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MERCEDES-BENZ SL SERIES: 1963-1971

Mercedes_230_SL_1967_f3q.jpg (53298 bytes)Today the SL series of the sixties is getting more and more popular on the classic car market. Its fans are spread all over the world and are often united in local clubs that keep a close contact with each other. Subsequently the market value of the cars is on its way up.
Second most popular SL of the series is the 230 SL, the original. The photos show a late version, probably 1966. A 230 SL in excellent condition can fetch about two times its original purchase price.
The advantages of the 230 SL compared to its successors are the nimble handling and the sporty stiff suspension. Disadvantages are the drum brakes, some overheating problems due to the lack of an oil-cooler and some minor niggles that were phased out in consequent updates over the years this series was in production.

Mercedes_230_SL_1967_interior.jpg (61765 bytes)Light colours flatter the 230 SL. The car on the photos wasn't in excellent condition; the interior was worn out and the engine leaked a bit of oil (a common SL problem). Some bits and pieces of the trimming were missing. But if you think of it as a thirty years old car (these pictures were made in 1999) that hasn't been restored, it's actually amazing that it still looked so good.
It's estimated that only 3% of all produced 230 SLs are in excellent original condition. About 49% are in a lousy condition but still can do a good price (near the original purchase price) because there is so much demand. Restoring these cars can be quite profitable.

Mercedes_250_SL_1966_f3q.jpg (52617 bytes)The rarest but also most unpopular SL is the 250 SL. The black one on the pictures was beautifully restored and complete with hardtop (you can see it on the photo behind the car, standing upright). It was sold within a day...
The unpopularity of this type is undeserved. It may have been produced for only eleven months, but it more or less combines the good things of the two other types. It still has the nimble and sporty handling of the 230 SL, but now combined with the more modern disc brakes and an oil cooler. And most of the minor problems this series started out with in 1963 were already resolved at the time the 250 SL was introduced.

Mercedes_250_SL_1966_r3q.jpg (62007 bytes)The price that a good 250 SL can fetch is ordinarily about 20% below that of a good 230 SL. The more recent production years and the fact that about 43% of the cars are in excellent original shape account for that.

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