Its predecessor R107 was produced for a proud 18 years. This made the shift to the SL of the R129 series in 1989 all the more striking. At its introduction in Geneva, the state-of-the-art car of its time seemed like it came from another galaxy. Many of its features being realized for the first time in automotive construction, such as the automatically extendable roll bar, were groundbreaking. It is hard to believe that the first cars of the fourth SL generation are already 30 years old. Thomas Hähnel, Head of Lorinser Classic and Head of Used Vehicle Sales, knows the model like the back of his hand: After all, the vintage car department of the well-known tuner of Mercedes cars has sold quite a number of these roadsters over the last years.
Hähnel considers the time ideal to purchase a good R129 for a fair price now: “The increase in demand is extreme since the prices are very affordable compared to alternatives like Mercedes R107 or Porsche 911.” He says that you can’t go wrong with a good R129 because a longterm increase in value is as good as certain. The car should, however, be in a good condition because repair work tends to get costly. But in fact, the vehicle is rather robust. “The R129 is of high quality and much more resistant to rust than its predecessor or even the W124 from the same period as the R129 itself. Only the axle rubber bearings are a well-know weakness,” Hähnel explains.
If you want to be on the safe side, you should buy from a Mercedes Classic partner. They offer high-quality vehicles which are checked and overhauled according to a clearly defined checklist. Lorinser Classic in Waiblingen near Stuttgart is one of only 46 car dealers in Germany with this quality label. The vintage car department – a real passion of Managing Director Marcus Lorinser – is also an ideal point of contact for restoration, maintenance and repairs. In 2019, many SL of the R129 series were available for sale there but quickly found their buyers. “Now is a good time to join in,” says Thomas Hähnel: “The prices only rise moderately because there are still enough vehicles coming to the German market.”
In his expert opinion, the 500 SL and 600 SL with 8 and 12 cylinders are particularly sought-after – or rather the SL 500 and SL 600, following the nomenclature of the early models. In terms of equipment, the limited series, such as the Final Edition vehicles, are particularly successful. Special extras like the glass hardtop or the AMG rims are appreciated as well. But no matter how you decide in the end: Compared to its predecessors, the R129 still offers a modern driving experience and a high level of comfort. This and its reliable technology are what make the roadster produced between 1989 and 2001 an everyday classic offering a lot of fun.
Details and order addresses at www.sportservice.lorinser.com.