There aren’t many feelings like when you think you’re getting away with something for less than it should cost. That $5 bill you found on the ground, the samples at the grocery store, whatever it is, they’re all a little something for nothing. Of course, as these things get more complex and costly, the risk goes up as well. Take the R129 Mercedes SL, with its ABS, airbags, electric windows, electric top, power locks/steering/brakes, and all kinds of other high-tech-for-1991 things. However, if you know what to look for and what to avoid, you can find some apparently stunning bargains, like this 1991 Mercedes 500SL, for sale for $4000 in Tracy, CA.
Photos with special filters are always reason for suspicion, but given that grain of salt, the car looks to be in pretty decent shape. With just short of 74,000 miles, you could probably easily expect at least another 100K out of it, assuming careful maintenance. The 5-liter V8 puts out 322hp, which should move this portly roadster along at a decent clip. You’ll want to check for hydraulic leaks in the top and roll bar mechanisms, but other than that, these don’t appear to have too many model-specific weak spots. Being a 1991 car, it’s not prone to some of the wiring issues the 1993-94 cars had.
The car is said to run well, with all accessories functioning properly. It almost trips the scam alarm, but the seller’s need for a quick sale and the ubiquity of these cars does a little to silence that. Other than the peeling finish on the lower edge of the front bumper, the finish looks in decent shape. The short list of added-cost options includes the adaptive damping system, automatic slip control, and heated and orthopedic seats.
What little is visible of the interior is in decent shape. How hard is it to get a shot with decent lighting? With the low mileage, the sheepskin seat covers should be covering up intact leather. It appears to have an aftermarket stereo CD player, though the listing says the car has a cassette player. So what else can you get for $4000? A third of a new Fiat 500? A beaten C4 Corvette? Which would you rather have?