2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrow


• Fantastic Condition
• Number 12 of only 100 in the UK
• Winning Show Car

The Background

The 4973cc, R129 Mercedes-Benz SL500 carried on the tradition of the fast and reliable grand touring convertible from Mercedes-Benz. Born out of the earlier 500SL models, the new SL500 featured many new and innovative ideas for the time such as controlled electronic damping, automatically expanding roll over bar and a more modern multi-link rear axle.

A special edition of 2001 SL500 and SL600 was made to celebrate the 1930's Silver Arrow race car. It had a two-tone interior, leather on steering wheel and seats, and special wheels. Built mainly for the US market, right hand drive SL500 Silver Arrow models are rare; with only a hundred made for the UK market.

The Mercedes-Benz SL500 Silver Arrow Limited Edition offered here is one of the 100 UK supplied cars and was first registered in September 2001. Specification highlights include factory panoramic removable hardtop, climate control, cruise control, 18” alloy wheels, electric seats with memory, heated seats, CD auto-changer and wind-deflector.

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The History 

This magnificent SL was first delivered to Mercedes-Benz Cheltenham & Gloucester in 2001. In 2015, the current owner bought the car from well regarded Mercedes-Benz specialist, Charles Ironside. Since then, the car has been regularly maintained by Robin Lamb Ltd, a well-known Mercedes-Benz specialist again in Gloucester.

Over the course of the following twenty years, this rare and desirable version of the R129 has been used sparingly, and as such currently shows just 32,940 miles. Or, to look at it another way, around 1,600 miles per year. This is, make no mistake, a very rare opportunity. 

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The Paperwork 

The car comes with the original V5, the handbook, spare key and service book that shows initial main dealer servicing followed by regular maintenance care of Robin Lamb Ltd, as we mentioned earlier. The paperwork also includes every previous MOT for the SL, including the current certificate which is valid until November 2022. Then of course, we have the all important certificate that serves to confirm that this is number 12 of 100. Oh, and it just so happens to be signed by none other than motor racing legend, Sir Stirling Moss. That alone should be enough to send your bidding finger into action! 

Then, as a final and welcome flourish to what is already an impressive collection of paperwork, we have a winner's trophy for the 2018/19 Mercedes Club R129 National Day at Sywell, at which this very R129 won Best in Class for models 1996-2002. It's not every day you're presented with the chance to own a legitimate, award-winning car. 

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The Interior 

As you open the door you are greeted by a sea of high-quality Designo leather trim, including fully electric, heated seats, which are in very good condition, there are of course some light marks on the driver's bolster, but nothing of any significant concern. Though do please consult the photographs. The leather steering wheel is also in great condition, while the leather interior continues into the back seats, which look like they have never been sat on.

The door cards are in excellent order, as are the kick-plates and carpets. The dash is bright, clear and free from any wear or damage and as such, the cabin feels fresh and welcoming. It's all tight, solid and every bit as luxurious as a good Mercedes-Benz should be.

The centre console houses the switchgear for the heated seats, electric folding wing mirrors, wind deflector, boot button and most importantly the Silver Arrow markings on the tray in front of the gear knob. The radio and air-conditioning finishes off a simple, yet elegant cockpit. The car also comes with cruise control and speed limit control. The vendor assures us that everything functions as it should, and that there is nothing for lucky new owner to be aware of.

Finally, there is the roof. The electric folding roof is in exceptional condition and functions as you would expect. No untoward noises, nor any hesitation from the mechanism that raises it. Then we have the panoramic removable hard top. This is, owing to the large amount of glass, a tow-man job to remove and refit. However, once in place, it transforms the car into a proper coupe, but one with a pleasing sense of space thanks to all the light flooding in. The roof itself comes with a stand for storage.

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The Exterior 

The first thing you notice of the exterior is, of course that famous Silver Arrow Silver, a tribute to the iconic racers of the '30s. The Silver Arrow R129 was more than just a lick of paint and a commemorative badge, it offered a comprehensive specification resulting in what is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing R129s of all. Which is quite the achievement, given how beautiful the R129 was to start with. However, thanks to a 'less is more' approach by the designers of the Silver Arrow, they managed to refine it even further. Impressive.

