The Truth About Cars » SL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Sep 2014 21:20:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » SL http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Junkyard Find: 1997 Saturn SC2, With Rare Badass Flame Job Option http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1997-saturn-sc2-with-rare-badass-flame-job-option/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/06/junkyard-find-1997-saturn-sc2-with-rare-badass-flame-job-option/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 13:00:19 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=831881 Even though the Saturn S-Series has been one of the most common vehicle types in American self-service wrecking yards for at least the past decade, I’ve always walked right past the SCs and SLs when I’m looking for vehicles to photograph for this series. The rise and fall of the Saturn marque is a fascinating […]

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10 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinEven though the Saturn S-Series has been one of the most common vehicle types in American self-service wrecking yards for at least the past decade, I’ve always walked right past the SCs and SLs when I’m looking for vehicles to photograph for this series. The rise and fall of the Saturn marque is a fascinating story, and the S-Series spent much of the 1990s being driven by fanatically devoted owners who appreciated the distinctly un-GM-like experience of buying their cars. The SC2 has been one of the quicker and more reliable cars in 24 Hours of LeMons racing as well, but even that wasn’t enough to make me raise my camera when I passed a whole row of the things at U-Wrench-It. It took this red ’97, with its metalflake flame job peeking through the snow at a Denver yard this winter, to give us a Saturn Junkyard Find.
15 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin
Someone loved this car, but then it got wrecked hard enough to render it not worth fixing.
16 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinPerhaps King Credit has an in-house staff of flame painters, who apply flames to any vaguely sporty car that shows up in their inventory.
03 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThe flames are executed very nicely, with clean edges, gold pinstriping, and generous application of metalflake.
07 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinI didn’t feel like freezing my fingers to lift the hood and verify that the twin-cam engine was there, but I’m assuming that nobody would bother to paint such beautiful flames on a lowly SC1.
13 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinThough I’d also say the same thing about an automatic car, and so perhaps I’m wrong and this car is a single-cam SC1. It has been crushed by now, so we’ll never know.
14 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee MartinAbout 10,000 miles per year during the course of its life, so this car’s owners got their money’s worth before the big crash.

01 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 02 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 03 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 04 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 05 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 06 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 07 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 08 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 09 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 10 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 11 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 12 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 13 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 14 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 15 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 16 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 17 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 18 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin 19 - 1997 Saturn SC2 Down On the Junkyard - Picture courtesy of Murilee Martin

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Piston Slap: Spastic Saturn’s Spacey Door Locks? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-spastic-saturns-spacey-door-locks/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/piston-slap-spastic-saturns-spacey-door-locks/#comments Mon, 17 Feb 2014 13:00:33 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=743161 TTAC’s own Ronnie Schreiber writes: My mom’s ’02 Saturn’s SL1 power locks freak out sometimes, sounds like solenoids are having spasms. I’ll go to lock or unlock them and they’ll start fluttering. Sometimes slamming a door will stop it. My guess is that there’s a dirty switch somewhere, might be weather related too because it […]

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TTAC’s own Ronnie Schreiber writes:

My mom’s ’02 Saturn’s SL1 power locks freak out sometimes, sounds like solenoids are having spasms. I’ll go to lock or unlock them and they’ll start fluttering. Sometimes slamming a door will stop it.

My guess is that there’s a dirty switch somewhere, might be weather related too because it started happening in late autumn. It was easier to diagnose things when they didn’t use logic circuits for everything.

Sajeev answers:

Slamming the door will stop it?

Perhaps the sales pitch where a Saturn salesperson hits the door with a baseball bat wasn’t such a bright idea after all?

Just kidding.

After some googling on the Saturn forums, this is a common problem.  That said, this shockingly thorough post covers my two possible faults: a bad relay or a busted switch. Considering the door slam fix, the switch is bad.

Much like a well-worn record, the internal (copper) connections in switches can wear out over time. Or the springy action of the button can disappear, making it activate when least expected.  Considering the quality of GM interiors from this era, a worn out switch is also more likely than a bad relay.

So I’d disconnect the driver’s side power lock switch and see if the problem comes back.  If it does, attack the relays in the link above.  If not, there are plenty of new door lock switches on eBay for dirt cheap. I saw a brand new switch for $22…$27 shipped.  Nice.

Done and done: off to you, Best and Brightest.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice. 

