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  1. #1
    wilkinmk
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    1972 350SL: good idea or bad?

    Am considering the purchase of a 1972 350SL with less than 20K on the odometer. Seeking advice on whether it's a good idea or not. I'm a patient person with a pretty good understanding of what old car ownership entails, though it would be my first old car. I'm under no delusions that the car's low mileage means it will not require steady maintenance. So far on this board, I see nothing that scares me away from the car. (Good thing it's not a 380...) Looking for advice from experienced early- and mid-70s SL owners about whether this is a good car to own or not.


  2. #2
    C.D.iesel
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    1972 350SL: good idea & bad

    the down side is that the Bosch fuel injection system is the early electronic type. Very dependent on good wiring, good tight pin connections, no brittle broken wires. Good ground connections, good resistance value system temp/water/air sensors for good computer brain control. It's a very old system that few to none have test equipment for anymore. That meens you'll need to fine a tech that you can coax out of retirement to make any injection system diagnosis . That's just for the motor fuel /ignition system. The rest of the car is normal OLD German Car restoration practice. Costly labor if your not a technician. No problen for any parts needed.

    LOOK FOR RUST - MOST IMPORTANT !

    2 TOPS SHOULD BE PRESENT

    GREAT CAR BECAUSE NO CATALIST CONVERTERS IN THE WXHAUST SYSTEM ,
    AND HAS SMALL LIGHT WEIGHT BUMPERS. THAT CAR BRAND NEW WAS JUST $10,000 WHEN IT HIT THE EAST COAST SHOWROOM.

    and by the way: all USA 350SL's were really 4.5 liter motors. Letters were sent to early buyers offering them 4.5 badges for the trunk lid.

    Look in the owners manual for an IBM card listing all the production numbers or a metal i.d. warranty plate in with the owners booklets. A 117 motor number is 4.5 liter motor. A 116 motor number is a 3.5 liter motor. if the car has a stick-shift std. trans ?, it's a european model. Only Automatic Trans was offered in the US.

  3. #3
    wilkinmk
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    Re: 1972 350SL: good idea & bad

    Thank you for your insight. I'll be sure to have my mechanic look carefully at those components. The car was delivered in November 1971, so it's definitely an early one, but it's all stock, all US-market: 4.5L, auto. If you were buying, would you truck it 1200 miles, or drive it? (I want to drive it but I also want to preserve the low mileage).

  4. #4
    C.D.iesel
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    drive it and enjoy it.

    post some photos of it when you can.

    c.d.

  5. #5
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    Re: 1972 350SL: good idea or bad?

    In addition to the good points that C.D.iesel mentions, on a 33 year old car like this your probably going to need to replace the shocks if they are originals. I recommend the Bilstein Heavy Duty (not Sport) shocks. I just put a set on the 72 that I'm going to inherit in a few weeks, and they firm up the handling at little or no penalty in ride quality.

    You also want to have the engine, transmission and differential mounts inspected along with the front and rear subframe bushings. If these are originals, they will most likely be deteriorated from age, not mileage. If the rear of the car is sagging, it could be the springs, but is more likely the differential mounts. Look for a lot of play in the steering wheel. This can sometimes be adjusted out of the recirculating ball system, but may require a new steering box if the deterioration is too great. In the steering you also want to have the steering coupler inspected. If you take care of all these things, along with various suspension bushings, etc., an old loose feeling car will become very stable and controlled, even at speeds well over 100 mph. These are not sports cars, but they are remarkably comfortable and effective as long distance, high speed cruisers, even by today's standards.

    Aside from the early fuel injection system, the engine mechanicals are pretty solid. The iron cylinder blocks are of a very hard material and are known to last many hundreds of thousands of miles. Likewise with the lower end. Typically, in the 150K - 200K mile range you will probably need to pull the heads and do a valve job. I know of a number of cases where these engines were disassembled at this mileage and the lower end and block were found to still be within factory specs.

  6. #6
    Rigo Tafur
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    Re: 1972 350SL: good idea & bad

    Hi
    I'm looking to buy a 1971 or 72 350 SL in the US to import it to Colombia , South America.
    Because of the import laws and taxes IT HAS TO BE A 1971 or a 72.
    How can you tell the year of the car out of the 14 digit VIN number .
    I would appreciate a reply or a VIN Decoder URL , I don't want to buy the wrong car ( year model )
    Thanks
    Rigo Tafur

  7. #7
    kaf
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    Re: 1972 350SL: good idea or bad?

    I have a 1972 280 SE 4.5 Mercedes. Know anyone interested? Great for parts.

  8. #8
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    1972 350SL: good idea & bad

    there is a production plate just inside the drivers door
    frame which has the month and year stamped.

    There is another sticker next to the hood latch,
    on the radiator frame that will state " this vehicle comforms to
    model year ____ Emission Controls.

    No model year 1971 350/450 SL's sold in the USA - smaller 280
    SL was in it's last year of sale

    1972 was the first model year - and with 'small bumpers'
    1973 also last year for small bumpers
    1974 first year for big USA impact bumpers

    1972 will have electronic fuel injection, and no catalitic converter,
    and finding one in excellent running condition will be a challange
    because of the frailty of the wiring, and injection components.

    The USA 1972 350SL really has a 4.5 litre motor.
    MBMA mailed out notices to all owners that a "450SL"
    trunk badge was available.

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    Re: drive it and enjoy it.

    ive a 1971 350sl 54k miles every time i replace a part 2 more fail. great fun to drive w/ it runs [fast as heck toboot] but i turn the wrench more than the tires

  10. #10
    735iGuy
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    Are you certain it has less than 20K miles?????

    Some cars odometers roll over. Don't know on the 72 350SL.

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    Re: 1972 350SL: good idea or bad?

    1974 450 sl any information would help...thinking of purchasing one...

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    Are you certain it has less than 20K miles?????

    no rollover - the SL will go to 999,999 before it 'rolls over'

    and speedos were very reliable

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    SL BUYERS GUIDE

    do a search on Motorbooks International - "Classic Motorbooks"
    there are M-B SL buyers guides there - and in most BIG Box Book stores in you mall - AUTOMOTIVE SECTION

  14. #14
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    Re: SL BUYERS GUIDE part II



    Mercedes-Benz SLs & SLCs 1971-1989 Ultimate Portfolio

    Author: R M CLARKE
    This book replaces our previous title on Mercedes highly popular and collectible SL series of sportscars. This upgraded book now has 52 articles drawn from the leading publications of the day covering road and comparison tests, owners survey, model introductions, buying guide and technical data. Models reported on are: 350SL & SLC, 380SL & SLC, 450SL & SLC, 500SL, AMG, 560SL.

    Format: Softbound
    Pages: 208
    Length: 8.5w x 10.5h
    ISBN: 1855206773
    Catalog ID: 138902


    Regular Price: $37.95

    Discount Price: $28.46

    Availability: Usually ships within 24 hours


  15. #15
    tat2dan
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    Re: 1972 350SL: good idea & bad

    i have a nice 72 87k miles 350sl 8000 obo 386 566 7781....let me know

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