1979 Mercedes-Benz 350 SL (R107)


  • Desirable V8 model
  • Hard-top and soft-top
  • Tasteful interior in blue and wood
  • ULEZ compliant

The Appeal

The 350 SL is a particularly interesting and sought-after model in the lengthy oeuvre of R107 roadsters. The R107-series of Mercedes-Benz’s SL line famously ran for a very long time, with a wide variety of specs offered over its many years.

The model was launched in 1971, and this particular car was made in 1979. The fact of being a 350 makes it particularly interesting; this was a European configuration (in the USA, for example, launch models were all 450 SLs, whereas the version powered by the 3.5-litre V8 was available here from the very start). This, then, is a car with all the early hallmarks – in addition to the engine, Series One cars are identifiable by the absence of the chin spoiler among other detail changes.

This is a car which has sat in stasis for some time, waiting to have new life breathed into it. It’s a complete and running-and-driving entity, with its factory hard-top present and a desirable interior/exterior colour combo. Combing through the MOT history, we can see that it’s been sporadically tested over the last couple of decades (in 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2016) but the mileage has barely risen at all in this period.

Evidently a car that’s been stored with the intention to one day use again, it’s clearly been decided that it’s time for it to move on to a new keeper who will give it the love it deserves. There are a few jobs to be carried out in order to get it tip-top, the first of which ought to be a proper professional tuning of the K-Jetronic system, along with some minor cosmetics. But what you’re really looking at here is a whole load of potential – and crucially, it drives, with the engine pulling strongly, the transmission shifting cleanly, and all of that old-school R107 charm keenly in evidence.

The History and Paperwork

  • Correct UK V5

The Interior

  • Desirable colour scheme
  • Small-diameter wood-rim steering wheel
  • Kenwood stereo

The cabin of this SL is complete, and is in largely original specification throughout. The seats present well with no obvious tears or damage, and just a little wear to the bolsters; the seat trim is a desirable colour scheme, and with a steam clean the centres should come up beautifully.

The dash is good with no cracks to the top, and the wood trim is largely decent aside from an area of lacquer peel in the centre console. There are one or two bits of loose trim under the dash, but these should be easy to reaffix. 

The steering wheel is a small-diameter item in polished wood, and the car has been fitted with an aftermarket Kenwood stereo system with removable facia.

Inside the boot we find the correct carpets and spare ‘Mexican hat’ alloy wheel.

The Exterior

  • Hard-top and soft-top
  • ‘Mexican hat’ alloys

The elegant silver body is complemented by the factory hard-top, which is in decent order with a tidy headlining. All of the light lenses are complete and the bumpers are straight.

The car wears a tasteful set of ‘Mexican hat’ alloy wheels, which are well presented and free from kerbing, although the tyres are rather perished and would benefit from replacement. The soft-top, we suspect, hasn’t been used very much; it's in decent condition with no obvious holes or damage to the window panes.

The soft top raises and lowers freely and latches correctly. (As you can see in the photos, as soon as we lowered the roof it started snowing – fear not, we put it back up again quick-smart!)

The body does appear to be reassuringly solid – we can see a little bit of bubbling starting to appear beneath the paint on the bootlid and above the headlight on the driver’s side wing, but on the whole it presents well. 

The Mechanicals

  • Desirable V8 drivetrain
  • Running and driving

The 350 SL features the revered M116 3.5-litre engine mated to a three-speed torque-converter auto, and this is - on paper - a robust and trustworthy mechanical package. A handy 197bhp and 211lb.ft were on offer from this muscular engine when it was launched, delivered with smoothness through the silky-shifting ’box.

This particular engine will take a little fettling from a specialist to get it up to that proper level; it’s most likely that the K-Jetronic system needs tuning in order to get the car running sweetly. At present it’s a running-and-driving entity, and we did take it on a successful test-drive which proved that the engine pulls strongly and the transmission shifts correctly.

Being the robust M116 motor – which is a widely respected unit – this should hopefully be simple to remedy, as it’s a characterful V8 that’s well worth saving.


The R107 SL has enjoyed an enduring appeal across the generations, and they’re still remarkably popular today. This makes sense when you consider the complete package: it’s got all the touchpoints of a bona fide classic car, but the quality of the construction and engineering is such that you really can use them every day.

The SL we have here would benefit from a little attention here and there, but that is what’s going to make it such a good buy: saving the money in the purchase price and diverting funds to fix these niggles will leave the buyer with an early R107 in a very pleasing colour scheme with the unusual 350 engine – it’s got good bones and would make for a lovely cruiser with a lot of heart.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1979
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 350 SL (R107)
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 102,990 Miles
  • Engine size 3499
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Trade
  • Town Wandsworth
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
23 bids
  • Ri•••• £8,800 21/03/23
  • lt•••• £8,700 21/03/23
  • Ri•••• £8,600 21/03/23
  • lt•••• £8,500 21/03/23
  • Ri•••• £8,400 21/03/23
  • lt•••• £8,300 21/03/23
  • Ri•••• £8,200 21/03/23
  • lt•••• £8,100 21/03/23
  • Ri•••• £8,000 21/03/23
  • Ri•••• £7,900 21/03/23

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