After the R107 SL had been in production for 18 years, Mercedes finally rolled out its replacement, the R129, in 1990. Since the R107 had been slapped with ugly U.S. government mandated headlights and bumpers, it was never the car is should have been. But the R129 had universal styling and a whole new level of appeal.
Bruno Sacco's design was a masterpiece of classic lines but progressive shape. The hood is long and low, and the rear is handsomely squared off, accented with the trademark ribbed taillights. The early models are some of the best looking, with the three-opening air intake slots on the sides, full-faced alloys, and more detailed front air dam.
The underpinnings were based on the excellent W124 sedan chassis. Mercedes initially offered just a six or eight cylinders, then later 12.
This example is a the 24-valve M104 straight-six cylinder engine that produced a healthy 228 horsepower. Many were the more complex V8, so the six-cylinder engines are a neat find for someone looking for something relatively tame but still plenty sufficient to start out with.
What makes this version especially appealing is the very rare 5-speed manual transmission. Mercedes stick shifts are very hard to find, especially in their cars from the 80s and 90s, which were considered by the general populace as "luxury" rather than "sporty" cars, a sentiment echoed and reinforced by Mercedes themselves.
It's difficult to find an exact number of how many 5-speed 300SL were sold here, but the seller says it was only 100 - whether for that year, or total, is unknown. Another source says about 800 total. Either way, it's not much.
The seller of this example says its a two-owner car with a clean accident-free carfax and meticulous ownership. They say the oil was just changed and it drives like a "dream". They list the odometer as having around 95k-miles.
Find it here on ebay in Pompano Beach, Florida with 5 bids at $3,050 and reserve not met.