The Mercedes 560SL, a Future Collectible Classic Car?
The Mercedes 560SL appears destined to be a valuable classic in the near future. Previous Mercedes convertibles are some of the most desirable classic cars on the market. Whether it’s the million dollar 300SL or six figure 280SE convertible, there are few Mercedes convertibles built before 1970 that remain affordable.
Visually and thematically, the 560SL has more in common with the classic Mercedes roadsters of the 60’s and 70’s than the plastic and fiberglass convertibles of the 90’s. That’s a good thing.
The 560SL era represents the last years that Mercedes focused on build quality above all else. The 560SL has been described as “granite-sided”, “bullet-proof”, and a “bank-vault on wheels.” To move this heft, Mercedes packed their largest engine, a massive 5.5 litre V8, into the small roadster. Not surprisingly, the 560SL wasn’t cheap. New, it was priced almost 20% higher than a Porsche 911.
The 560SL is symbolic of the excess of the 1980’s. While some vestiges of that time are best left there–unchecked corporate greed, shoulder pads, 5-pound cell phones–the 560SL has aged very well. It features clean lines devoid of air scoops and large spoilers. The interior is similarly timeless and uncluttered. In short, it’s the car you might pick to represent the best of what 1980’s automotive design had to offer.
The strongest argument against the 560SL becoming a classic car is that it sold TOO well. There were 49,347 examples built between 1986 and 1989. However, these cars have long been neglected and under-appreciated. Many 560SL convertibles on the road are beat up, high-mileage examples. This will result in a steep bifurcation between well-maintained, low-mileage examples with records and rest of the lot.
Mercedes 560SL Value
According to Hagerty Valuation, the average value of a Mercedes 560SL is $19,300. Prices escalate quickly from there with “excellent” cars fetching double that amount and “concours” cars getting triple.
The somewhat affordable price reflects the fact that the Mercedes 560SL has not fully crossed the magical threshold in which a car transforms from being a well-kept beater to a valuable classic. But that may change soon.