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

Cars lose money. As a general rule that’s true, with depreciation eating up thousands of pounds of the price you paid.

However, it doesn’t have to be the case. Savvy buyers can pick up cars that might not only retain their value, but could be sold for more down the line. Get lucky, and the rise in value will cover the cost of motoring over your ownership period.

In our new Cash Cars column Tony Middlehurst looks for models that might fit the bill. In this one it is the Mercedes-Benz R129 SL… but 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 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 The R107 era Mercedes SL is now considered a bonafide classic and prices have risen substantially in recent years The R129 SL dodged a lot of the bodywork problems that Mercedes of the era suffered from  This Mercedes 320 SL with 112,000 miles is for sale privately on Pistonheads for £6,750 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 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 done 107,000 miles and is for sale privately on Ebay

1995, Mercedes SL500, £7,500 

There’s a school of thought that says expensive-looking properties in used car ad pics are a good sign. This 107,000-mile 500SL is definitely pulling the nice surroundings trick, but the owner admits they are selling as they live in central London and spending a small fortune on private parking. So, it’s worth investigating whose home it has been snapped outside before you buy on the ‘nice house, good car’ basis. 

Nonetheless, the 500SL will always command attention and this one has a fresh MOT, full service in August, tyres less than 2,000 miles old and a new soft top fitted within the last two years.  

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