We would once again encourage you to pore over the images. Do so, and you'll see how arrow (no pun intended) straight this car is. The silver paint is in exceptional order across the car with only a couple of small forward stone chips to be aware of. Panel gaps across the car are all uniform, there isn't so much as a whisper of any damage or evidence of the car ever having been in a bump. It's a glorious celebration of just how good a low-mileage car should be. Pop it in a time machine, send it back to '01 and nobody would question it.

The lights are all bright and clear, the glass too. The gorgeous model-specific split-rim alloys are all in wonderful condition and all wear excellent condition tyres. In fact, two new rear tyres were fitted last year and, given the low use of the car, are still pretty much new. Again, please study the pictures. You'll soon find yourself falling for this magnificent machine.

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The Mechanics 

The car has been maintained to the high-standard that you would expect of a car like this. The mileage is under 33,000 which means this car has covered, on average less that 1,600 miles a year since it left the factory. There are examples of these cars with well over 150,000 miles on the roads and still for sale these days, which shows how much life is still in this wonderful engine. This car isn't even close to being broken in. It has, literally, hundreds of thousands of miles of life left within it. 

We were able to experience the car out the road, and we can gladly confirm that the car runs and drives as you would anticipate. No untoward noises, no hesitance, no issues with temperature. Instead, we have a glorious, soulful sounding V8 that seems to have unending grunt, the transmission shifts cleanly and clearly, with no faltering. In sport mode, the SL does the impossible and becomes even quicker, with sharper changes and a deeper push into the rev range.

The suspension is excellent, the steering is sharp and direct without being heavy. The chassis is communicative, but without leaning to hard into being sporty. This is a GT car, not a track animal. And as such, it errs on the side of comfort and refinement. However, press on and puss it hard and you're reward with grip and surefootedness. It's a cruiser when when you want it to be, but it can be a bruiser if you so desire! 

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The Appeal 

What to say about this 5.0 V8 engined, 2-seater, Convertible with a Unique Colour and Interior, together with a certificate of authentication from Sir Stirling Moss… it doesn’t come much better. The ‘Silver Arrow’ was strikingly distinctive with the 777 Silver paintwork, chrome-sheen aluminium exterior trim, special wing badges, full AMG body styling, split-rim alloy wheels and polished steel exhaust tailpipes. It's a bold, standout car, but one that doesn't shout about it. It's refined, sophisticated and elegant. Not unlike Moss, come to think of it.

The authenticity is obviously such an important part of this car. It’s a joy to look at and be in. It highlights how well these cars were made, as it is very easy to forget that this car is 20 years old. It's only due to the odd stone chip on the bonnet and lower bumper that you realise the car has done 30,000 miles. Its charming and certainly a modern classic, that, should you want too, could very easily and comfortably be a daily driver. 

As mentioned previously, the exclusivity of this car along with the very low mileage for the year is a huge selling point. You will be hard pushed to find another limited edition SL finer than this, not least one as well looked and with such low mileage. Whether you want this to drive, or if you want it to add to a collection, the fact remains that this not an opportunity that is likely to present itself again. Miss out on this and you may well miss out completely. Can there be another as good?

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.*

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Vehicle specification
  • Year 2001
  • Make Mercedes
  • Model SL Class
  • Colour Silver
  • Odometer 32,960 Miles
  • Engine size 4973
Auction Details
  • Seller Type Private
  • Location London
  • Country United Kingdom
Bidding history
24 bids
  • ko•••• £46,000 25/11/22
  • ja•••• £45,999 25/11/22
  • ja•••• £45,750 25/11/22
  • ko•••• £45,500 25/11/22
  • ja•••• £45,499 25/11/22
  • ja•••• £45,250 25/11/22
  • ko•••• £45,000 25/11/22
  • ja•••• £44,999 25/11/22
  • ja•••• £44,750 25/11/22
  • ko•••• £44,500 25/11/22

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