Vintage Mercedes like this expertly maintained 1978 450 SL are the perfect combination of old world luxury and universal appeal. Fast, competent, luxurious, stylish, and built like a Panzer tank, they are the choice of many classic car collectors who like to both show their cars and drive them on a weekend getaways. With only 44,616 sunny day miles on its original powertrain and no collision or major body damage whatsoever, this rock solid 450 SL is about as close to driving a brand new 30 year old luxury car as you can get. If you're one of those Daimler diehards who's looking for the ultimate old school Merc, this two owner 450 SL is an incredible find!
This pristine, lightly used 1978 Mercedes 450 SL is an exceptionally well-maintained classic. Its subdued, Charcoal paint carries just the right amount of refinement worthy of a Mercedes badge, and looking at its solid flanks, there's no question it was constructed with some damned fine workmanship. Under the cars slick clearcoat finish, which is as flat and smooth as volcanic glass, the paint is still as vivid and uniform as the day the car rolled into its first owner's garage and, with what amounts to just 'break-in' miles on vintage Mercedes time, the body is virtually blemish-free. Fit, finish and panel gaps are exactly what you would expect from a vintage car with the three-pointed star on its nose and one look at the chip-free rockers reveals that this car obviously hasn't seen anything more abrasive than foul language since a high quality 2008 repaint. For a car that is almost 34 years old, has been driven steadily as a weekend car the entire time and has never been fully restored, this 450 SL is simply remarkable!
Like most vintage Mercedes, this 450 SLs styling is brilliantly executed with straight, sharp edged proportions which recall the days when automakers didn't have to worry about wringing the efficiency out of every single drop of gasoline. At the front of the car, a traditional over-sized and chrome trimmed SL grille cages a large chrome Mercedes emblem between four pristine headlights and two bright marker lights. Below that grille, a showroom fresh freestanding bumper hangs familiar, chrome trimmed driving lights inside of clear turn signals; and behind that grille, a sculpted hood wears a traditional chrome Mercedes-Benz badge in front of stainless windshield washers. Behind the hood, crystal clear factory glass sits inside of excellent stainless trim which hooks to either a brown cloth top to keep out summer rain, or an optional Charcoal accessory hard top to mount a heavier assault on nasty winter elements. At the sides of the car, laser straight body moldings parallel both finned rockers which wear dent-free stainless edge guards, and classy looking pin stripes which display no fragmenting or peeling. In the middle of the doors, slick chrome handles add form to function, and at the top of the doors, factory fresh chrome mirrors look good and work better. At the back of the car, pristine tri-color taillights ride above a second freestanding chrome bumper, and fresh chrome Mercedes trunk emblems complement both a chrome power antenna and subtle chrome trunk trim.
Lift the long hood and you'll find a lot of advanced technology that allows this 450 SL to provide smooth and powerful acceleration which almost defies the laws of late 70s automotive physics. Its silky and quiet M117 276 cubic inch OHC V8 delivers enough grunt to make the car feel much lighter than it actually is and, with a flick of the key, lights off instantly and hums to life with a barely audible whisper from the tailpipes. Take it out on the road, fully pressurize the electronic fuel injectors with a stomp of your right foot, and the M117s restrained power quickly glides this rock solid Mercedes up to triple digit speeds in no time flat. The big motor is smooth, powerful, accelerates well in any gear, and has plenty of torque at any given speed or time. Cosmetically everything here looks like a well preserved time capsule, which isn't surprising given the cars meticulously kept exterior and interior; and since it was produced well before the OEMs questionable obsession with plastic engine covers, you can plainly see how well-maintained every seal, bolt and electronic component is. From the sparkling clean inner fenders to the original radiator decals, this Mercedes is nothing but vintage class!
At the bottom of the car, 100% original floorpans are covered in thick original undercoating which is still fighting rust producing moisture over three decades after it left the showroom. And everything from the brake hoses and exhaust system to the fuel tank and fuel lines looks to be in good working order. Under those floors, rock solid Mercedes engineering provides a luxurious ride that, while not too firm, also doesn't feel like a traditional luxury barge. One squeeze of the throttle and the 3-speed automatic transmission seamlessly and steadily sends power to tall 3.46 gears which quickly set you on your way. The car's original double A-arm front and coil spring rear suspension keeps body roll in check and well balanced 4-wheel disc brakes provide reliable, drama-free stops from virtually any speed. On the outside of those disc brakes, spotless 14 inch painted steel wheels present a like-new appearance and wear 205/75 Yokohama AVID Touring tires. A solid convertible like this cool Mercedes can turn even the most monotonous drives into fun, open-air adventures. And thanks to their combination of summertime sun and stiff structure, it's no wonder these cars were and still remain one of the most popular hobby Mercedes of all time.
Inside, this well-mannered 450 SL is Teutonic luxury at its finest. Soft, perforated leather buckets are supremely comfortable and look great in their classic Saddle tint. In front of those seats, crystal clear gauges are laid out in the typical Mercedes fashion of three binnacles with simple dials and lighted pointers. Behind those gauges, a straight and fresh Saddle dash is trimmed in wood, features a retrofitted Alpine CD player and flows into a great looking wood topped console. Inside the console, the cars simple black shifter sits between a vertically oriented climate control system and switches for standard power windows. Below the console, great looking Saddle carpet presents much, much better than its age would suggest, and at the sides of the seats, well-padded Saddle door panels feature great looking chrome trim and perfectly functional chrome door handles. In front of the driver, a familiar black Mercedes branded steering wheel provides an excellent connection to the road while still maintaining a luxury car feel. And below the convertible boot, a fully carpeted trunk has enough room to stash a couple of sets of golf clubs. Of course, I probably don't need to mention that everything works as it should, and the roof seals up as tightly as a sedan, but it's good to know that Mercedes quality remains.
Included with the sales is the cars original owner's manual, original accessory books and original warranty card.
Both luxurious and capable, this 1978 Mercedes 450 SL is a substantial roadster that has been expertly maintained throughout its entire existence. Thanks to the SLs reputation for excellent engineering, Mercedes-Benz sells every one they build year after year, and vintage examples like this '78 enjoy a large group of dedicated fans. If you're looking for a great cruiser that, when it comes to power and performance, is a genuine iron fist in a silk glove, you simply can't go wrong with a this slick 450 SL!
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First I would like to say that the staff at RK Motors were very professional and courteous. I was very impressed with the write-up and the details that were presented on this car. The photo shoot was amazing and the video was outstanding. Tony Klein, the consignment manager was amazing to work with. Tony always answered all of my questions within a timely manner. I was impressed with the time frame in which my vehicle was sold. I would and have recommended RK Motors to all of my car enthusiasts. Thank You RK Motors for a great job!