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1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class

Sale price: $15,500.00 make an offer

Car location: Camarillo, California, United States
Sale type: Fixed price listing

Technical specifications, photos and description:

Manufacturer: Mercedes-Benz
Model: SL-Class
Year: 1973
Type: Convertible
Mileage: 179183
Vehicle Title: Clean
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1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class for sale

Current customer rating: current rating for this car(2.25) based on 25 votes
1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class Photo
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
  • 1973 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class


In remembering back in 2002, when my wife (now retired) wanted a fun car (convertible) to drive to her Jr. High English teaching job 20 miles away, she was eyeing the Mazda Miata convertible. As a responsible husband and owner of my own Mercedes/Volvo independent shop, I wanted her in a (Mercedes or a Volvo) safe car to commute in. After two years of searching for a 1971 to 1973 350SL/450SL I finally found what I was looking for in October 2004 when I purchased this 450SL. When I purchased the car I noticed that the previous owner had invested quite a bit of work and parts into the vehicle. The vehicle seemed to be well maintained and not abused by the previous owner. From all new brakes system components, flexible brake hoses, rotors, pads, engine mounts and sub frame mounts. Mechanically, the car seemed well cared for and I haven't discovered any body damage or collision repair. I suspect that I am likely the second or perhaps third owner of this 450SL.

The reason that I focused on the earlier years of the large Mercedes roadster were the following: Safety that can only be found on one of the large convertible Mercedes Roadsters. Mercedes built a cast iron block/aluminum head design has a tried and true longevity (starting from the monster M100/6.3 liter), this longer stroke, 8.8/1 compression ratio; larger displacement engine; the non-catalytic converter exhaust system and the traditional classic small bumpers and steel wheels that everyone recognizes as a truly classic Mercedes design. One of the most important features of the classic cars is that (especially in California) there is no smog or vehicle inspection requirement on the cars built before 1974. Avoiding that dreaded smog inspection is one thing that California has done correctly for classic cars. We always get complements while driving this early classic. The original Mercedes Benz tool kit/jack and spare are in the trunk spare tire compartment, together with the original top tools and pouch that came with the car. I will provide the Mercedes Benz 107 work shop manual and the valve adjustment crow foot Hazet tool that I used every 12,000 miles for valve adjustment servicing.

I retired from independent Mercedes & Volvo shop after 41 years in Camarillo. I served my apprenticeship with Mercedes of Hollywood back when these large SL roadsters were new. This 1973 450SL belongs to my wife who has not driven for a couple of years now. I have owned, maintained and cared for this 450SL for over 16 years. It has the hard top that we seldom ever put on and of course the soft top. Paint and upholstery are in good condition. Runs and drives well. I have more pictures not posted of the underneath of the vehicle to show that it is dry (light surface rust) and there are no leaks. I installed a modern digital radio/CD player. We have a wind screen that is very effective in eliminating the back ground noise and wind when the top is down, very similar to the modern wind screens that BMW uses. I added an auxiliary radiator to drive in hot weather during the summer months. I took a HOME LINK 3 button garage door opener from a Volvo sun visor, installed it in the driver's sun visor that only works with the key on to open our garage door from our driveway. The A/C blows cold. I kept the underside of this vehicle clean of any grease, oil or leaks. This car is 1973 so no smog is ever required at sale or renewal of registration. I welcome for you to inspect the vehicle or you can use e bays inspection service. If after you see the car and still want to buy it, then take a shop, pay for the inspection, then revicse your commitment to buy. I have no problem having your Mercedes guy look the vehicle over prior to purchase. This 1973 is smog exempt in California.

We never had any damage to the body or bumpers, nor have I ever found any body damage. I have replaced most all of the weather stripping and the side body moldings.

The engine temperature maintains proper operating temperature of 170 degrees F to 180 degrees with the A/C on maximum. There is a rocker switch in a discrete location just to the right of the emergency brake pedal that can manually turn on the auxiliary cooling fan for the radiator and to engage the ignition changeover (ignition advance) system. I use this in extreme conditions such as being stuck in Los Angeles, stop and go traffic or using the air conditioning in city driving.

I also installed an auxiliary radiator (using a small heater core) between the coolant return hose and the heater supply hose off of the rear of the cylinder heads/intake manifold. In my experience the rear of the cylinder heads suffer from a lack of coolant flow for cooling when the heater control valves are in the closed position. In my modification I routed the hot coolant provided to the heater through a small radiator (heater core) located at the front of the engine compartment; with continuous circulation; then is returned to the water pump. That way there is always good coolant flow through the cylinder heads at all times. On warm days the operating temperature runs at approximately 180 degrees. I performed this feature on several of my own vehicles and many of my customer's cars. At operating temperature, there is normal oil pressure with the A/C on and at idle in drive position that is running approximately 30 P.S.I. Of course, above idle, oil pressure is above the maximum reading of 45 P.S.I. on the dash gauge.

