Which models of the Mercedes Roadster made from 1987 - 1993 are the best models in terms of quality and performance? I am considering one of these for a weekend/light travel fun car, and I don’t know much about them. I like the late 80’s classic styling, but the 90’s models are very modern and sleek. Which series and years are the most desirable and why? Thanks!
It depends on what you’re looking for and where your taste runs.
The 107 chassis SL’s body style ran from 1972 to 1989, and did indeed have classic styling. The years 1987-1989 would be the 560SL with the 5.6 liter V-8 engine. Most all of the quirks and bugs are worked out of a chassis after a 17 year run, so the 560SL is a pretty safe choice.
The 129 chassis SL’s that followed gave you a choice of a six cylinder or a V-8.
You limited your years of choice to 1993, but in 1994 the 129 chassis received many updates and improvements, one of which was the V-12 engine. If I was going to look at the 129 chassis I think I’d start at the model year 1994 and up.
Overall with the model year choices you give,I’d give the nod to the older and more classical style of the 560SL, mainly because it’s better to buy a car at the end of a production run that one that is in it’s first few years.
Whichever way you decide to go make sure and do your homework. Buy the best possible example you can afford, not a fixer upper. Maintenance records are a must, as is a pre-purchase inspection by someone who knows Mercedes.
It’s all a matter of personal preference. To me, there is no more classic design than the 113 chassis, known as the pagoda, and built from 1963 thru 1971. It also happens to be much more collectible than either the 107 or 129. It was produced in three engine sizes, all inline sixes, and can be had with either 4-speed or 5-speed manual or automatic trans. In the age range you mentioned, I’d go for the late 80’s 560SL.
Okay, I located a clean 91 300SL and also a 95 model. I also found an immaculate 1989 model (560SL). I like the styling of the '89, but I have a BMW from the same year-- and the car I have does not feel like a modern BMW – but it is fun to drive. I like the 91 300 but it has high mileage – but looks incredible and very modern and luxurious compared to the '89. If the cars are comparable in care and condition, what are the deciding factors in what I should purchase? Thanks!
Factor #1 to me would be a fully-documented maintenance history, ‘by-the-book’. How is the '95? Which engine. I would avoid any V12s, BIG maintenance and repair $$.
Mid 90s had wiring harnesses that were susceptible to deterioration.