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Mercedes-Benz SL 320 (R 129) designo

The backdrop was a high-profile première at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1989: the Mercedes-Benz SL in the R 129 series replaced its 18-year-old predecessor, the R 107. This model introduced such innovations as the automatically deployed roll-over bar, integral seats and the Adaptive Damping System (ADS) to the series. The engineers had succeeded in carrying over the high safety standard achieved in Mercedes-Benz saloons and coupés to the SL as well.
The draught stop enhances ride comfort. The air-permeable grille is attached to the roll-over bar in a jiffy and reduces wind noise and draughts to a minimum when deployed. Stylistically, the R 129 had an impressive, harmonious design that is still contemporary today. One of the fundamental innovations in the design was the revamped radiator grille.

The completely redesigned series was initially launched with the six-cylinder 300 SL (140 kW/190 hp) and 300 SL-24 (170 kW/231 hp) engines as well as a V8 version, the 500 SL (240 kW/326 hp). At its première, the 500 SL was the most powerful Mercedes-Benz production passenger car. In 1992, the 600 SL with a 290 kW (394 hp) V12 engine took over the top position of the R 129 series.

In June 1993, the type designations of the SL models were adapted to match the new nomenclature: from that moment on, the abbreviation „SL“ prefixed the three-digit number which designated the cylinder capacity. At the same time, the six-cylinder models were fitted with new engines. The result was the SL 280 (142 kW/193 hp) and the SL 320 (170 kW/231 hp). The SL 60 AMG with a power-boosted V8 engine and 280 kW (381 hp) was also offered from autumn 1993.
At the International Motor Show in Frankfurt in September 1995, Mercedes-Benz launched the visually and technically upgraded R 129 series. The new design affected the front and rear bumpers, colourless glass covers on the front indicators and the discreetly modified radiator grille. Side wall trim and bumpers were no longer painted in a contrasting colour, but in the colour of the vehicle. A glass roof with a sunblind was available on request instead of the usual aluminium hard top. Other new features included xenon headlamps with dynamic headlamp levelling and cruise control for 30 km/h zones. A newly developed five-speed automatic transmission was used on the top models SL 500 and SL 600.

As early as 1998, the Turin Motor Show saw the première of another updated SL model range which featured new V-engines with six and eight cylinders. The power spectrum ranged from the SL 280 (150 kW/204 hp) and the SL 320 (165 kW/224 hp) to the SL 500 (225 kW/306 hp). The top-of-the-range SL 600 model retained the proven M 120 twelve-cylinder engine. The SL 55 AMG (260 kW/354 hp) and the SL 73 AMG (386 kW/525 hp) with its performance-enhanced twelve-cylinder engine were launched as new AMG variants in 1999. Production of the R 129 series ended in July 2001. A total of 204,940 SLs in this series had been produced at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Bremen since 1989.

Mercedes-Benz SL 320 designo, year of construction 1996
This SL 320 from ALL TIME STARS, first registered in July 1996, features a very rare and exclusive designo paint and equipment combination: the special designo paint finish is in Variocolor green-blue, the exclusive designo interior is in two-tone leather in black and blue. The exquisite design corresponds to the very extensive trim level of the car, which is offered in the Collectors Edition of ALL TIME STARS: the SL 320 designo comes complete with air conditioning, electrically adjustable front seats with a memory function, rear seats, steering wheel in leather and wood and a leather-trimmed selector lever for the electronically controlled five-speed automatic gearbox. A special feature is the hardtop designed as a panoramic glass roof. This option was available for the R 129 from 1995. The original list price of this exclusive sports car was more than DM 200,000 in 1996.

The SL with a current speedometer reading of 64,100 kilometres had two previous owners. One of these was a Mercedes-Benz company that had registered the car for a day so that it was available with no delay for the customer. After being sold, the luxurious open two-door car remained with that one owner. ALL TIME STARS then acquired this beautifully maintained vehicle from that owner.

This SL 320 was the first variant of the sports car of this model: it was launched in 1993 and has the 170 kW (231 hp) in-line six-cylinder engine M 104 E 32 with 3,199 cc capacity, which is installed at an angle of 15 degrees to the right. In 1998 this engine was replaced by a V6 unit. As the successor to the 300 SL-24 of the R 129 series, the six-cylinder sports car recalls the great Mercedes-Benz SL tradition that began in the 1950s with the 300 SL racing sports car (W 194) and the production sports car of the same name (W 198). Or, as it said in the catalogue for the R 129 in 1995: „Legends come and go. Ours are still out on the road.“
This young classic from ALL TIME STARS is ideally suited to everyday use and is offered with a complete on-board folder containing the maintenance booklet and operating instructions as well as the vehicle tool kit. Prior to sale, the SL will undergo a full service in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications in an authorised Mercedes-Benz workshop which will include a new TÜV (MOT) and exhaust emissions test (HU/AU).

Provided with a 12-month warranty from ALL TIME STARS, the roadster is sure to give the future owner immense driving pleasure. This unique vehicle can be viewed in the ALL TIME STARS showroom on Level 0 of the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

No liability for printing and writing errors.
Subject to error and prior sale.

