Value of 1986 Mercedes 560 SL Convertible

I have a 1986 Mercedes 560 SL Convertible that I would like to sell and am having trouble coming up with a reasonable value for he car. KBB and other similar sites don’t go back that far and asking prices on Craig’s List and AutoTrader are all over the map. The overall condition of the car is fair. The exterior is free of dents but it could use paint and the clear-coat is flaking off in a few places. Also, the paint on the alloy needs to be redone. The interior is good except it needs a seat kit. There are a few splits in the seats and one of the seams has separated for a few inches. There are no major mechanical problems. Just the rough idle I mentioned in my previous question and the odometer quit working a couple of years back at 165,311 miles. I estimate that the current mileage is between 170K and 180K. There are also a couple of rattles when you hit a hard bump. I have had the AC converted to R134 and it blows cold.

Could any of you give me your thoughts on what would be a fair price for this car?

Check and compare asking prices for similar vehicles at

The real value of this, or any other car, is what someone is willing to pay for it.

On ebaymotors 560SLs in similar condition to yours get bid up to between around $3,000 and $5,000.

This is a great resource since it specializes in classic cars. I’ll be placing an ad with them as soon as I get some additional photos ready.


My latest copy of Hemmings shows that model ranging from $1500 (rough, for parts) to $38,000 in like-new condition, fully restored and show condition…

From what you describe yours need a lot of work and has high mileage, and I would guess somewhere between $1500 and $4500 according to Hemmings. Don’t count on getting any more. As others say, it’s what someone is willing to pay.

I tried to help a friend sell his 1973 SL hardtop/convertible with only 80,000 miles on it in mint condition and maintained by the dealer. That car would fetch about $15,000-$18,000 since it needed no work.

On classic cars you are basically paying for the restoration work done by the seller, unless the car has exceptionally low mileage and no restoration is needed.

Hope this gives you some perspective.

Unless it has been totally restored, an old MB - even a 560 SL - has very little reslale value - Why? because the mechanics charge $125 per hour, parts are EXTREMELY expensive, and almost every repair is labor-intensive. As my buddy, the owner of a auto recycling yard says: “Those old Mercedes Benz are ‘crushers’ - we crush them into blocks and send them to be melted down and made into Japanese cars!” However, a sometimes accurate source of value can be found at - just click on “classic” cars - a running vehicle (“daily driver”) is what you are describing - personally, I NEVER buy a vehicle with a broken speedometer/odometer because one can’t verify actual mileage - also, some sellers purposely disable the odometer, just for that reason. Again, as has been stated: a vehicle is worth what someone will pay for it.

I’ll give you $500 cash.

Check ebay, Hemmings, and autotrader.


This type of wholesale Benz bashing is not of much benefit to the OP. $125 per hour to work on an old Benz? WHERE? Independent mechanics usually run around $55 to $80 per hour, which is right on par with any other make. Parts are readily available for any vintage model.Mercedes supports their vintage cars better than any other make. Parts cost are right on the mark with other makes as well. The “labor-intensive” remark is also way off base. Vintage Mercedes’ are very straight forward cars to work on. Have you ever worked on sub-compact Asian cars or full sized domestic vans?

I would agree that that according to the OP’s description that the SL is probably in the $4000 to $6500 range depending on your local market.

If you want to improve the sales price, the first thing I would do is fix the ‘rough idle’. That would scare me as a prospective buyer.