Used Car of the Day: 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL 500

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Today's used car of the day is an Oregon-based 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL 500.

The mileage is low -- 63,000. The price is $18,500, and this car has both the Sport and AMG packages. It also has new tires and new Mandrus chrome staggered wheels.

You can check it out here.

[Image: Seller]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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5 of 21 comments
  • ChristianWimmer ChristianWimmer on May 12, 2023

    I actually own one of these as my classic ride - a 1989 500SL R129. It’s now 34 years old, has over 200,000 km behind it and had one previous owner. They are a joy to drive and have a lovely V8 sound. Mine has the “AMG Hammer” wheels from the C124 Hammer Coupe.

    Maintenance? Very low. Just regular oil changes every three years (drive it only 3,000-4,000 km a year max) and whatever might be needed (brake pads, spark plugs etc.). The car is actually very reliable and does not cost much to maintain.

    Things to watch out for? The roof folding mechanism needs adjusting every few years and I highly recommend you allow a specialist to do this and not Joe’s Mechanic shop around the corner. Same goes for the foldable cloth roof which is a wear and tear item. The main issue with the cloth roof is that the plastic rear window will develop cracks and allow water a dirt to enter the car. But this is also an item which you can cheaply fix by visiting a specialist shop instead of driving directly to a Benz dealer. I had it fixed in a shop which is not affiliated with Mercedes but handles a variety of different convertible cloth roofs from most car brands. And I only paid 700 Euros for the whole thing plus wage fees - cheap (for Europe). If I had gone to Mercedes I’d be looking at a 2,500 Euro receipt.

    The only real downside to the 500SL is it’s a gas guzzler. Drive it normally and you could theoretically hit about 10 L / 100 km, maybe even 9 L / 100 km. Under daily normal driving conditions you’re usually at 13-15 L / 100 km which is acceptable for such a car and if you’re really having fun 17-20 L+ / 100 km. Also, mine still has the 4-speed automatic which is fun in its own way but the car is pretty loud engine and wind noise wise at 120 km/h on the Autobahn with the cloth roof up. If you’re driving top down I simply cruise at 110 km/h on the Autobahn, have the windows and rear wind deflector up - it helps but it’s still loud.

    If you want to own one of these I recommend being in a club with guys who know their stuff about these. I’m in an R129 Club recognized by Mercedes Germany and we get a 15% discount on spare parts because of this. If you cruise slow and don’t mind loud noises, get an R129 with the 4-speed automatic transmission. I’ve ridden in some of the facelifted SL500 (R129s) with the 5-speed automatic and they are much quieter. Also, the 6-cylinder models (300SL, 300SL-24, SL280, SL320) are “slow” since they are low on power and the R129 platform is quite heavy. The V12 600SL/SL600 are quiet and smooth but have a drinking problem. The 500SL/SL500 is the pick of the bunch - perfect combination between power, fun and if you hold back you CAN get decent fuel mileage, especially with the latter 5-speed A/T 3-valve V8s which have better engine and fuel injection management. The guys in the club love their R129s, the old and modern ones.

    • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later on May 16, 2023

      Great post.

      "The roof folding mechanism needs adjusting every few years and I highly recommend you allow a specialist to do this and not Joe’s Mechanic shop around the corner."

      Here in the US I would advise the same for any Euro convertible."

      The main issue with the cloth roof is that the plastic rear window will develop cracks and allow water a dirt to enter the car."

      The 98-05 Volvo C70 MK1 suffers from the same malady, in practice it seems to come from improper storage. I have a mint one I know has lived its entire live in a garage outside of it's use, and I do not have this issue.

      Personally I have given great thought to an R129 but the pragmatic in me would sooner see the Jag XK8 or Lexus SC430. If I were to do one, I would want to import a clean one from Europe, probably in 300 I6/manual although reading your post is making me reconsider due to your stated power issues.

      Someone a few doors down from my house has an R129 parked outside missing a turn signal unit and overall looks to be in a state of "needs love" (the same house used to occasionally feature a 60s or early 70s Mercedes sedan in the driveway). Perhaps I need a new friend?

  • Chris P Bacon Chris P Bacon on May 12, 2023

    Seriously, who posts a FSBO used car ad with one photo? Usually someone trying to hide something, not gonna lie. The wheels are awful, looks like something you'd see more in North Portland than a remote town like Crooked River. Since plates stay with the car in Oregon, the tag should be a giveaway of how long the car has been there, but alas one photo. Probably relocated from California.

  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on May 12, 2023

    Junk. Hard pass

  • Ras815 Ras815 on May 13, 2023

    I wouldn't drop almost $20k for one of these given the surprise maintenance that can pop up, especially involving the power top. If so desired, you can pick up an earlier R129 with a much more transparent history (and more than one photo!) for a lot less.