1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL LHD


  • Matching numbers all original car
  • Only two UK registered owners
  • Flagship 5.6-litre V8 was only available in the US for four years
  • Relacquered to a high standard
  • Owned by a collector with three other SLs and numerous other classics
  • In current ownership for six years

The Appeal

Produced for eighteen years, starting in 1971, the Mercedes Benz SL (R107) model was a huge hit with buyers, with the SL convertible outselling the SLC coupe by around four to one. It was offered with various V8 and V6 engines in Europe, but only America got the brawniest 5.6-litre V8 engine, which was only offered for the only ran for four years from 1986 until production ended in 1989.

This makes this particular car a highly desirable model and it has retained all its original US styling details except for the headlights (US lights can’t be used on UK roads due to the beam pattern being incorrect). As the US-spec bumpers, over-riders and tail-lights often got discarded as imported cars were converted to European-spec, this makes it highly collectable. The current owner is indeed a Mercedes collector and also owns three other SLs.

This particularly example has been meticulously restored and is a matching numbers original car.

The History and Paperwork

  • First registered in UK in 2016
  • V5C logbook in current owners name
  • Sympathetically restored with relacquered bodywork
  • All import paperwork included
  • Found in France in 2017 where an ex-pat had been using it

The current owner is a car and bike collector and also owns three other Mercedes Benz SLs. He found this example in Nice, where it had been used by British ex-pat who had exported it from the USA to the UK in 2016 (there is documentary proof of this). It was in farm yard condition when found as it had been languishing in a barn and the lacquer finish had deteriorated. But it was all original matching numbers car with the unusual US-market 5.6-litre V8 engine making it highly desirable.

It was brought back to the UK in 2017 and taken to a Mercedes SL specialist in Rotherham to be restored. They stripped the paintwork back to bare paintwork and then carefully refinished the original paintwork including under the bonnet and under the boot lid. All the paintwork was then protected with a pearlcut process to protect it from the elements.

The original interior was carefully cleaned and restored by an upholstery specialist.
Since the restoration work was carried out, the current owner has only averaged a few hundred miles a year (he has many other classic cars) and now feels that it’s time to thin down his fleet.

The Interior

  • Superb original caramel coloured leather trim
  • Walnut centre console replaced at vast cost
  • Comfortable original leather seats
  • Original black leather four-spoke steering wheel
  • Undamaged door cards trimmed in matching caramel

This is the golden era of Mercedes Benz and from the moment you swing open the stout doors, you know you’re enjoying a premium motorcar. The door shuts with a thunk and every switch, knob and control feels like it has been hewn from granite. The black leather steering wheel is a practical touch, while the caramel-coloured leather is a delight to sink into. The cab is spacious and comfortable – it feels more like a chair in a great house than a mere vehicle. Some cars have X-factor and feel special when you’re behind the wheel and this SL makes you feel like a proper Hollywood A-lister.

Both seats are in good order and appear to be free from rips, tears or marks.
Walnut lines the centre console and gearknob and flashes across the dash, while the dash itself is black to avoid windscreen glare. It has a couple of cracks in it due to the sun exposure.

The dials are crisply Teutonic and easy to read with the speedo going up to a heady 170mph. The owner notes that it under-reads slightly (as do his other SLs) by around 7mph at 70mph. No warning lights stayed lit after the engine smoothly fired up. The period Becker radio appeared to have a display issue.

An additional temperature gauge sits neatly in the centre binnacle and indicates in Fahrenheit hinting at this cars America origins.
Overall, it’s a special place to sit and condition of everything is just as you’d want it to be.

The Exterior 

  • Stunning paintwork
  • Even panel gaps and straight bodywork
  • Tail-lights original and all lenses appear fine
  • Headlights converted to UK-spec twin-lamp units
  • Original US-spec bumpers are highly sought after
  • Desirable US chrome arch finishers are original
  • Hard-top included (together with winch system for easy removal)
  • Soft-top in good order

The paintwork restoration work has been carried out to a high standard and the bodywork looks arrow straight with glossy sharp paintwork and precise panel gaps. The solid door shut with a proper thunk and both the boot and bonnet fit well. Even the front valance and rear valance are pretty spotless. The underside too, is in good clean condition with minimal trace of surface corrosion. It has clearly enjoyed a lot of time in warm climates and been garaged.

Unusually it still sports its original US-spec chrome bumpers – these were often removed for European ones and have now become rare and desirable – and these are both in excellent condition save for a small crease in the upper nearside edge of the front one. It’s hard to notice.

The wheels have been powdercoated and look sharp and are wrapped in a set of four matching Dayton Quadra LE tyres in 205/65R15 size (dated 2009). While the spare wheel was absent, there was an original tool roll in the boot.

All the lights are in good order, with fog and amber lights being fitted to the front. All the brightwork looks like new and the overall appearance is fabulous – it really does look like an expensive high-end vehicle and would be a proud addition to any collector’s fleet.

The Mechanics 

  • Range-topping Bosch fuel injected 5.6-litre V8 with 227hp
  • Four-speed automatic gearbox
  • Optional Mercedes factory-fitted cruise control said to work well
  • Electric antenna also fitted as an option by Mercedes
  • Said to drive well

During the restoration work, the engine and gearbox were serviced, while the suspension was treated to new bushes and the wheels were given new wheel bearings. It started easily for the photoshoot and moved around with ease.

The current owner points out that it drives really smoothly and is a delight to drive. He notes that the steering box would benefit from tightening and this was noted as an advisory on the last MoT. Any Mercedes specialist can adjust this. The is also a small chip on the windscreen, that was also noted as an advisory on the MoT.


This is the ultimate combination of GT car and comfortable convertible that can waft two people to a country hotel in great style and swallow all the luggage you’ll ever need.

The hard-top means it can be used all year round too, while that beefy V8 makes progress effortless. It’s all ready for your summer adventures.

Notice to bidders

This item is sold on an ‘As is Where is’ basis. The condition of this item is the opinion of the seller and may differ from your own opinion. Photos and listing descriptions are for guidance purposes only*.** Car & Classic do not warrant listing accuracy. Full inspection is recommended. Viewings are at the seller’s discretion. Buyer is responsible for delivery and collection of any item purchased.*

UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Car & Classic are run through an online HPI check. On the HPI report, this vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft. It is currently not covered by a finance agreement.

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1988
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 560SL
  • Colour Grey
  • Odometer 118,269 Miles
  • Engine size 5549
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Town Retford
  • Location Nottinghamshire
  • Country United Kingdom

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