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Piston Slap: Bennie Bucks on the Winter Beater? http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/11/piston-slap-bennie-bucks-on-the-winter-beater/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 13:16:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=662242 TTAC Commentator 28-Cars-Later writes: Sajeev, I’ve got a small conundrum for Piston Slap.  Winter is fast approaching and for those of us in the mid-Atlantic states this is a serious affair. My winter beater has been my trusty (but not rusty) ’98 Saturn SL/auto/164K, which in the spring started showing its age and developed transmission […]

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TTAC Commentator 28-Cars-Later writes:

Sajeev,

I’ve got a small conundrum for Piston Slap.  Winter is fast approaching and for those of us in the mid-Atlantic states this is a serious affair. My winter beater has been my trusty (but not rusty) ’98 Saturn SL/auto/164K, which in the spring started showing its age and developed transmission issues after seven years (and roughly 80K) of ownership. I’ve let her sit most of the summer save starting her up and driving her around the parking lot every 7-12 days but I’ve been trying to put off the inevitable investment of Bennie bucks. This evening I was offered an ’00 Subaru Outback/auto/186K to replace it for $2500 inc four new cheap tires and inspection.

The prospects of an actual [built in Japan] Japanese wagon are intriguing, the Subaru is 7/10 in terms of condition with some dings and several rust spots, it had no issue starting up and is throwing no codes. The catch is I have zero documentation on the car (was a recent trade) and personally I am leery of all AWD systems regardless of make and model, especially without documentation/receipts. Panning over the engine bay I noticed a newer alternator and a battery stickered 3/12 (with old acid all over the cradle) so somebody (sort of) attempted to take care of the car. Oil was a down 1/4 a quart, coolant was dirty but not caked on or anything, but the kicker was the trans fluid is getting to be brown. I figure whomever recently owned this attempted to take care of it to some degree, but neglected all of the fluid changes, which leads to me to suspect none of the Subie specific maint (diff fluid, sensors, etc) has been done either by this owner (and who knows about the head gaskets). I have two days to make up my mind on the Subie before he sends it to auction.

(NOTE: because of my time delay in publishing, this car is already bought or auctioned off – SM)

So I figure my choices are as such:

  1. Spend $1200-1400 to install a used transmission in my Saturn and risk more expensive stuff breaking down the line.
  2. Spend $2500 and buy the Subaru, which for my purposes will probably get me through at least this winter without fireworks, but risk later expensive Subie specific repairs, or total loss if something big breaks.
  3. Not spend any money, junk my Saturn, and just drive one of my other two cars in the winter that I currently baby to some degree.

Sajeev answers:

Well…I guess it kinda depends on your other two vehicles.

#2 is not a sure thing: with zero service history and tired fluids, expecting this Subaru to work all winter is a rather huge leap of faith.  Perhaps if it was something more robust (truck) with less unique parts that are painfully hard to reach, perhaps if it wasn’t a vehicle known for its fragility (bad head gaskets) especially when neglected/abused…

Install a junkyard transmission in the Saturn, coming from a yard that offers a warranty.  Or research to see if a local shop rebuilds these units with quality parts and labor (not always easy to find) for a fair price.  Why?  Because it’s almost always easier to keep the problems you know, not the gigantic rolling question mark that could be even more of a horrid money pit.

 

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

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New Or Used? : Large Marge Don’t Want No Land Barge Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/new-or-used-large-marge-dont-want-no-land-barge-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/04/new-or-used-large-marge-dont-want-no-land-barge-edition/#comments Fri, 05 Apr 2013 10:31:53 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=483482 Dear Steve and Jeev, My girlfriend needs a car while in the midst of many other big financial decisions that severely limit her car budget. Here’s the situation. She has access to a family owned Mercedes 380SL that has what I believe to be transmission issues. It’s dripping dark red fluid from right about where […]

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Dear Steve and Jeev,

My girlfriend needs a car while in the midst of many other big financial decisions that severely limit her car budget. Here’s the situation.

She has access to a family owned Mercedes 380SL that has what I believe to be transmission issues. It’s dripping dark red fluid from right about where the transmission looks to be and it’s probably also leaking oil.

I’m handy, but I don’t think I’m money pit Benz convertible transmission and rear main seal handy. Then again it might not be so bad and might be a reasonable fix, until the next time it shoots itself in the foot. It currently doesn’t run and last time it was driven apparently exhibited the same problem it has for years, which is that if you don’t take it easy off the line it just dies on you.

