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1981 Mercedes-Benz SL R107 With an Interesting Travel History Fails To Fire After 22 Years

Ever since Carl Benz patented the first ever Mercedes in 1886, the automaker has built a solid reputation as a symbol of luxury and class. Due to these reasons, the brand gets so much recognition regardless of its location on the globe. Jonny Smith of The Late Brake Show got wind of a 1981 Mercedes-Benz SL R107 survivor locked up in a UK garage not too far from where he was born and raised.
1981 Mercedes-Benz SL R107 9 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/The Late Brake Show
1981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R1071981 Mercedes-Benz SL R107
The Mercedes-Benz SL R107 is a two-seater V8 sports car with a detachable roof developed and produced by Mercedes-Benz between 1971 and 1989. According to experts, units from this era were regarded as the finest in robust German engineering and build quality.

The Mercedes-Benz R107 was perhaps the most extended single series ever produced by the Bavarian automaker after the G-Class under SL (R107) and SLC (C107) nameplates.

These nameplates were developed for the American market and came with specialized engines, bumper designs, headlights, and emissions management. About 204,373 units were sold in North America, of the total 300,175 produced.

Smith's find was an American model that had somehow found itself back in Europe. The owner's parents bought the 1981 Mercedes-Benz R107 380 SL while living in America in the 1990s.

According to Derrick, the owner, his mum always wanted the 'Dallas spec' SL, and in 1995, they found one for sale in a copy of Auto Trader.

In 1999, Derrick's parents moved back to Europe with their car and settled in Munich.

"In 2000, they moved to Brussels, and they took the car with them to Brussels, but then, they parked it in a garage, and basically it didn't move after that point," he explained.

His parents' car, a 1981 380 SL (3.8-liter V8), was the first year of the all-alloy V8. According to Smith, these vehicles came with a few issues.

Firstly, they weren't the most powerful (Euro Spec had a completely different engine). They also had a weak timing chain (single-row cam chain) and were prone to breaking down.

"The R107, such a legend, such a legend of a car, one of the best made Mercedes of all time, and shared a lot of bits with the 123," Smith said.

Smith and the owners tried to get it to run but failed. It's not a complete bust, the engine seems healthy. It turns but fails to fire.

We recommend catching the entire tour, issues starting it after a long time, and conversation about these 80s model Mercedes in the video below.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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