The Corpus Christi Old Car Museum Auction

Lot 70
1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL

Selling on Friday

1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL


• One of the finest GT cars ever produced
• Well-equipped with desirable features
• Includes hardtop, jack and tool roll
• A true modern classic Mercedes-Benz

3,839 cc SOHC V-8 engine, Bosch fuel injection, 155 HP at 4,750 RPM (SAE Net rating), four-speed automatic gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes; wheelbase: 2,460 mm (96.9”)

In 1971, Mercedes-Benz introduced the all-new 350SL as the replacement for its beloved and long-running 230/350/280SL, with the design internally designated Type R107. Design of the new car was executed by Bruno Sacco, who was also responsible for the design work on the Mercedes-Benz S-Class sedans of the 1970s. Somewhat larger and more rounded in its overall proportions than its predecessor, the resulting 350SL was based upon a steel unibody structure incorporated steel, rather than the aluminum body panels of the 280SL, along with a more luxuriously trimmed interior. Safety development extended to minute detail, with the R107’s uniquely ribbed taillight lenses designed to shed dirt and grime for enhanced visibility during the poorest driving conditions. As expected, Mercedes-Benz constantly refined and updated the R107-generation SL series, which remained in production for nearly 20 years in five variants. As always, Mercedes-Benz SL ownership clearly signified one had indeed “arrived” in life and this cachet continues unchanged today.

Introduced in 1980 and powered by a 3.8-litre V-8 engine equipped with single overhead camshafts per cylinder bank and Bosch fuel injection, the 380SL was re-equipped in September 1981 with a new all-aluminum small-bore, long-stroke engine of the same capacity, delivering significantly improved fuel economy at only a slight reduction in power. Performance was nonetheless maintained under normal driving conditions, while somewhat blunted in the more aggressive, high-speed part of the car’s performance envelope. Even the most detailed of period road-test reports on the updated 380SL were positive, even glowing.

Quite popular as the automotive object of desire for the most wealthy and discerning buyers and marque enthusiasts of the 1980s with 53,200 examples produced for 1980-85, the 380SL remains a great modern classic today. This driver-quality example remains quite clean throughout, notwithstanding scratches to the paint and brightwork, while the interior compartment appears gently used. In addition to an automatic gearbox, this 380SL is equipped with power brakes, power steering and air-conditioning, plus a hardtop. Inside the trunk are found the roadside jack and tool roll. Nicely equipped and just out of dry garage storage, this 1985 Mercedes-Benz 380SL represents the company’s premier sports tourer in American specification.

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