Car Care Tips for your Classic Mercedes Benz 380SL
Old school is cool. This is what most people would think when they see your Mercedes Benz 380SL. Produced from 1971 to 1989, the SL is one of the longest running modern Mercs ever. To be in the market for such a long period, it only means that it is one of the best there is. The 380SL's timeless appeal and durability makes it one of the most popular classic vehicles among the newbie Mercedes Benz collectors. To be able to maintain your 380SL's excellent running condition and timeless look, proper maintenance and upkeep must be done. Don't worry because you won't have to dig a hole in your pocket to properly maintain your car. You'd be surprised how simple and easy the tips listed below are.
- Keep the paintwork in excellent condition.
The body of your 380SL is made of thick steel several times stronger than what modern car bodies are made of. Your car's body is one of its strengths, which is sadly also one of its weaknesses since the steel is prone to rust, especially around its corners, rocker panels, and fender wells. To prevent your car's body from rusting up, make sure to give it a good washing weekly. Wash away dirt, bug spatter, grime, and bird poop with water and a good-quality car shampoo. Polish it with wax at least once every three months for added protection against the sun, rain, snow and any kind of dirt. You can put wax more often on colder months. Also, pay special attention to scratches and chips. They may look minute at first, but rust can start from there. Applying rust protection treatments will do the job.
- Keep the soft top clean always.
If you are using the soft top often, it is best that you keep it in excellent condition too. Your 380SL's original soft top is made of German canvas. It is water proof and lasts for quite a while if you know how to take care of it. A sure fire way to make your soft top last longer is to keep it clean all the time. However, make sure that you use the right cleaner for your soft top. Don't use regular household cleaner as it can damage the canvas. For added protection, you can use high-quality convertible top protectant.
- Keep the interiors free of dirt and stains.
Your convertible's interior, be it leather or vinyl, is very much prone to drying out and cracking because of too much exposure to the sun. Taking care of your car's interior includes wiping the upholstery with a good-quality leather or vinyl cleaner. Same with your soft top, a regular household cleaner is not recommended for use as it can damage the surface of your upholstery. Use only automotive grade interior shampoo to remove dirt and stains. Applying leather balm or vinyl protectant will also help in prolonging the life of your interiors. It will also keep your interiors looking like new, good, and shiny.
Mercedes-Benz 380SL: The Story of a Legendary Roadster
Only a few automakers are capable of truly combining elegance and power in cars. Mercedes-Benz, when it created its SL Series in 1954 to address long driving needs, was able to manufacture a vehicle two and a half decades later that was lavish and powerful enough that it equally competed with the Jaguar and the BMW 6 Series. Five years was all that the Mercedes-Benz 380SL had, but it definitely ushered the German automaker toward creating cars that were safer, more potent, and more stylish.
1980 – 1982: Being elegant in being square
Labeled as the fourth generation of the Mercedes-Benz SL Series, the 380SL was a sport lightweight vehicle that could tear through a 100-meter distance at approximately nine seconds. With its conventional, watercooled engine that could produce 218-horsepower and 224-pound-feet of torque, it was even able to surpass its nine-second record by 0.8 seconds. Easy handling was provided by the independent front and rear suspension, which had a double wishbone configuration and a diagonal pivot swing axle. It had a 4-speed automatic transmission, and the model had an overall top speed of 127-mph. A vehicle this powerful needed to appropriately look great, which was the reason why it was a convertible with doors that could open upwards like a bird. The styling was elegant and just right for drivers who wanted to look cool on the road whether with the soft top or hard top on.
1983 – 1985: Adding more power and ensuring safety
During this three-year duration, the evolution of the 380SL focused on performance and safety. The vehicles were equipped with the first electronic type of antilock braking system available in America. Also, the engine was made all aluminum and had a displacement capacity of 3.8 liters; this V8 was rated at 155-horsepower, a downgrading that resulted to the models losing some of their appeal to enthusiasts. Despite this power reduction, the units had driver-side front airbags for added security. The units could still assault curves with surprising sharpness, which was a good sign of performance despite their squarer look.
Through the five years of the reign of the 380SL, some of its greatness was never lost. It was equipped with 14-inch alloy wheels and four-wheel disc brakes, and the model still had a reputable size: a 96.9-inch wheelbase, a length of 172.8 inches, a height of 51.2 inches, and a width of 70.5 inches. The 19.8 gallons of fuel tank capacity was big enough to drive for several miles, which was what the model was originally made for.