2007 Shannons Melbourne Summer Classic Auction
1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL Convertible
Result: PASSED IN
This lot is no longer available
Since the legendary 300 SL of the Fifties, the concept of the SL - a powerful, two-seater sports car with every conceivable luxury feature and the added versatility of a removable hardtop that turned the car into a snug coupe in minutes - has been an overwhelming success, with no less than five generations produced over the past fifty years. Earning high praise when originally launched in April 1971, the W107 SL remained in production for the next 18 years, evidence that Stuttgart's designers had got it right. Nicknamed the Panzerwagen, the W107 saw the emphasis firmly on safety and it boasted a padded dashboard, fuel tank relocated to the boot inside the massively rigid bodyshell. The added weight was compensated for by larger and more powerful V8 engines sourced from the S-Class sedans and the new suspension system, with a trailing rear arm replacing the old swing axle, was a major improvement. The pinnacle of the W107's long and successful career was the 560 SL, produced between 1986 and 1989 in limited numbers. Featuring a powerful new all-alloy 5.5-litre V8 engine (the largest fitted to the SL) mated to the silky smooth four-speed automatic, the 560 SL may have looked externally similar to its predecessors - with only a chin spoiler, new alloy wheels and revised sill treatment - but underneath were numerous technological improvements including ABS brakes, revised suspension, the latest Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection and various interior upgrades. With vault-like build quality, the SL had matured into a well-sorted classic by the time the 560 SL was introduced and the car remains a superbly engineered, beautifully finished sports roadster today.