The A/C blows cold and cycles at 48 degrees to 52 Degrees F. I installed a rocker switch and green LED indicator to switch on and off the A/C compressor. The purpose of the switch is so that I can turn off the A/C compressor clutch without disturbing the position of the thermostatic control knob on the dash, keeping cool air blowing across the evaporator into the car and not changing the positions of the internal vent controls. We have several steep long uphill grades in Southern California where this switch comes in handy. Early on in owning the vehicle I replaced the expansion valve, filter drier, opened up the system flushed out all components, serviced the compressor oil and recharged the system with R134. Fortunately they have made R134 economically available to DIYer's. Approximately every two to three years I only need to top off or check the refrigerant level in the system on the low pressure side fitting. In comparison I have found the R134 just as efficient as the old unavailable R12. With the original large condenser and large rotary compressor in this system, it more than controls the higher pressures of the newer product.

I repaired the original sun visors because they were becoming flimsy. While doing so I installed a HOME LINK (garage door operator control) that I borrowed from a 2004 S80 Volvo sun visor. A separate garage door control has always been a security issue for me. It was easier for me to install this system rather than asking my wife not to leave the garage door opener inside the car. This system is only operational with the key in the ignition position and the radio on. In order to Pair the control to a gate/garage opener you will need to refer to a Volvo operators manual.

We have a custom tonneau cover to cover the interior cabin when the top is in the down position. It was much easier to install for my wife when she was in class or we parked the car for a few hours when sightseeing in Santa Barbara.

While first owning the car I removed the intake manifold, intake plenum, timing chain tensioner, and accessible upper chain rails. At that time the still functioning odometer read 136,000 miles. I had the speedometer cleaned and rebuilt by North Hollywood Speedometer and set to zero at that time. So I estimate the true mileage of the vehicle to be approximately 179,183.

I have been using Castrol 20/50 GTX every 3,000 miles/annually service. I use NGK BP5ES spark plugs; German air/fuel filters/fuel hose and OEM gaskets in servicing the vehicle. I moved the air temperature sensor for the fuel injection from the intake horn of the air cleaner to the right wheel well. The purpose of the sensor was intended to sense the ambient air temperature. I replaced all of the fuel injectors with new Bosch injectors on one of the occasions that I replaced all of the fuel line hoses, injector seals and retainers. The alternator I replaced  in 20013. The drive belts are Good Year Gator back replaced about 3 years ago.

I had the opportunity to replace the automatic transmission with a low mileage 1979 unit hat only had only 75,000 miles on it. At that time I installed new torque converter seals, flex drive disk and rear mount, serviced the transmission fluid and filter. I have been servicing the fluid and filter twice since then, the last time approximately 8,000 miles ago. The transmission has smooth positive shift characteristics, lockup and downshifts.

The car has a very effective wind screen ("LOVE THE DRIVE")for driving with the convertible top down, making conversation and radio enjoyment possible. The wind screen is very easily removed from the cargo area behind the seats without any modifications to the vehicle.

I replaced the convertible top about 2008. It is showing wear now but is still quite tight even when we go through the Costco car wash. We only get two small leaks at the top of the side windows where there is a meeting of two weather strips inherent to design of the frame of the convertible top. We both hold our wiping towels at the top of the glass of the side windows as we go through the car wash. I replaced both front seats and carpet in 2008 with GAHH kits as a close match to original.

The radio is an aftermarket radio C/D player with the same automatic retracting antenna that was on the car when I bought it in 2004. I did not modify the dash for this installation so that the original Becker Europa could be reinstalled if desired. Unfortunately I gave my Becker Europa to a customer that wanted it to reinstall in his SL.

I installed a manually operated glove box light repurposed from a Mercedes dome light fixture. The switch for the light is integrated into the lamp fixture.

The hard top was replaced with another that I purchased when the car was painted several years ago. I used the best parts of both on the top that I kept. The only time I drove with the hard top on the vehicle is when it was in the paint shop. The hard top was painted at that time and has a new headliner and weather seals installed, it has been hanging from the ceiling in my home garage ever since that time. When the car was painted I replaced weather stripping, door seals, trunk seal and body moldings.

