7th Oct 2010, 11:37

To inspect your chain, open the oil fill cap on the passenger side cam cover. Using a flashlight and a dental mirror you can see the gears on the front of the cam shaft. If there are two, you have a duplex chain; if one, simplex.

The going price for these cars: 1981-1985 SL/SLC will be around $6-8000. Low miles is no indication of value; it only means the car was not driven. For a car this old, what is wanted is maintenance records.

No matter how well it has been maintained, some things are going to need to be replaced. Anything made of rubber or plastic will have aged, and there is a lot of each. The suspension is loaded with rubber components, essential. The vacuum system is critical as it controls the engine and transmission and it has a lot of plastic.

Replacing and repairing these items is not cheap. The whole front end will have to be disassembled; the drive train will have to be removed; the engine opened up. These heavy maintenance requirements are what keeps the prices down: the car is cheap to buy but expensive to operate.

However, new parts are widely available and if you are a DIY-er you can save a lot of cash. Once done, they're done.

I own a 1984 380SL which sat unloved for 6 years. I got it for free by inheriting it. After $8,000 in parts and $10,000 in labor over the last two years, I have a beautiful MB that runs and feels and looks like it is brand new. I feel I can put 50,000 miles on it with nothing more than oil changes.

So be aware of what you face when buying an old SL. They are strong enough to go 250,000 miles or more, but maintenance is the key. Get one cheap, put a little love in it, and you will have something really special, a car that brings joy wherever it goes.

11th Nov 2010, 17:52

I purchased a 1981 380 SLC about a year ago, and have put on it about 4,000 miles. I still LOVE it! A little slow on the acceleration, but once it reaches 2,500rpm, it just wants to go. GREAT car.

18th Apr 2011, 13:42

I work for the Salvation Army in Houston Texas and we just received a 1981 380 SLC in borderline fair condition with 160,000 miles. It runs, but looks like a restoration project.

I need help with pricing or any good information would be helpful. 713-425-8751.

12th Jun 2011, 22:39

Mine (81 380SLC) gives me 12 miles to the gallon in the city and about 19 on the highway.

15th Oct 2014, 02:45

I would like to know how much you paid for it? And how many miles it had when you bought it?

15th Oct 2014, 10:01

I am about to buy one, a 380 SL, that the guy says is in perfect shape, and all these comments have really been valuable, thank you all.

23rd May 2015, 03:39

I just bought a mint condition ivory on chocolate 1984 380 SL that reads only 52k on the odometer. I paid a little over $20,000, which I know is a little high. So many things to consider when buying a R107. Main considerations include miles, condition, interior/exterior colors, price, and whether it is a 450, 380 or 560.

My goal was to find a mint condition 560 SL with an attractive color combo with low miles for under $20,000. This was not easy, ended up settling on the perfect 380. It's no 560, but it really is fast enough. Thoughts?

30th Jul 2017, 05:53

Hi everyone, I've recently acquired an 81 380SLC, and it runs when pouring fuel into the engine directly from the injectors and it ran so wonderfully, but the actual fuel doesn't get to the engine from the tank, any help is appreciated.

I'm also curious what kind this car is, it has the USA headlights on it, however it's a factory right hand drive, and it's from Singapore. Is this a custom or something else?

I realised that this forum isn't used much, but hey, worth a shot! Also I'm in Australia if that makes a difference.

30th Jul 2017, 09:24

My thoughts are don't buy a high mileage SL. That's when you get rid of one. It costs an absolute fortune on maintenance, even just parts. It became a headache on repairs and emissions. I had one for 10 years that I bought in the mid 80s. I would much rather have the 8 cylinder, 2 top roadster. We also owned a sedan. It once had a 5k air conditioning repair. They were perfect cars in the excessive 80s period. Finding a low miles one may be hard after all these years. The hard top is a absolute real pain to put on I actually do not like these cars driving with the soft top too up or the hardtop on. It's even difficult for 2 installing. The rear side latches were hard to engage. I only put mine in a few times; it was that bad to do.

Performance is really lackluster, although cruising over the limit is fine. A solid, heavy feeling car.

I replaced the radio with a nicer aftermarket one. I went to the dealer for most things. Make sure everything works. As I remember it had a 10 quart oil pan. I remember 50.00 oil changes then.

All in all, looking back I kept this far too long. But liked the styling. My next convertibles were Corvettes. A much wiser purchase in my opinion with minimal repairs. A C5 Convertible used can be purchased today for under 20k. You may have to look a bit to find one really nice. Again, buy a low mileage example, well maintained. The costs of buying used is the cheap part. It's owning over time that adds up on these cars. And I think you would be far better off today looking at newer alternatives, if not a Corvette convertible. I don't want to take away the enthusiasm on ones wanting one. But I owned and spent a lot keeping it decent and able to pass inspections. And this was long ago now. They are only older with higher miles today.

31st Jul 2017, 09:16

Hi, there's probably a blockage somewhere in your fuel system. Have you had it serviced? The fuel filter would be my first suspect.

As for the headlamps - many Mercedes owners individualised their cars by buying parts that would bolt in easily and would make their cars look different from the usual - in this case, twin round US-market headlamps. Americans do the opposite at times when allowed within their state, they buy European headlamps.

31st Jul 2017, 17:59

I added the trunk 3rd light. Painted to match body color. Added painted body color body ground effects. Added newer rims. And an emblem. Made a 450 SL look like a 560SL. The car was newer then. Today I would find a cheap 560SL or not bother.