2021 Shannons Spring Timed Online Auction
1998 Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 Convertible
|Colour||Brilliant Silver Metallic|
This lot is no longer available
Ever since the launch of the legendary 300 SL ‘Gullwing’ in 1954, the Sport Leicht series has been Mercedes-Benz’s flagship sports car, from the fabulous ‘Pagodas’ of the 1960s to the long-running W107 range of the 1970s and 1980s. The fourth-generation SL, dubbed the R129 in Stuttgart’s coding system, was unveiled to a rapturous reception at the 1989 Geneva Motor Show, combining fresh, aerodynamic styling with high-tech luxury and safety features. Developed and tested with typical Germanic thoroughness, a major feature of the new SL was the innovative new automatic roll bar, activated in a split second in the event of a rollover and one of the first seen on any passenger car. The folding roof was powered by an electro-hydraulic system for the first time, activated at the touch of a button and taking just 30 seconds to raise or lower, while every SL was supplied with a removable aluminum hardtop, complete with heated rear glass. The R129 SL line-up initially consisted of two models, the six-cylinder 300SL and range-topping 500SL, the latter powered by a 32-valve, DOHC V8 motor. The R129’s suspension was all-new, combining a sophisticated five-arm multi-link set-up at the rear with an Adaptive Damping System, while ABS was now standard on both models. The interior was suitably well appointed, with standard luxury features like leather upholstery, airbags, electric seats, automatic climate control and a Bose sound system, along with electric windows and even a wind deflector. Updated in 1995, side airbags and a new five-speed electronic automatic transmission were adopted, along with body coloured bumpers and new side vents. A second facelift occurred towards the end of the R129’s production run, including the new M113 V8 engine, soft Nappa leather seats and a new steering wheel design. Various body and interior details were updated, including 17-inch wheels as standard, along with novel features like the “Tip Start” one-touch start procedure. The R129 SL represents excellent value but prices have also begun climbing in recent years, as collectors finally begin to appreciate the virtues of this sophisticated sports roadster.