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The Mercedes SL R129 and how to drive a car that pays for itself

Cars lose cash. As a normal rule that’s true, with depreciation consuming up 1000’s of kilos of the cost you paid.

However, it doesn’t have to be the case. Savvy patrons can pick out up automobiles that would possibly now not handiest retain their worth, however may well be offered for extra down the road. Get fortunate, and the upward push in worth will duvet the price of motoring over your possession duration.

In our new Cash Cars column Tony Middlehurst seems to be for fashions that would possibly have compatibility the invoice. In this one it’s the Mercedes-Benz R129 SL… however first meet Uncle Bob.  

The Mercedes-Benz SL of the 1990s was codenamed the R129 and is quietly starting to command attention as a modern classic - which could mean appreciation and free motoring

The Mercedes-Benz SL of the 1990s was codenamed the R129 and is quietly starting to command attention as a modern classic - which could mean appreciation and free motoring

The Mercedes-Benz SL of the 1990s used to be codenamed the R129 and is quietly beginning to command consideration as a fashionable vintage – which might imply appreciation and loose motoring

Years in the past, my Uncle Bob constructed up a sizeable selection of vinyl LPs. For some reason why, he offered it for buttons. Realising he had made a horrible mistake, he then purchased the whole thing everywhere once more.

That used to be a pricey lesson – which makes it all of the extra sudden that he then offered his 2d assortment, additionally for buttons.

At that level he realised that he used to be most likely too impulsive to bring together a 3rd file assortment, and that he must possibly as an alternative stick to his past love: earning money out of automobiles.

Not as a used car salesman, although. Bob is an abnormal bloke, however he’s now not that abnormal. He is aware of there’s no dosh in peddling mainstream motors.

Instead, Uncle Bob does the motoring identical of making an investment in excellent wine lengthy earlier than the bottles are coveted. He handiest buys automobiles that he’s relatively positive will upward push in worth, so that they now not handiest price him no cash between acquire and resale however will also make him a few bob.

Bob’s street to loose and even money-making motoring is open to all, however you could have to observe the principles.

Right now you’re most likely pondering ‘but I don’t need a vintage car and I will be able to’t manage to pay for a pricey one’.

Don’t concern: you don’t have to be ready to purchase an E-Type, or limit your self to a wheezy previous Ford Escort 1.three, flat-batteried MG, or Citroen 2CV to play this recreation.

Nor do you could have to be minted. You can do a Bob with fairly new fashionable vintage motors and with reasonably priced however fascinating automobiles whose depreciation curves have lengthy since bottomed out.

You simply want to know what you might be doing.

We’ll speak about a few of Bob’s methods of the business over the approaching weeks – recognising the worth of a badge, recognizing financial tendencies, understanding the cost of eggs, that type of factor.

For his first providing although, Bob is happening the useable vintage course with a significantly underrated German sportster.

After his unlucky file assortment revel in, Bob had a tattoo executed so that he would by no means once more fail to remember one key theory: you don’t pass over the rest till it’s long past. That theory applies in motoring, even on on a regular basis ‘series’ automobiles just like the VW Golf or the three Series BMW.

Everyone seems to be again at previous Golfs with a tear within the eye and needs they had been nonetheless round, what with the more moderen ones being a long way too heavy and most often garbage and many others. The fact is other. Bob is aware of that each new style of Golf has been dynamically awesome to the style it outmoded.  

Not so long ago you could buy a Mark 1 Golf GTI for peanuts, now decent cars fetch more than £10,000 and the best are even more expensive

Not so long ago you could buy a Mark 1 Golf GTI for peanuts, now decent cars fetch more than £10,000 and the best are even more expensive

Not goodbye in the past it’s essential purchase a Mark 1 Golf GTI for peanuts, now first rate automobiles fetch greater than £10,000 and the most efficient are much more costly

So, how do you play the ‘drive an interesting car for free’ recreation with a Golf?

Well, Mark 1s are already too costly, and Mark 2s are getting that approach, so Bob is quietly hoovering up low-mileage however particular examples of the universally hated Mark three Golf within the cold-eyed simple task that he’s going to be quids in when the selection of roadworthy examples drops to an appropriate degree.

The Mark three Golf received’t be remembered as fondly as others, however there are many individuals who like it to the Mark four and there’ll all the time be some who need a GTI or VR6 – and they’re getting somewhat onerous to come through.

Now practice this slow extinction concept to ‘series’ automobiles that had been somewhat costlier than the Golf, however similarly unloved in duration. It doesn’t take a visionary to realise that there’s actual cash to be made.

Rogues, rakes and retirees were cruising Mercedes SLs alongside the arena’s posher boulevards since 1954. The first W198/W121 automobiles had been lovely unique and extraordinarily costly, each then and now – particularly when you’re speaking concerning the state-of-the-art three.Zero-litre gullwing 300 SL.

The next W113 ‘Pagoda’ SL of 1963 to 1971 used to be a particularly chic design, however as soon as once more the one ones price having nowadays can have all had quite a few price-hoicking recovery paintings executed on them, so they’re of no hobby to Bob or us. 

The R107 era Mercedes SL is now considered a bonafide classic and prices have risen substantially in recent years

The R107 era Mercedes SL is now considered a bonafide classic and prices have risen substantially in recent years

The R107 generation Mercedes SL is now regarded as a bonafide vintage and costs have risen considerably lately

The 1972 to 1989 R107 could also be too dear now, vintage car sellers having controlled to persuade nowadays’s marketplace of its greatness, by means of the liberal software of vital sounding however meaningless phrases like ‘timeless’. The humorous factor concerning the blocky R107, although, is that it used to be by no means a lot cherished in its personal lifetime.

