1994 Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 – Today’s Tempter

By: Alex Affat

Mercedes SL 500 TT Mercedes SL 500 TT

Own the car Princess Diana wasn’t allowed to

The SL moniker traces back to the original 300 SL, and since then, have long been the ubiquitous Benz convertible tourer. 

The R129 was introduced in 1989 and was a paragon of technology for the time; as one of the safest cars available when new, it featured a hidden automatic rollover bar that could deploy within milliseconds.

This generation also debuted a new multi-link rear end replacing the old R109’s diagonal swing axle, and had electric windows, mirrors and remote memory interior.

Second to the V12-powered flagship SL 600 introduced in 1992, this SL 500 possesses a 5.0L 32-valve M119 V8 which- when new- peaked at 240kW at 5500rpm. From 1999 the SL 500s switched engines to the less powerful M113; which was a three-valve, single overhead cam version of the V8 found in this car.

Design-wise, cars from this era have not always been as celebrated as cars from previous decades- however they are increasingly coming into their own as younger generations start to become collectors. There’s a certain charm to the R129’s boxiness, doubly so in two-tone white/grey. Short of a Testarossa, if ever there was a car that could make you feel like you were in Miami Vice behind the wheel, this could be it!

As a neat bit of trivia, Princess Diana traded in her Jaguar in 1992 for a wine red SL 500, only to face intense public scrutiny being the first of British Royalty to own a foreign-made car. She gave it back to Mercedes-Benz after only 15 months of ownership.

This particular car was originally delivered to Hong Kong, and presents extremely low mileage for its age (reportedly with full documentation). Specified with higher-grade SL 600 stitched leather dash and seats, and an extra panoramic hard top roof, this SL 500 is one of the cheaper ones available; listed at $29,990. You might not find another one with the odo under six figures.

So go on, don your Sonny Crockett white suit, grab your favourite cassette tape, and check out the full listing here.

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