1974 Mercedes-Benz SL 450SL 4.5 Gas from North America
Luxury ride for 1/10 the cost!
When purchased, the vehicle had the following problems:
Broken front parking light lens;
Inoperative windshield washer
Inoperative cruise control.
The radio (original) is horrible as a tuner, sounds great as a cassette deck.
The odometer quit at 125599 miles.
I found this car for sale sitting along the road about 40 miles north of Chicago.
The paint and interior are original and flawless. The complete service history was with the car. The seller installed new spark plugs and wires, new tires, and filters, along with a new fuel pump.
My previous convertible was a 1973 Corvette, which I owned from 1977 to 1978. This is definitely not a Corvette; it's much, much better. As we have 3 more Mercedes sitting in our driveway, I know from experience that this is a much more reliable and better-designed car than the Corvette.
This is a very fast car. While not as fast as current models, it still has the acceleration that is absolutely exhilarating.
The seats are very comfortable, with ample padding and lumbar support. There is plenty of leg and foot room for the average driver. However, this car is not made for the very tall or very heavy person - there just isn't enough room.
The main drawback for 1974 cars made for the US market, no matter what the make, is the abysmal gas mileage. This model get about 9 to 10 mpg (urban).
In closing, if you want a SL and cannot aford the cost of a new one and can live without all the bells and whistles, this series is a great substitute. However, please bear in mind that although the purchase cost is low, repairs are not. Afterall, it is a Mercedes Benz.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd August, 2005
Addendum to Original Review:
I have now had the car about a year. During that time I had the car in the shop several times, mainly fixing what was not fixed by the previous owner.
Problems with the car so far:
Unable to open rear deck to raise/lower top - this repair cost over $500, mainly labor. The cables were adjusted and lubricated.
Radio stopped working - what I thought was the original radio turned out to be a replacement. This car came with a Becker Mexico AM/FM receiver. The original owner replaced it circa 1980 with a Blaupunkt AM/FM/Cassette. This radio was the first ever to have a cassette. I purchased a Becker Gran Prix off eBay as a replacement. The problem with the Blaupunkt turned out to be it became unplugged.
I repaired some rust over the left headlight and on the right fender. The area over the headlight had been previously repaired - with Bondo!!
Bushings and Motor Mounts - These were bad at time of purchase. I purchased all the front bushings, the steering stabilizer and motor mounts from autopartswarehouse.com (for less than my mechanic can with his discount at the Mercedes dealer). Total cost was $800. The old bushings were original to the car.
I put in a K&N air filter (bought locally for $61 - cost is much lower at autopartswarehouse.com). My gas mileage for the last tank with the new filter was 13 mpg.
The car runs great, although it occasionally will 'miss', which I think is because the car sat quite a while before I purchased it (it did not run for quite a while because it had a bad fuel pump).
Altogether I am very pleased with the car, the ride is superb, and the handling is excellent now that I replaced the bushings. Mileage is better than I expected, and I am ready to do some serious touring. At sometime in the near future I want to replace the top (original), as there are 2 small holes/tears on each side by the front.
BTW the color of my SL is Silver Green Metallic. Everybody stares at the car, whether or not it's moving.