1986 Mercedes-Benz 560SL Convertible
Starting with the legendary Gullwing of the 1950s, the SL has been the most sporting model in the Three-Pointed Star’s range for more than six decades, combining luxury and high performance in a stylish package that continues to set the benchmark today. Stuttgart’s engineers developed a replacement for the popular second generation ‘Pagoda’ SL through the late 1960s, launching the R107 to high praise in April 1971 and it remained in production for a remarkable 18 years. Nicknamed the Panzerwagen due to its massive strength, the R107 saw the emphasis firmly on safety, with a padded dashboard and the fuel tank relocated to the boot inside the massively reinforced body shell. Larger and more powerful V8 engines sourced from the S-Class sedans compensated for the weight gains while a new suspension system featuring a trailing rear arm was a major improvement over the old swing axle design. A major update was carried out across the R107 range in 1980, with a new generation of alloy V8s that were lighter, more fuel efficient and developed more power. Another big improvement was a new, more efficient four-speed automatic transmission using a torque converter instead of the older fluid coupling. The pinnacle of the W107's long and successful career was the 560 SL produced between 1986 and 1989. 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 setting the new model apart - but underneath there were numerous technological improvements including ABS brakes, revised suspension, the latest Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection and various interior upgrades. The R107 range offers the perfect classic roadster experience for those not wanting to compromise on safety or luxury features. Reliable, beautifully made and with a style only Mercedes-Benz can truly capture, the 560 SL makes perfect sense as a classic that can be enjoyed on a daily basis.