Which brings us to the R129 Mercedes SL, constructed between 1989 and 2001. There is a fashionable view that the R129 is simply too slabby and dull to be price purchasing.

Forget that. People stated all that and worse concerning the R107, however at the present time even ‘full restoration needed’ R107s hardly ever dip under £7,000. Vaguely useable specimens are £15,000, low-mile automobiles £40,000 and above.

Not handiest used to be the R129 a a lot more completed drive than its predecessor, the 200,000-plus examples made imply that it’s significantly inexpensive to in finding and purchase one.

The R129 used to be within the Mercedes vary within the past due 1990s and early 2000s when the corporate went via probably the most destructive duration in its historical past. A shareholder-driven transfer to inexpensive steels blended with the arriving of skinny, easily-lifting waterbased eco paints created simply the suitable prerequisites for corrosion.

Interestingly, then again, the R129 turns out to have escaped this blight. It didn’t endure any place close to as a lot from rust as maximum different Mercedes did at that time. 

The R129 SL dodged a lot of the bodywork problems that Mercedes of the era suffered from 

The R129 SL dodged a lot of the bodywork problems that Mercedes of the era suffered from 

The R129 SL dodged a lot of the bodywork issues that Mercedes of the generation suffered from 

This frame integrity is bothersome from Bob’s viewpoint, because it delays the onset of benefit pushed through shortage, however that received’t ultimate and it’s most likely higher now not to play the rustbucket lottery anyway.

Mercedes constructed 204,000 R129s, however there are fewer than four,000 of any style left on UK roads nowadays, and for maximum fashions the numbers are approach under 100. The ‘miss it and it’s long past’ syndrome is now kicking in, with R129 costs already overtaking the ones of the later (2002 to 2011) R230 SL.

A excellent pointer for automobiles that are in a position to perform a little appreciating is when their appearances get started accelerating within the vintage magazines. The R129 is doing that in this day and age.

And right here’s the clincher for the R129’s brilliant long run. In 2020, Mercedes will likely be launching a new model of its evergreen SL roadster.

The reason why that is nice information isn’t such a lot to do with the brand new style however extra to do with the impact its arrival can have at the costs of previous SLs, and specifically the so-far neglected R129.

Bob reckons the 2020 SL will likely be about as thrilling to have a look at as a rainy haddock. By the time you find he used to be proper, it’ll be approach too past due to snatch an R129. 

Mercedes SL R129: Bob’s 3 to assume on

Once, the V8-powered SL500 used to be the one R129 to have, however attitudes in opposition to conspicuous intake have modified. Anyone who has attempted the SL300 or 320 six cylinder and the gruntier but in addition heavier SL500 V8 will know that there’s little between them from a using point of view.

Acceptable R129s get started at £five,000, however low-miler automobiles are those to pass for. As lengthy as you stay the once a year mileage smart, values will conquer depreciation.

Good SL500s are available at round £10,000, however sub-50,000 mile automobiles are lately being marketed through sellers at £25,000 to £30,000. This hole between costs tells you that there’s sufficient monetary headroom to purchase one on the decrease finish of the variety and experience it for so long as you favor earlier than passing it on at a benefit to the following fortunate proprietor.

Here are 3 R129s Bob is shopping onerous at simply now. See if you’ll beat him to the punch.  

This Mercedes 320 SL with 112,000 miles is for sale privately on Pistonheads for £6,750

This Mercedes 320 SL with 112,000 miles is for sale privately on Pistonheads for £6,750

This Mercedes 320 SL with 112,000 miles is for sale privately on Pistonheads for £6,750

1993 Mercedes 320 SL, £6,750 

‘Clean looking’ is an previous car broker’s cliché, however this 320 SL introduced for personal sale in reality does have compatibility that invoice. Considering it has executed 112,000 miles, the ad footage make it glance virtually new. 

There’s a contemporary MOT – as in it used to be executed ultimate week – plus all of the previous bureaucracy, and it comes with the detachable onerous best (and storage stand), plus refurbished alloys, new cushy best home windows and re-Connollised leather-based. The proprietor says they’re promoting to fund a space deposit. 

This 1995 Mercedes 320 SL has slightly less than 70,000 on the clock and is for sale via a dealer on AutoTrader at £8,500

This 1995 Mercedes 320 SL has slightly less than 70,000 on the clock and is for sale via a dealer on AutoTrader at £8,500

This 1995 Mercedes 320 SL has rather lower than 70,000 at the clock and is for sale by means of a broker on AutoTrader at £eight,500

1995 Mercedes 320 SL, £8,500 

The broker promoting this claims superb situation. Obviously you’ll want to take a look at that out for your self sparsely, however one giant merit here’s the broker’s three-month guaranty. 

This is a middle-to-low miler with 68,800 at the clock. A complete provider historical past is obtainable, and the MOT historical past seems to be cheap. 

This Mercedes 500 SL has done 107,000 miles and is for sale privately on Ebay

This Mercedes 500 SL has done 107,000 miles and is for sale privately on Ebay

This Mercedes 500 SL has executed 107,000 miles and is for sale privately on Ebay

1995, Mercedes SL500, £7,500 

There’s a college of idea that says expensive-looking homes in used car advert pics are a excellent signal. This 107,000-mile 500SL is no doubt pulling the good environment trick, however the proprietor admits they’re promoting as they reside in central London and spending a small fortune on personal parking. So, it’s price investigating whose house it’s been snapped out of doors before you purchase at the ‘nice house, good car’ foundation. 

Nonetheless, the 500SL will all the time command consideration and this one has a contemporary MOT, complete provider in August, tyres lower than 2,000 miles previous and a new cushy best fitted throughout the ultimate two years.  

SAVE MONEY ON MOTORING

 

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