1988 Mercedes-Benz 560SL (LHD)


  • Ex-California car
  • Desirable period colour combination of Signal Red with Palomino Tan interior
  • 5.5L V8 paired with automatic transmission

The Appeal

The 560SL, launched late in 1985, was the latest offering from Mercedes’ much loved luxury sports cars that branched from the original 280SL/SLC from 1971 on the R107 chassis. This one, the 560SL, was specifically designed to compete within the North American market which desired a more powerful option. Thus, the 5.5L V8, producing nearly 230 horsepower and almost 290 ft.lbs of torque, was introduced to the chassis to satisfy the Americans.

In addition to the upgraded power plant, Mercedes also supplemented the additional power with improvements to the running gear, with upgraded suspension, a limited slip differential, and updated steering geometry. Not all of the improvements made were simply mechanical; as the interior was further refined to include standard offerings of leather upholstery, leather trimmed steering wheel and shift lever, and an improved air conditioning unit. 

The History and Paperwork

  • Ex-California car
  • Dry stored since 2019
  • Owner states full specialist servicing over course of their ownership

This lovely example was imported in 2017 from California. It’s in an original spec, unmodified and showing little signs of wear for the mileage driven. The car has been dry stored and driven less than 1,000 miles since the current owner purchased it in 2019. The body work and paint are in excellent condition, and the car in general is in above average condition for its age. The car is currently carrying American-style bumpers and trim. 

The Interior

  • All-original interior
  • All electrical equipment said to be in working order
  • Stunning veneer panels 

Upon sitting inside this one, you’ll instantly note the top-spec materials used in the design of the interior. The interior is well designed and planned, with everything being within easy reach and operation of the driver. It does feel like an ‘80s car, in the best possible way. It presents as a more timeless design which one certainly wouldn’t grow tired of using, even in a daily-driver capacity. 

The interior shows little sign of wear and tear, and it is complete and all-original. While there are some scuffs and wear on the seats, it’s certainly not heavy enough wear to warrant any complaints. 

The headlining is in near-perfect condition. The door panels and interior trim are equally gorgeous. However, there is a small puncture in passenger’s side door upholstery, see photos of that. 

The current owner also assures us that all of the electronics are in working order. All windows operate smoothly, air conditioning works well, and the radio still works. 

The boot is very spacious and tidy, with all the carpets and hardware in good condition. There is, however, a small spill stain which shows in the photos.  

The Exterior 

  • Very straight body 
  • Paint and brightwork in incredible condition for age
  • Desirable period colour combination of Signal Red with Palomino Tan interior
  • Hard top in excellent condition

The exterior of this Merc is in above average condition for its age. While there are a couple of light scratches and chips from the road, these issues are nothing major to note. The paint remains glossy, the chrome bumpers are all in great condition, aside from a small dent as pictured near the front license plate bracket. 

The window glass is in good condition, rather tidy with the small chips expected from normal use, but nothing larger than a small stone impact.

The wiper trim, rubbers, and exterior plastics are all intact, with the body trim and rubbers in a good and functioning state as well.  There are some scuffs on the black plastic bumper ends as pictured, clearly doing their job over the years… 

The headlight and taillight lenses are clear, and the indicator lenses show no hint of fogging often associated with a car of this age. 

The hard top is in extraordinary condition, with all fittings present and a flush seating. We’re told the soft top is in equally good condition and all operations are smooth, as to be expected from Mercedes.

The original wheels are perfectly fine but could benefit from a refurbish, as there are some scratches and the paint on the centre caps is cracking up a bit as pictured. 

The Mechanics 

  • 5.5L V8 sounds smooth and pleasant
  • Around 230 bhp standard
  • Automatic transmission shifts fluidly
  • Owner states it runs well and accelerates perfectly

The current owner reports the car to be in excellent mechanical condition with steering, brakes, engine, drivetrain and running gear performing as well as it should, and better than expected for the age. The automatic transmission connects smoothly into all gears, and the power is excellently balanced for the vehicle. 

The engine is solid and has been maintained regularly at specialty service garages while under the care of its current owner. As far as we can see, there has been absolutely no modification to any factory components, and it looks to be in a clean and tidy condition. The owner states there are no leaks, smoke or abnormal noises to report. 

Owner states the vehicle drives straight, stops straight, and handles just as it should for a Mercedes’ luxury sportscar. 


It’s a convertible luxury sports car, from the golden era of convertible luxury sports cars. And in addition to that, it’s bright red and absolutely packed with chrome. If that doesn’t make enough of a statement, you’ll have to don your turtleneck or padded shoulders, secure your big hair, and put the top down. 

If you’re looking to be transported back to 1980’s Hollywood in this ex-California car, you will absolutely not be disappointed. It’s essentially three cars in one, hard top, soft top, and no top. You’ll never get caught out in the rain, and you’ll always be having a good time. 

Notice to bidders

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 1988
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model 560 SL
  • Colour Signal Red
  • Odometer 123,393 Miles
  • Engine size 5547
  • Town Harpenden
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location Hertfordshire
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
42 bids
  • st•••• £20,000 07/08/22
  • mo•••• £17,750 07/08/22
  • m-•••• £17,500 07/08/22
  • mo•••• £17,250 07/08/22
  • m-•••• £17,000 07/08/22
  • mo•••• £16,750 07/08/22
  • m-•••• £16,500 07/08/22
  • mo•••• £16,250 07/08/22
  • m-•••• £16,000 07/08/22
  • mo•••• £15,750 07/08/22

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