The Mercedes-Benz R129 SL 500
'For me the R129 just has the perfect profile. I like it best of all when the roof is closed'. Ths is how legendary Mercedes-Benz designer Bruno Sacco describes this iconic model. It is hard to disagree with him.
The R129-generation Mercedes-Benz SL, was a long time coming. Its predecessor, the R107-generation SL, had enjoyed a nearly 20-year reign as the preeminent four-wheeled symbol of success, but by the end of the 1980s it was an old car. The new types 300 SL, 300 SL-24 and 500 SL, introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1989, showed no common features with their preceding models except for their overall concept. Just like 18 years before, when the 350 SL demonstrated a great number of innovative construction details in automotive progress, the 129 series SL now also was a completely new car and brought with it numerous innovations, such as the automatic roll bar and the multi-award-winning integral seat.
The new design of electro-hydraulic roof, standard equipment on the SL, was particularly convenient. By operating a single push-button the roof could be opened and stowed within 30 seconds. Closing the roof was just as fast. While opening or closing the roof the side windows and roll-over bar were automatically lowered and then raised again. The process was micro-processor controlled, involved the use of 17 end-position switches, 15 pressure cylinders and 11 magnetic valves.
Unlike its predecessor, for capacity reasons the new SL was not produced in Sindelfingen, but in Bremen. Production started there in March 1989.
The enthusiasm with which the 129 series SL was immediately received can be seen from the fact that annual production of 20,000 was insufficient to meet demand and shortly after its introduction there was a waiting list of several years.
The range of engines at the R129 introduction was also a combination of old and new. All three engines were fitted with three-way catalytic converters. In April 1998 at the Turin Motor Show, an updated SL range was presented featuring newly developed engines and a subtly revised design. The most significant refinements included the introduction of a new generation of V-type engines with six and eight cylinders to replace the six-cylinder in-line engine featured in the M 104 series and the M 119 series V8-unit. Thanks to the advent of 3-valve technology and dual ignition, the new engines consume up to ten percent less fuel than their predecessor models and are particularly remarkable for their very low exhaust emissions. Output levels range from 150 kW (204 hp) in the SL 280 and165 kW (224 hp) in the SL 320 to 225 kW (306 hp) in the SL 500.
The Designo Black Diamond Edition (metallic black paint, red-and-black Nappa leather, black carbon-fiber trim), and the Designo Slate Blue Edition (slate blue metallic paint, dark-blue-and-black Nappa leather, black carbon-fiber trim) were offered for 2000 and 2001 and only produced in 500 examples in total.
This Mercedes-Benz R129 SL 500 'Designo Slate Blue Edition'
Being one of the limited edition models, this car was sold new in Alberta, Canada by Lone Star Mercedes-Benz in May, 2000. It remained in Canada until imported to Northern Europe some years ago by a serious Porsche and Mercedes collector, sourcing only the finest examples available. It is technically and optically in immaculate condition, testimony to three careful owners. The Slate Blue paintwork is unmarked and the interior in excellent condition. Mechanically it runs and drives beautifully and is the perfect vehicle for comfortable touring. The car comes with all books, tools and original keys and would be the perfect addition to any serious Mercedes collection. Viewing is strongly encouraged to appreciate its immaculate condition.