The SL series, short for “Sport Leicht” or “Sport Light,” has been an emblem of Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to excellence in engineering and design since its inception in the 1950s with the now iconic 300SL. Going on 71 years in production, the SL series has continued to evolve, with each new generation building upon the successes of its predecessors. By the time the 560SL was introduced in the late 1980s, the SL series had already firmly established itself as a symbol of luxury and performance. This lineage is carried on to the modern day, with the SL series still offering the same luxury and performance that the original cars did over 70 years ago.
The 560SL was the range-topping model for Mercedes-Benz in the 1988 production year. Part of the now iconic R107 series, the 560SL was only offered in North America, Canada, Japan, and Australia. Powered by a robust 5.6-liter V8 engine, the 560SL delivered a potent 227 horsepower, making it a joy to drive on both city streets and open highways. The car’s acceleration was smooth and effortless, and it featured a four-speed automatic transmission that ensured a comfortable and refined driving experience. The 560SL also benefits from the timeless design of the R107 series Benzs, with its sleek, aerodynamic body lines and distinctive round headlamps. Inside, the interior was a masterclass of comfort and craftsmanship, offering leather upholstery, wood trim, and a host of amenities that showcased Mercedes-Benz’s dedication to luxury and quality. The R107 series production ceased in 1988, with the redesigned R129 taking its place for the 1989 model year.
Even decades after its production ceased, the 560SL maintains a strong presence in the collector car world, and values for great examples have remained relatively high over the years. Furthermore, the 560SL was known for its robust construction and reliability, which means that many well-preserved examples can still be found on the road today, as long as proper maintenance was done throughout the car’s lifetime. The R107 series cars all retain great collectability, but the range-topping 560SL certainly draws the most desire from collectors. Pricing has seen a slow and steady rise over the years, with low-mileage cars finished in interesting colors and featuring proper service history bringing the strongest money. While there is little likelihood of pricing skyrocketing on these models, we see them as a safe bet for the future, as long as you do your due diligence on the car’s history and choose a good example with low miles and interesting colors, such as the example offered here.
This 1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL, chassis # WDBBA48D6JA088342, is a one-owner from new, extremely original, time-capsule example showing just 5,310 original miles. It features beautiful original Midnight Blue paint throughout the exterior and a wonderfully preserved Burgundy Leather interior. The car also includes its factory color-matched hard top that has never even been placed on the car!
According to the included original window sticker, this 560SL was sold new in 1988 through Estate Motors of Birmingham, Michigan, to its one and only owner, who has placed the car on consignment with us. The original suggested retail price when new was $63,410. The car has lived its entire life just up the road from the original selling dealer in Troy, Michigan, and it returned to the dealership when needed for service work. Service receipts are present from 1988, showing the car’s first service. General service receipts are available for the first few years of the car’s life, showing regular maintenance, but as with cars with mileage this low, there really is not too much to report.
The car was serviced regularly, with oil and fluid changes each year at the local Mercedes-Benz dealer, and was driven very sparingly with a CARFAX entry from September of 1997 indicating 4,400 miles on the odometer.
As it sits today, this is likely as close to purchasing a brand-new 560SL as one could hope to get 35 years later. This car has been maintained and protected impeccably and remains in absolutely outstanding original condition. With its low miles, excellent colors, and fastidious ownership, this truly represents the pinnacle of collectability for the R107 series Mercedes-Benz and would be an excellent cornerstone in any collection.
Included with the sale are the factory color-matched hardtop that has never been placed on the car, the original window sticker, available service records, clean CARFAX, factory books, and manuals, as well as the original hang tags for the car.
Body And Paint
The original Midnight Blue paint is in amazing condition, with a beautiful and consistent finish throughout the car. The metal is smooth everywhere you look or feel. The panels are straight and well-aligned with good gaps, and the body is straight down the sides. The accompanying hard top is just as nice and is believed to have never been used. Overall, this car presents exactly how you’d expect a 5,300-mile time capsule would.
Glass And Trim
The glass is all original, along with the trim. The glass presents in like new condition all around. The chrome brightwork all around the car is very shiny and clear. The rubber trim pieces are still a deep black with minor wear present but matching the originality of the car.
The wheels are free of any curb rash or scuffing and show virtually no signs of wear.
Seats And Surfaces
The seats are in very good condition, showing only very minor signs of wear from ingress and egress, but absolutely commensurate with an excellent original example. The original red carpet throughout the cabin displays wonderfully, fits as if new, and is free of staining or fading. The dash is in fantastic condition, with smooth clean wood, bright and clean gauges, and smooth issue free dash top. Overall the interior remains in wonderfully preserved condition, and it truly in astounding original condition.
Functionality And Accessories
All systems inside work as they should, including the power passenger side mirror, which is known to lose functionality. The A/C works as it should, as well as the radio and the cassette player.
ENGINE BAY AND TRUNK
The engine bay is incredibly clean. The paint surrounding the latches and hinges is unlike any 560 we have seen with no chipping or wear in these areas. All factory stampings and markings are still visible. All hoses and plastics are still deep black with no dryness or symptoms of cracking.
The trunk area is nice and tidy with the correct red carpets to match the rest of the interior. The spare is located underneath the carpet as well as the battery.
The underside is virtually spotless. There are 0 issues to note and is likely the cleanest undercarriage on a 560SL you will ever see. Factory VIN stickers all present in place and very legible.
The engine starts up quickly with no hesitation. Acceleration is strong and smooth with no hiccups or stumbles.
The transmission shifts quietly and peacefully through the gears and the only real indicator that the car is shifting is audibly.
Brakes And Suspension
The brake pedal is firm, and brings the car to a smooth and controlled stop. The suspension, while soft is very comfortable but sprung in a way that still feels sporty.
The tires are Pirelli P6 Cinturato and they are from 2018 with plenty of tread and great sidewalls.
The SL series has always provided an excellent balance of power and comfort and the 5.6 liter V-8 in the R107 560SL combined with the simple yet beautifully appointed interior certainly does not disappoint. These cars provide a wonderfully useable classic experience, with a supple and smooth ride and plenty of power to keep up with modern day traffic and cover mileage, whether it be on twisty back roads or long stretches of highway. This particular 560SL provides the unique experience of being able to purchase what aquits to essentially a factory fresh car. With just 5,310 miles from new and beautifully preserved exterior and interior, this could be considered a once in a lifetime chance to experience what driving off the lot with a range topping 560SL would have felt like in 1988.