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Grand Tourer with Vintage Flair: 1997 SL500 Sport

As the R129 continues to find its place in the current market we (collectively) seem to be growing numb towards some of the more common or “normal” color combinations. Although we’ve found several this year with odd options and pleasantly obscure factory colors, we’ve managed to find one that’s had some aftermarket upholstery work done and we’re not offended. This 1997 SL500 can be found here on Autotrader for a reasonable $7,900 and is currently showing 120k on the clock.

In looking at this R129, it’s immediately an attractive piece for daily use or weekend drives. The seller seems to be a broker or reseller of sorts noting that they acquired the car from the original owner. It’s finished in Brilliant Silver (722) and appears to be well optioned with a Sport Package (wheels, suspension, and AMG ground effects.) The Sport-specific AMG Monoblocks appear to be in nice shape although the photos show a mismatched rear wheel from the newer Sport model. The Monoblocks do seem to be original with no refinishing or cutting of the lip. The SL does appear to be sitting mildly lower than stock which leads us to wonder if aftermarket springs or different spring perches have been installed on this one- either way it isn’t offensively low and fits the look of the car well.

Jump to the interior and you’ll see why we’re drawn to this car. Sixteen photos into the listing, a shot of the cabin shows tailored houndstooth inserts on both the divers and passenger seats. The pattern had us but someone went through the trouble of retaining the original stitch pattern from OEM- We love the details. The owner has even managed to place a set of well-worn driving cloves on the center console for the photo. This pattern, although available in earlier cars in Europe, was not an option in the North American market but if a seat ends up torn or worn down, we can’t imagine many better ways to work in a retro-recover.

Altogether this SL500 presents itself quite nicely and appears to be well worth the asking price. Included with the car are receipts, books, keys, tool kit, and the original hardtop. The listing even mentions recent service that seems to be complete minus any details on the top mechanisms. That being said, this is a good deal even if the top becomes manual for weekends and you can locate a matching Monoblock.



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