Built  Engine     HP/Torque  Trans      mph/kph

380SL  1980-1985  53,200  3818cc V8  218/224 4 Speed Auto  134/216
450SL  1971-1980  66,300  4520cc V8  225/279 3 Speed Auto  134/216

Please read on if you are looking for a solid turn-key 80s vintage classic. I am offering my Anthracite Grey Metallic 380SL for sale. Nowadays we see this 380SL as an upper class roadster with classic car looks because there isn’t a single bad angle on this car; it looks great in a most distinguished way whether parked at south coast or cruising on PCH. It has been exceptionally reliable road car. I don't hesitate to drive it on a weekend trip or even as a daily driver. If MB made just a hundred of these, these would sell for millions of dollars. Passed smog on 8/08/22 with zero problems. Clean CA title in my name, tag paid to 2023. No accidents, no salvage, no rust. It is a well-priced, original SoCal car. It comes with 2 tops and 134,740 miles on the odometer. I am not the original owner; the PO told me it was in the family for a long time and was repainted before it was parked. I found it, and took care of all known weak points of 380SL to a point of it running and driving great before I parked it. I selling it to you who will enjoy it more than me. There are plenty of low-priced project R107s out there and this isn't one of them. “If you have the means, we highly recommend picking one up” – Ferris Bueller.


-3.8 liter V8 Engine

-4 Speed Automatic Transmission

-Posi Traction Rear End

-Power Windows

-Power Antenna

-Fog Lamps

-Sony stereo with amplifier

-Carbon fiber wrapped center console and dash trim (old wood pieces included)

-Automatic Climate Control (134a converted)

-2 tops hard top and cloth soft top

-Original Interior no rips or tears

-Original Mercedes Bundt Alloy 14" Wheels

-New fuel pump

-New fuel accumulator

-New fuel filter

-New air filter

-New spark plugs

-New wires

-New radiator

-New thermostat

-New fan clutch

-New belts

-New hoses

-New 134a A/C refrigerant

-New tires

-New air filter

-New muffler holders

-Steering coupler done

-mono valve done

-Power steering pump rebuild done

-Double timing chain done

-Timing chain guides done

-Ceramic coating done

-Carbon fiber wrap center console done

Cons: (see photos)

-Minor paint chips

-Clock stopped

-Slight dent on the roof

-Slight dent on top of front bumper

-Power Door Locks tumbler

J.D.Power valuation: