mmosbey New Reader
Dec. 3, 2010 10:26 p.m.

I'm trying to pick out a car. Two models are unfamiliar, but are seeming to capture more of my attention.

One is the R107. It is somewhat true to the traditional sports car layout, but I've read that it's heavy. It's almost impossible to find a manual transmission in the US. I have to admit, I absolutely love the looks.

The other is the E24. There's more space here, but it looks downright big - in a bad way even. I think BMW cared more about handling than MB did at the time. I liked my first-gen SHO, and I wonder if the bimmer is going to feel as massive.

I've not found an example of either close enough to warrant a test drive.

Any advice? I don't need a ton of space, and I'd like a car that is, and that feels, nimble and quick. Sporting character is a priority for me. I have a roomy SUV to play backup, if I need it.

benzbaron HalfDork
Dec. 3, 2010 11:06 p.m.

Which model 107 are you looking for sl or slc? You can find euro spec cars with manuals if you know which rock to look under. How much are you looking to spend? I don't think anyone ever called a mercedes r107 nimble or quick but they can be fun. A 280sl with a 5 speed is pretty rare but you can find one for between 8-10k. The one I'd want is a proper 500slc, they can be had for as little as 5-7k and you will never see another on the road. A homologation race car for a decent price. No manual but you can use the auto shifter to put the car into lower gears and have it hold the gears.

grimmelshanks HalfDork
Dec. 3, 2010 11:53 p.m.

e24 what? 633csi? 635csi? m6?

Sonic Dork
Dec. 4, 2010 12:11 a.m.

E24's make me nurse a semi. As for R107s, my 67 year old mom likes them...she had a 75 450SL when new. Though, I'd like to take a 450SLC as a LeMons car.

E24 FTMFW! I have happy dreams about an E24 o4 XJS with an LSX swap.

Although this is somewhat appealing

nderwater HalfDork
Dec. 4, 2010 12:36 a.m.

These two have style in spades, but I have yet to drive an E24 which I enjoyed more than its E28 and E30 siblings. I feel the same way about the current 6-er's too - they're powerful and nice inside and out, but too heavy and soft for my liking.

oldtin Dork
Dec. 4, 2010 8:15 a.m.

I've had a euro 380 sl and e28. The 380 was cool for the drop top. As a drivers car, no comparison. The 380 was more similar to a Buick. I'd take an e24 to live with. There's also decent support through Not sure on the Benz. My ownership was pre interwebz.

Dec. 4, 2010 12:02 p.m.
Sonic wrote: E24 FTMFW! I have happy dreams about an E24 with an LSX swap.

Me, too.

benzbaron HalfDork
Dec. 4, 2010 1:53 p.m.

For support on the mercedes you can get all aftermarket parts you want as long as they are stock. There really isn't a performance scene surrounding the r107, but there is a race team Silver arrow racing who races a 500slc.

New video here:

I don't really think the same type of person will be attracted to the r107 as the bmw 6. The 6 will have much more support in getting the car prepared to handle, while working on the mercedes you are pretty much on your own. I hear a bigger front and rear sway bars with larger mounts and lowering will help these big cars handle but it isn't a bmw and never will be one. The best thing you can do for an older r107 is suspension mounts and bushing, really improves handling.

The euro 380 m116 engine was one of the better engines mercedes put in these cars, 200hp all alloy engine, but if it still was sluggish as Oldtin says to hell with it.

Jan. 4, 2011 1:19 a.m.

Interesting you post this, as I was wrestling with the same question up until today.

As I see it, both cars have gorgeous bodies, but are heavy and not that quick. You're not going to race a little rice rocket in either of them -- but you're going to look a hell of a lot better. I give the 635CSi a slight edge in looks, but just barely. The R107 is a convertible, but 99% of the time when I see them on the road, they have the top up, probably because after 30 years they aren't so tight. So that's not a big difference. Supposedly the E24s get better gas mileage. I've seen people call the R107 an old person's car, and that was probably true when they were new. Nowadays the R107s are basically classic cars, so rather than looking old they look retro - which in my opinion is cool (I'm 32 for what it's worth).

The big difference I do see in these cars is price and availability. Wikipedia says 86k E24s were made compared to 237k R107s over double as many years. In my local market (SF Bay) at least, I found a lot more R107s to choose from. Since I was interested mostly in the 560SL, the number of cars was more equal. However the average mechanical condition of the R107s seemed a lot better, and the prices somewhat lower. In the price range I was willing to pay (under $5k), I did not find any E24s in good mechanical condition.

So today I bought a 1988 560SL with 125k miles. Seems in at least decent good condition (only mechanical issue is slight hesitation off the line when cold), great body & interior, and I snagged it for $3500.

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