It’s not often we come across cars that have been in production for over 60 years, in fact there really aren’t that many models that last over 30, but the Mercedes SL is one of the few. There are now six generations of the SL which started with the iconic Gullwing 300 SL in 1954, but today we’re focusing on the Fourth Generation, the R129.
Production of the R129, a two-door roadster, spanned from 1989 to 2002, initially with three different engines to choose from; two 3-litre straight sixes and a 5-litre V8, the latter kicking out 322 horsepower, all joined by the 6-litre V12 in 1992 with 389hp. Mercedes refreshed the line-up in 1993 by bringing out the SL 280 and the SL 320 to replace the original three engines, and facelifted models were introduced in 1995 and 1998.
Initial reception to the car was good with many complementing the alluring styling which, 27 years later, doesn’t look out of place today. But that wasn’t all; the SL was a technological masterpiece with a wealth of new features previously unheard of, and it catapulted Mercedes well and truly towards the 21st Century. And the cost for all this back in the 90s? Upwards of £70,000.
Whenever a new Mercedes is launched we never have to wait long for AMG, their tuning division, to come out with a beefed up version. The R129 was no different, and AMG got their hands on it in 1991 initially producing the AMG 500 SL. Later in 1993, and once AMG had been acquired by Daimler-Benz, there were several more models produced by the company. The SL 55 and the SL 60 are the most common, but the incredibly elusive SL 70 AMG and SL 73 AMG were also produced, the latter containing an engine which Italian manufacturer Pagani would one day make use of in their outrageous hypercar, the Zonda.
So would we consider this GT roadster a decent investment today? If the continually rising prices of previous SL generations are anything to go by, definitely! But let’s take a closer look.
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