1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL


Following the outbreak of the First World War in 1914, Europe’s car industry was decimated. In Germany both Daimler and Benz went back to producing cars post-war, however, times were tough. A merger between Daimler and Benz would ensure that both companies survived and following a technical co-operation agreement in 1924, the companies formally merged on the 1st July 1926. Mercedes-Benz was born!

Subsequently, Mercedes-Benz went on to build some of the greatest cars of all time. The cars from Stuttgart bearing the three-pointed star all had one thing in common . . . they were renowned for their technical innovation, build quality, luxury and performance.

In the 1950’s Mercedes-Benz produced one of the greatest cars of all time – the iconic 300 SL Gullwing and 300 SL Roadster. Whilst fabulous cars, they were very expensive and generally sold to the rich and famous. Mercedes wanted to build a sporting luxury car that still looked classical in the mould of the 300 SL, but it had to be affordable and the plan was to build such a car in far greater numbers than the exclusive 300 SL’s. Enter the Type W121 or 190 SL as it became known in the mid 1950’s. This model was an outstanding success and circa 25,000 cars were built over the next 8 years of production. The formula worked and Mercedes-Benz carried it on with great success in the 1960’s with the Type W113 230 SL / 250 SL / 280 SL models. This evolved into the Type R107/C107 280 SL(C) / 350 SL(C) / 380 SL(C) / 450 SL(C) / 500 SL(C) and 560 SL models built throughout the 1970’s and 1980’s.

In recent years the demand for these cars has skyrocketed, though the later cars have remained relatively affordable compared to the Type W113 models and present an excellent buying opportunity in today’s market.

A new arrival to Oldtimer Australia is this 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380 SL.

This is an Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example that was sold new by Yorkstar Motors in Sydney and it carries the Stock No. ID 24151. The Australian compliance plate is dated 11/81. This 380 SL is finished in the most stunning colour combination of austral silver metallic (colour code 735) with a pacific blue interior (upholstery code 132). This car has travelled only 120,790 km from new and it most likely carries its original paint and has its original trim.

The data card on file confirms that the car is ‘matching numbers’.

This Mercedes-Benz 380 SL has its complete book set and the service book notes that the car was delivered on the 14th December 1981 to its first owner, Thoroughbred Investments Pty Ltd, Timor Creek Stud, Murrurundi. The car was first registered as LPH 210 (NSW).  Given the first owner was a company it is not clear if this is a two owner or three owner car. Interestingly, the car was serviced from day one by Mercedes-Benz agent Grand Motors Pty Ltd in Southport on the Gold Coast.  Subsequently, the car has been maintained by G.W.A Motors in Ipswich, Mercedes Benz of Brisbane and Three Point Classic in Mt Gravatt (Brisbane). The car has been registered in Queensland for most of its life as 962 PKU.

This is a highly optioned car as confirmed by the factory data card on file.

The overall presentation of this car is excellent for an essentially original car that is 40 years old! The austral silver paintwork still retains a strong depth of colour and it carries a high gloss finish. There are a few blemishes here and there, most noticeable are a few rust bubbles underneath the 380 SL badge on the boot and a scrape from where the hardtop clips on at the back. Whilst the paintwork looks to be original it’s probably had some touch ups here and there over the years. All of the bright work, external trim, lights/lenses and the glass are in good condition. The wheels have recently been refurbished and they are unmarked and present like new. The wheels are fitted with new Supercat tyres date stamped 1520 all round. The hard top is in very good condition. The dark blue soft top is also in very good condition, though there is a small split between the rear and left side window. The soft top may well be original to the car and it looks to have been sparingly used.

The interior of these later Type R107 Benz’s is simplistic, yet very functional. Overall, the condition of the interior of the car is totally consistent with the exterior and that of a car that has only travelled just over 120,000 km. The upholstery is in very good condition, there are no rips, tears or any significant damage to the seats or the door cards.  The foam in the seats has withstood the journey of time and both seats retain their shape and support. All of the timberwork is in good condition. The dash in the car has cracked and this will be replaced prior to the car being delivered to its new owner. All of the instruments and controls, including the cruise control, are in very good condition and working order. Even the air condition works and blows cold air. A nice touch, and in keeping with the originality of this car, is that it still retains its original Becker radio cassette which is in working order.

The engine bay is very clean and its presentation is that of a well maintained car.  The under bonnet matting, which often disintegrates on these cars, is in very good condition.

The boot is neat, clean tidy and the spare wheel looks to have never been used. There is also an original tool kit, jack and safety triangle.

Turn the key and the car starts immediately and it idles smoothly. This Mercedes-Benz 380 SL drives as well as it looks. Select drive and off you go, effortlessly, it just glides down the road mile after mile. The car is firm on the road with no rattles or squeaks, belying its age, but consistent with its mileage. The engine pulls strongly through the rev range and the automatic gearbox shifts up and down smoothly. The car also handles, steers and stops exactly as one would expect. The car is an absolute delight to drive.

The car has been used sparingly in recent years and it has just been serviced and fully sorted by classic Mercedes-Benz specialist Three Point Classic.


  • an Australian delivered, factory right hand drive example.
  • sold new by Yorkstar Motors in Sydney.
  • finished in a STUNNING colour combination of austral silver metallic with a pacific blue interior.
  • hard top (silver) / soft top (dark blue).
  • today the odometer reads 120,388 km and the documentation on file confirms this is genuine.
  • the car has books, including its service book and some service receipts and two sets of keys.
  • always maintained by Mercedes-Benz or classic Mercedes-Benz specialists in more recent times.
  • just a beautifully presented, incredibly original car.

There were some great songs released in 1982 and you could just imagine cruising around the Hunter Valley with Men at Work’s ‘Down Under’ or perhaps Survivor’s ‘Eye of the Tiger’ belting out from the Becker stereo system . . . with the top down of course!

This beautifully presented Mercedes-Benz 380 SL is now offered for sale and ready for its next owner to use and enjoy.



  • -
  • Mercedes-Benz 380SL
  • 1981
  • Convertible
  • Auto
  • 120,790 km
  • 3818cc


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