So she needs a new car, but she needs something as close to under $4k as possible.

She also has specific tastes, though she’s somewhat flexible. (Oh boy! And here comes her laundry list! -SL)

Click here to view the embedded video.

Completely averse to Panthers (otherwise I wouldn’t have to write this email) and doesn’t want a Taurus ever (her grandmother drives one, it’s been nothing but misery).

Oh also, it can’t be a manual, which means anything remotely – Miata, 2002, Volvo wagon with ls1 swap – fun out of the question. I’ve been looking at Volvo 240s, 740s, 940s, 850s, overpriced Camrys and Accords, Corollas/Prisms and a lot of late 90s early 00s 4th and 5th gen Maximas and i30s. Also G20s and just for good measure the occasional Saab.

Click here to view the embedded video.

I’m very comfortable with the Maxima/i30 as my dad had one for 10 years and it’s what I learned how to work on so I know how to do any repair imaginable and problem areas plus they’re in abundance in this price range. I’m also intrigued by the Volvo option since you could easily sell it for the same you paid for it or more if there’s anything wrong that can be easily fixed.

As I said, I feel comfortable armed with a forum and a Haynes manual to do any reasonable repairs short of transmission rebuilds but I want something that’s easy and cheap to work on as possible. I know that the whole no domestics thing and crapshoot prices don’t help but what should she do? Find out how much the SL will cost to repair? Flush the transmission and hope for the best? What other cars should I be looking for that I’m missing. I assume craigslist is pretty much the only reliable source for these and that I’m buying a car for an owner not the car. Also, should she try to wait out tax season until prices come down, I’ve noticed that even on these sub 5k cars the prices seem higher than normal.

Steve Says:

How does she feel about a minivan?

I would suggest telling her that you want to fill one of those up and your problem should go away real quick. (Childish Giggling – SM)

Here’s the rub on this. Your girlfriend needs to stop looking at the popular cars with the unrealistic expectation of low maintenance and a low price. She wants a cheap Camry? Fine. You will find that the cheap ones are cheap for a reason. I have seen unfortunate souls spending dozens of weekends trying to find a popular car at a cheap price.

Most of them wind up anteing up thousands more than their budget allowed, and buying a popular vehicle with very high miles. Some people are OK with this outcome. The truth is that a better solution is there only if she is willing to adjust her expectations.

I would sit down together in front of the computer and go through the unpopular and orphan brands first. Visit carsurvey, Edmunds, here, there and anywhere else that offers reviews from actual owners. My recommendation is a late 90′s Buick Regal with the 3.8 Liter V6 and about 120k to 150k on the miles. Either that or an Explorer if she wants a bigger vehicle.

Get an older SUV if she doesn’t drive a lot. Or get an unpretentious middle-of-the-road sedan, with a keen eye on the powertrain combination, if her driving will be 10,000 miles or more a year.

Sajeev says:

The Benz might be worth a punt, but that’s only if she doesn’t need to drive very often. My guess is that this conditional statement is rather unrealistic. So the SL ain’t happening.

At this price, tough love is better than proper indulgence. She buys the vehicle with the cleanest interior, newest tires/brakes, the biggest wad of service receipts, and a character that isn’t completely offensive to her sensibility. That said:

“[She's] Completely averse to Panthers (otherwise I wouldn’t have to write this email)”

Come on Son, don’t make jokes like that! Has she not seen the best Music Video ever made on the face of the Universe?

I simply refuse to live in the real world believe that women cannot embrace Panther Love. And I know my man Lang agrees, he came up with the title! While my advice is true, there’s a good chance that the best vehicle for the price will also be a super tidy Panther.

But seriously, get the cleanest, best maintained, late-model, non-European machine you find…buy what she wants when she has more cheddar. Because getting what you want now only hurts you in the future.

Unless it’s a Panther.

