1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL with 52k Miles
For October 4, 2020, our used car find is this well-preserved 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL with just 52k miles and two Pacific Northwest owners from new. It’s listed for sale on Autotrader by a private seller in the Seattle area for $7500.
Here’s what makes this one special.
The R129 generation SL debuted in the US for the 1990 model year, replacing the R107 generation, which had been in production for almost 20 years. The roadster was almost entirely redesigned, including sleek new sheetmetal from renowned Benz designer Bruno Sacco, a powerful new 5.0 liter all aluminum DOHC V8 (codename M119), and a more modern multi-link suspension, among other things.
The changes were a hit. Demand was so strong that dealerships had waiting lists of over a year, while cars on the lot sold for well over the already high sticker price (base MSRP was $72,750, which is $145k today).
MotorWeek’s John Davis took one for a spin back then and declared it to be “the SL we’ll wished we’d owned” twenty years hence:
This particular SL is from the early years of the R129, which means it misses out on a few important upgrades offered through that generation’s long production run (1990-2002), such as an improved 5-speed automatic gearbox, electronic fuel injection, and Xenon headlights.
However, the early cars have their own set of charms, including a more period look with two-tone paint, old-style wheels, and amber corner lenses. Also, they tend to be a bit cheaper than later examples.
That’s once reason why you can find a cherry-looking specimen like this two-owner 500SL with barely more than 50k miles for just $7500. That’s a very good price for such a nice, all-original R129, especially one that has a lifelong history of dealer service, including most recently at 50k miles, according to the seller.
The 1992 model year was the last to use mechanical fuel injection (Bosch CIS), which can be a bit troublesome to work on, but notably does not suffer from the biodegradable wiring harness issue that plagues later versions (1993-95).
One thing to look out for would be the hydraulic folding top, which has cylinders that eventually need replacing. If that hasn’t already been done, count on a bill of around $2200 to have them all swapped out once they start leaking (or you can DIY for significantly less).
The seller reports that he needs this car sold by tomorrow (Oct 5), so if you’re interested, you should move on it quickly. We certainly don’t think it’ll last long at this price.
- 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL (R129)
- 52k miles
- 5.0 liter V8 engine (322 hp)
- 4-speed automatic transmission
- Arctic White on black leather
- for sale by owner for $7500
- Lakewood, Washington
- link to Autotrader listing HERE
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- Buying Guide: Mercedes-Benz SL-Class R129 Generation (1990-2002)
- Don’t Buy a Used Car Without Doing These 4 Things
- Buying a Car Out of State: When It Makes Sense and How to Do It