Spotted in China: R129 Mercedes-Benz SL 600 & SL 320

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An extremely speedy Mercedes-Benz SL 600 sportmachine, Spotted in China near a second hand car market in the far east of Beijing. The once mighty car was in a sorry shape and seemed abandoned, staff at a nearby repair shop said they didn’t know anything about the car; it had been there for a while.

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The grille was broken, the tires deflated, and it was dusty and dirty, but absolutely savable, for someone with enough cash, time, and love. This R129 SL-Class was produced from 1989 until 2002 with a facelift in 1996. This particular car is an original pre-facelift example, fitted with the detachable hardtop.


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The interior looked pretty much the same as the exterior; in need of a lot of care. Seats were worn down and the wood was far too shiny. Still, everything was original, nothing really broken, so a good clean-up will do miracles.


The SL600 was the top of the line, bar a few very rare AMG variants. Power came from a ‘M120’ 6.0 liter V12 with an output of 390hp and 540nm.

The R129 was never officially exported to China so seeing one on the road is very special. We got a small collection: SL500, SL600 with friends, same SL600, an SL500 and another SL500.


The badge in dust!


And that day was my lucky because a few streets down the road I found yet another R129. This one is a facelifted SL 320, and in a much better shape. It drove all the way from southern Guangzhou, participating in an endurance rally. But how it ended up in that murky street is still a mystery…


What a difference with the SL 600! Exterior and interior in near perfect shape. Leather a bit worn but well maintained. The wood looks good. Everything original, nothing broken, and they even have a piece of cloth for more cleaning.


Optional AMG alloys fitted, with extra wide tires.


Black tonneau cover on, looking as new. Small windows on each side for a bit more rear-view visibility. The SL 320 was powered by a 3.2 liter six-in-line with an output of 220hp, by far not as much as the SL 600 but the engine was a lot lighter, making the difference in speed smaller than one would expect.


Still a bit dirty, but that’s the normal Beijing stuff.


Two mighty Benz’ in one day. It won’t get any better again…

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