It does not take an automotive genius to know that Mercedes vehicles are indeed expensive. And when you get into exclusive models like the classic SL, the price can really accelerate!
I recently did articles on the 2012 Mazda MX-5 Miata and 2012 Honda S2000 roadsters. These are some of the best top-down vehicles at any price. However, you might want a convertible with some good old fashion chrome and appreciation possibility. Therefore, the focus of this article is on the 1963-1971 (second generation) Mercedes SL.
So what does the classic (W113) 63-71 Mercedes SL Roadster have to offer?
The SL of these years included three mechanical fuel injected engines that overlapped during some years. From 63-67 powerplant is a 2.3-liter inline six-cylinder providing 170 hp and 159 ft. lb. of torque. From 66-68 the mill is a 2.5-liter inline six-cylinder delivering 170 hp and 173 lt. lb. of torque. And from 67-71 the engine is a 2.8-liter six-cylinder making 180 hp and 193 lt. lb. of torque.
The transmissions include a four or five-speed manual gearbox or a four-speed automatic. Depending on the engine and transmission combination, the SLs 0-60 mph time is in 10 to 11 seconds.
On the exterior the Mercedes SL Roadster has presence combined with class. In addition to the soft-top, there is a good looking hardtop.
At the front this classic Mercedes windshield is fairly upright. The hood is broad, has V shaped character lines at the center and slopes down at the front. The front fenders are rounded at the top and provide a pleasant looking contrast with the hood. The headlights are round chrome ringed units with large turn signal indicators directly below. The grille is a large good looking oblong shaped unit outlined in chrome. A thin chrome bumper is positioned below the grille.
From the side the upper area of this Mercedes is quite flat. There is a character line just above the door handle that runs the length of the car. The door handle is an all chrome push button piece. Chrome ringed reflectors are in both the front and rear fenders. The lower part of the door has some sharp looking detail work in addition to a chrome strip. Overall, it is a clean but elegant design.
At the rear this Mercedes has a fairly long but very flat trunk. The edge of the trunk includes a sophisticated angle. The large Mercedes symbol, a horizontal strip, taillight surrounds, gas cap as well as a two piece bumper are all done in chrome.
On the interior the Mercedes SL contains quality materials that are luxurious as well as elegant. The steering wheel is large by today’s standard. The front bucket seats are wide and comfortable. As this Mercedes is a two seater, there is good legroom. The rounded dash is not very deep and thus adds additional interior space. The gauges consist of a large round tachometer on the left and a speedometer on the right. In between the tachometer and speedometer is a rectangular unit that provides fuel and water temperature readings. A partial center console with an arm rest sets back a few inches from the automatic or standard shift lever.
The brakes are discs at the front and drums at the rear for the 63-66 230 model. The car gained discs at all four corners (10 inch front and 9 inch rear) for the 250 and 280 (67-71) models.
The suspension at the front consists of double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar. The setup at the rear includes trailing arms, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers and an anti-roll bar.
The fuel rating for the Mercedes SL Roadster is 22-25 mpg on the highway.
On the road this Mercedes provides acceptable acceleration and good ride quality. This roadster is available in an automatic or manual transmission. Best of all, this classic Mercedes is luxurious as well as elegant and it has the ability to appreciate in value.
As always, before you buy any used vehicle, it is advised that the car is inspected, put on a lift and test driven by a qualified mechanic who if familiar with the classic Mercedes SL.
The Mercedes SL Roadster is a special and timeless classic indeed!
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.” His automotive site: www.DriveTheBestBook.com includes an exclusive article just for you, additional car articles, information about Kyle Busch and his 510,000 mile car, and you can even submit your automotive questions and get expert answers. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.