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Next-Gen Mercedes SL AMG Doesn’t Have To Be Driven Like Grandpa http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/next-gen-mercedes-sl-amg-doesnt-have-to-be-driven-like-grandpa/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/08/next-gen-mercedes-sl-amg-doesnt-have-to-be-driven-like-grandpa/#comments Tue, 16 Aug 2011 17:36:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=407399 I’ve personally never seen a Mercedes SL driven in anything close to anger. In fact, most of the time I see an SL, it seems as though the driver is in no rush at all to return to pulling teeth or fixing braces. But, as with the “low-flying” forthcoming Mercedes ML AMG, the boys from […]

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I’ve personally never seen a Mercedes SL driven in anything close to anger. In fact, most of the time I see an SL, it seems as though the driver is in no rush at all to return to pulling teeth or fixing braces. But, as with the “low-flying” forthcoming Mercedes ML AMG, the boys from Affalterbach are driving the new SL AMG like it’s meant to be… so you don’t have to. After all, that AMG badge does supposedly stand for more than “a little extra respect from the valet”…

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Review: 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450sl “R107″ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/review-1979-mercedes-benz-450sl-r107/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2009/11/review-1979-mercedes-benz-450sl-r107/#comments Wed, 11 Nov 2009 21:39:51 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=334671 Imagine it is thirty years in the future, 2039, and you are driving in a hard top convertible made in 2009. It has had three owners, and sports a healthy six-figures on the odometer. Would you expect it to leak, rattle, and/or squeak? Probably. Would you expect it to look dated and out of place […]

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The R107, with soft top raised, visits the Trapp Family Lodge

The R107, with soft top raised, visits the Trapp Family Lodge

Imagine it is thirty years in the future, 2039, and you are driving in a hard top convertible made in 2009. It has had three owners, and sports a healthy six-figures on the odometer. Would you expect it to leak, rattle, and/or squeak?
Probably.
Would you expect it to look dated and out of place as we approach 2030 when cars (finally) fly and run by garbage-powered fusion generators?
Likely.
In 2029 there will be 1970s-era Mercedes-Benz cars still on the road though. By then they might rattle, leak, and/or squeak. They may even look a little dated. But not today. I drove this 1979 450sl to a dentist appointment this morning. Two weeks before I drove it from coast to coast, through rain, snow, and sun. It doesn’t rattle. It doesn’t leak. It doesn’t squeak. It is as solid today as the day it rolled out of Stuttgart thirty years ago. This thing is built like a tank.

With removable pagoda-shaped hard top installed, the genetic link to the previous-generation W113 SL is evident.

With removable pagoda-shaped hard top installed, the genetic link to the previous-generation W113 SL is evident.

In fact, the engineers who designed it nicknamed it “der Panzerwagen” as one of their specifications was to meet or exceed stringent safety regulations that threatened to force the roadster body style into permanent extinction. Apparently, the Germans know a thing or two about building tanks. Stylistically the R107 Chassis with its blend of slab shapes and extra-long radii curves owes far more to the Panzerkampfwagen “Königstiger” than its graceful automotive predecessors, the W198 and W113 “Sport Leicht” series. Under the hood, unlike the six-cylinder Gullwing and Pagoda Benzes, the R107 is motivated by a V-8 engine. It sports an overhead cam and fuel injection like its father and grandfather, and maintains a paternal link with a Pagoda-shaped removable hard top. From the neck down though it is its own panzer-like design. It was a phenomenally popular car, with well over a quarter-million of them made in a very long run, from 1971 through 1989. Built in a time when Mercedes-Benz was truly and uniquely synonymous with “quality”… as they remained alone at the top of the luxury automotive heap, towering über alles the (literally) smoking wreckage of Detroit and Coventry’s faded high-end brands, Cadillac, Lincoln, and Jaguar. This was when the Bavarians in Munich were just started going upmarket, and the Japanese were eviscerating Detroit only from below.

The R107 and it's genetic grandparent, the 300sl (W194)

The R107 and it's genetic grandparent, the 300sl (W194)

The interior is snug, but well-appointed for a car from the 1970s.

The interior is snug, but well-appointed for a car from the 1970s.

