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1982 mercedes 500sl

May buy this car, but have some concerns. It is a “grey market” import from Canada, so it does not have a US vin that would allow me to do full research. Seller says it has 67k original miles, and it looks great (flawless body and near-perfect interior with both tops in great shape). HOWEVER, he says the transmission “shifts funny” (automatic) and will sometimes “race up”. He said he thinks the problem is simply a shift module or a vacuum hose. Any thoughts as to this? Any thoughts on this make/model? Thanks!
(If it matters, i could probably get it for less than $6k).

I’d avoid a grey market car. Why buy a headache? There are plenty of 560SLs available.

And a mystery transmission problem would have me running away, FAST! It’s NEVER ‘simply a shift module or a vacuum hose.’ If it was that easy to fix, the seller would have done so.

And what if the seller is wrong about the transmission problem? If it were that simple to fix, why hasn’t he fixed it?

This could become a bottomless money pit.

I’d find one with no known issues, preferrably in the US.

Is this going to be a hobby car, or a daily driver? No 30-year-old car is reliable, and when the SL breaks, break out your wallet…

just a fun weekend car.

It won’t be much fun sitting on the side of the road needing a new transmission. If it shifts funny and races up, it’s slipping, which probably means it’s getting ready to die.

OK, then look around for a 560SL with everything working. You’ll need to have it checked out thoroughly by somebody who knows Mercedes before you buy.

Odds are the seller knows the transmission is on the way out, doesn’t want to foot the tab, and is playing dumb by palming this off as something minor.

Doing something like this is not a rare thing at all.

So how much would a new tranny cost? If that could be factored into the price, then it may still be worth it given its condition and apparantly low miles.

Not a good idea, you’ll still have the grey market issues (more difficult parts acquisition) to deal with - why not get one without issues? Trannys are $$$$.

Also, is this already registered in the US? If not, forget about it.

it has been registered for some time (it was assigned a VIN by the state of washington)

take it to an experienced transmission mechanic or MB shop for a prepurchase inspection. They should be able to tell you what it needs and how much it will cost to set right.