49.890 Euro
R 129
Year of construction
Odometer reading
64.100 Kilometer

Vehicle details

SL 320
R 129
64.100 Kilometer
Mercedes-Benz Museum
Collectors Edition
on request
on request
on request
49.890 Euro
plus value added tax according to 25 § a USTG

Technical details

231 PS
3.188 ccm
8.4 s
238 km/h
11,5 l

Individual configuration

designo Variocolor (green-blue)
Leather black


021 = designo Leather
022 = designo decorative trim
241 = Left front seat electrically adjustable with memory
242 = Right front seat electrically adjustable with memory
249 =Automatically dipping inside rear view mirror
260 = Elimination of model designation on rear lid
289 = Wood/leather steering wheel and leather gearshift
340 = Additional 3rd stop lamp
341 = Additional turn signal lamp
404 = Orthopedic front seat backrest, left
405  = Orthopedic front seat backrest, right
441 = Steering column, electrically adjustable
501 = Outside mirrors left and right with memory
512 = Radio MB Special with VK, RDS
551 = Anti-Theft/Anti-Break-In warning system
565 = Rear seats for SL model
645 = Winter tires M & S
740 = Folding Top Fabric Black
806 = Model year 1996
873 = Seat heating front
882 = Interior protection with anti-towing protection (only with EDW)

Vehicle history

Vehicle history: Mercedes-Benz SL 320 (R 129) designo

Visually and technically refreshed SL models were showcased at the Frankfurt International Motor Show in September 1995. The facelifted variants featured modified body styling, more comprehensive standard equipment and optimised engineering. The body styling had only been changed slightly, but redesigned front and rear bumpers, colourless glass covers on the front indicators and subtle changes to the radiator grill, now with only six slats, made the SL look even more dynamic. The side skirts and bumpers that were previously a contrasting colour were now body coloured and were fitted with the modified vents that were a distinctive feature of the facelifted models. Further new features were the bichromatic tail lights that appeared a uniform red and new, twelve-hole, alloy wheels that were fitted to all SL models as standard. A glass roof with sun-blind could also be fitted as an option instead of the usual aluminium hardtop. Inside, the door panelling, steering wheel and seat design had been modified.

Headlights with xenon-gas-discharge lights that had first been introduced in the new E-Class a few months previously were now also available in the SL-Class. Compared with conventional halogen headlights, the new xenon lights generated twice the intensity of light and consequently provided better, brighter illumination of the road ahead. Dynamic headlight range control prevented oncoming drivers from being dazzled. A world first was introduced simultaneously for the SL-Class and S-Class, Mercedes-Benz being the first vehicle manufacturer to launch cruise control for 30 km/h zones, which it fitted as standard on the facelifted SL models.

Other technical improvements related to the engines and transmissions of the SL 500 and SL 600 models. From September 1995, five-gear automatic transmission with a torque converter lockup clutch that had been developed from scratch came into use on both models to replace their previous transmission systems that had hydraulic control. At the heart of this technological marvel was an electronic transmission control unit which adapted gear-shifting rapidly and automatically to any given driving situation and which continuously exchanged data with the electronic engine management system. In addition to these pioneering innovations, the new automatic transmission was also much more compact and lighter than comparable five-speed transmissions. To further improve fuel consumption and reduce harmful emissions the engines underwent more revisions. The 5.0-litre V8 engine was given a modified crankshaft, an optimised valve control system, lighter pistons, dedicated ignition coils for each cylinder and an improved electronic engine management system of the Motronic ME 1.0 type. Modifications to the V12 engine were less extensive and affected only the arrangement of the ignition coils and the electronic engine management system. As a result of the various engine modifications and the use of the new automatic gearbox, it was possible to cut the SL 500 and SL 600 models‘ fuel consumption by 10 percent without affecting their performance.

September 1995 also saw the introduction of the ESP electronic stability programme as an option for both models. The system helped the driver to correct driving errors by automatically counteracting momentary instability through sensor-controlled brake intervention, thereby contributing to road safety. ESP was available as an optional extra on the SL 500 although it was already standard on the twelve-cylinder model.

The new automatic gearbox with electronic control also became available for the six-cylinder SL 280 and SL 320 models from June 1996 – as an optional extra on the 2.8-litre version but as standard on the SL 320. From December 1996, six-cylinder SL models with this gearbox could also be fitted with the ESP driving dynamics system. At the same time a new innovation had its world premiere as an additional active safety feature – Brake Assist, which was fitted as standard in all 129 and 140 models from December 1996. Brake Assist (BAS) is able to recognise emergency braking situations and, if required, to boost brake power to maximum more quickly than was previously the case, thereby shortening stopping distances considerably. In early April 1998, the ESP electronic stability programme was added to the standard equipment fitted to the SL 500 and SL 60 AMG models.

Other available vehicles of the series R 129

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Robert Forster

Head of Classic Car Trade ALL TIME STARS Purchase/Sales


Tel. +49 176 309 212 81