This 450sl sold for around $32,000 in 1979, which adjusted for inflation is a Kia Rio shy of $110,000 in 2009. What did that kind of Carter-era cash get for you? A damn fine ride. The 450sl is a cruise missile of a car, a true Grand Tourer capable of days of comfortable Autobahn travel… top up, or down, on or off. The interior is snug, though comfortable for both driver and passenger. Seats are made from MB-tex, the Stuttgart equivalent of Kevlar, which deflects wear, stains, bullets, and tears, while somehow not being torturously uncomfortable like virtually all other 70s-era synthetic seats. Leather was optional, but rarely ordered for these roadsters though shaggy sheepskin was a de rigueur disco-era aftermarket addition, thankfully averted in the example here. Real wood accents trim out the dashboard and center console. The removable hard top weighs about 90 pounds and requires two people (or a garage-ceiling mounted pulley-lift) to install or remove. The latching mechanism is ingenious however and guarantees a snug, no rattle or leak fit to the car. When off the car the top rests on an aluminum rack with casters so it can be wheeled into a closet or corner of the garage. The rack itself breaks down easily into component parts which are bagged and easily stored in the generous trunk. The soft top manually folds away into a decked storage compartment aft of the cockpit when down with (attention car designers!) no trunk space used, and when raised latches to the windscreen using the same hardware as the hard top. At speed inside the car with either top on you are treated to a ride as quiet as a coupe or sedan. Unlike most convertibles, all-around visibility is excellent in any top configuration.

The well-engineered hard top stores on its own well-engineered cart.

The well-engineered hard top stores on its own well-engineered cart.

While it may appear to be a big car, especially with the ludicrously large US-market bumpers, the R107 is in reality a diminutive two-seater which when parked next to today’s average machine finally reflects the true scale. It sits low, so when in the company of Suburban Ussault Vehicles defensive driving is an excellent strategy, so all that visibility for the driver pays off. Beyond a few 70s details in the styling it has a timelessness to it that wears far better than many of its peers from the days of disco. Especially with the top down, it appears as if it could be from any time in the last 40 years. Such is the staying power of simple shapes and spare, minimalist design.

The 450sl is much smaller than it looks.

The 450sl is much smaller than it looks.

Turn the key and the 4.5 liter V-8 makes a mild muscle-car rumble. The US-spec 3-speed automatic transmission does not inspire any sort of lust, nor risk any chiropractic involvement, performing its job in an undramatic utilitarian fashion. However once underway the chassis displays its Teutonic heritage in surprisingly nimble and huckable road feel. Able to cruise effortlessly at autobahn speeds, while also happily carving up any twisty backroad. Great turn-in and light, nimble steering. It is not the fastest car by any stretch of the imagination, but it certainly can be fun should you choose to toss it about.

Hang on, what's that beach benz doing on a racetrack? (Answer: 3rd place for that day.)

Hang on, what's that beach benz doing on a racetrack? (Answer: 3rd place for that day.)

On the track it will never win any races (unless all your opponents are pedal-powered) but it will provide miles of smiles and never embarrass the driver. If anything it will inspire confidence to push it hard, as its manners are very steady at the edge of its performance envelope; neutral handling easing towards gentle and predictable throttle over-steer as you push it harder in the corners. Just forget about the dragstrip as the sedate transmission will let you down. The R107 is a stately sort of sports/performance car. It comes from Stuttgart but doesn’t wear that on its sleeve like a P-car.

A Montana State Trooper writes up his own review of the R107's capabilities.

A Montana State Trooper writes up his own review of the R107's capabilities.

The penalty for this moderately good performance, beyond being fast enough to collect speeding tickets even in Montana, is SUV-like non-frugality. The 450sl will burn up gasoline at about 12-17 MPG … if you are lucky. Thankfully it runs fine on Regular Unleaded, unlike so many finicky machines whose tastes are more top-shelf. This is also not a good winter car in northern climes. Performance on snow and ice is abysmal-to-terrifying. It will swap ends and send you pirouetting off into the woods at the mere sight of a snowflake. Park it once the thermometer starts dropping. Their A/C systems, especially for the ’77-’79 models can be problematic so if you’re living in Houston pick another year. Here in the Pacific Northwest however it’s a wash… it snows about as often a it reaches 90°F; almost never.

Trust me, you'll want to avoid this scenario.

Trust me, you'll want to avoid this scenario.

While nowhere near the stratospheric value of its gull-winged supercar forebear, the R107 was still an upper-class car, the ride of choice for Professionals of the 70s & 80s: Doctors, Bankers, Dentists, and Trophy Wives. Given their popularity, 19-year long manufacturing run, plus build-quality that was truly higher than any car before or since, R107s are still available in good numbers. Many of them coming from one-owner garages, at a cost about what you would pay for the lowest tier of today’s scheisseboxen. So here is that most rare beasts: An affordable, reliable classic car, that provides enjoyable top-down motoring while being relatively inexpensive to buy.

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