The engine is the original M117 4.5 liter longer stroke 8.8 compression ratio with the D Jetronic electronic fuel injection system; original non catalytic converter vehicle. I replaced all of the fuel injectors in 2015 during one of the periodic replacements of all of the fuel hoses. About the time after they stopped using true leaded fuel and started introducing more alcohol into the fuel it took a few years for the fuel line manufacturers to “catch up” with the improvement in fuel line material quality to deal with the different fuels. Prior to that time we were replacing fuel lines almost on an annual basis due to fuel leaking at the fittings. I up graded the ignition system to the Pertronixbreaker less ignition system eliminating the “bluing Points” issue that would occur so often with the original Bosch switching unit ignition system. The trigger contacts for the Electronic Fuel Injection system in the distributor were replaced at the same time. The exhaust system is standard original except I eliminated the resonator from under the vehicle with straight pipes so it only has the muffler at the rear of the vehicle. The exhaust sound is hardly indistinguishable from having the resonator omitted in the system, besides my wife thought it was a definite improvement to the roadster.

Condition disclosures:

Center console has a digital AM/FM C/D radio and speakers in the rear cargo area together with replacement 8 ohm front speakers in the original dash enclosures.. There is a crack on the left rear edge of the vinyl console. There are minor blemishes on the rear bumper chrome near the bumper guard. There is some chrome that has minor pitting. There was some rust at the right side of the trunk tool area that I repaired when I first purchased the car. There are close up pictures of the very good repair I did to this and no evidence exists that it has weakened the integrity of the trunk or tool area. The paint “moved” where I installed the chrome trim too soon at the rear deck area under the top. The original plastic trunk liner shows wear.

There is a minor bounce to the speedometer needle below 10 miles per hour that does not exist above that speed. I suspect that it is caused by the speed sensor for the cruise control located in line with the two sections of the speedometer cable. The cruise control drops several MPH then settles in and holds except on severe uphill climbs.

The cruise control; does work. If you are cruising at 70 MPH and “SET” the cruse it will settle down and hold at 64 MPH. I recognize the problem as being a weak anchor point for the end of the actuator cable at the throttle end that will require some reinforcement.

The turn signal lever holds and resets properly in both directions, but you are required to carefully lift the lever and place it into the right turn position for it to hold properly.

Vacuum lock system: I blocked off the gas cover door vacuum actuator. All of the rest of the system will hold vacuum lock and unlock for several days.

Odometer shows 43,183 miles, Actual mileage is approximately 179,183.

There is still a fuel vapor smell in the trunk when the tank is filled. After driving it disappears after the tank level lowers. I have replaced the vapor hoses twice after removing the trunk rear panel.

I installed a manually operated light inside the glove box repurposed from a Mercedes dome light fixture.

I have no problem having your Mercedes guy look the vehicle over prior to purchase.

I have more pictures of the mechanical underside of the vehicle by request.

Buyer responsible for all vehicle pick-up or shipping arrangements.

Item location:

Camarillo California

Ships to:

Local pick-up / to be completely arranged by the buyer.

Payments: Deposit required of US $1000.00 within 48 hours of auction close VIA PayPal

Full payment is required within 7 days of auction close


​Terms of Sale

The following terms of sale apply.

Payment Methods

Bank Wire Transfer or Cash. All funds must be in US dollars only. Please be sure to have full payment and/or approved financing in place before making your final bid. Vehicle and Title will not be released until the Wire Transfer/Cash are deposited and secured at my bank.


Buyer must contact us within 24 hours of accepted offer or close of bidding, and make arrangements for payment at that time. A $1000 deposit is due within 48 hours of purchase via eBay to secure the vehicle.

Payment of Balance Due

The remainder is due within 7 days. If no contact is made within 24 hours after close of auction or agreed offer, we reserve the right to re-list the vehicle or sell it otherwise. All financial transactions must be completed and secured before delivery of the vehicle.


The buyer is responsible for all shipping charges and arrangements. I assume no responsibility for damages incurred after leaving our premises. If the vehicle is going to be shipped, full payment must be received and secured before the vehicle is delivered to the shipping company.


This vehicle is being sold "As is" “Where is”. No representations or warranties are made by owner/seller, nor are any representations, disclosed in writing or verbal; or warranties relied upon by bidders in making bids.

Notice to Bidders

We reserve the right to cancel all bids and end the auction early should the vehicle be no longer be available for sale for any reason

Successful Bidder

The winning bidder will be contacted via email after the auction closes.

Non-Paying Bidder

If the deposit is not received within 48 hours of the close of auction or if the balance is not paid in full within 7 days following the close of auction, I reserve the right to re-list the vehicle or sell the vehicle to the next highest bidder or another qualified buyer.

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