Let me be surrounded by luxury, I can do without the necessities! (Oscar Wilde)
A Mercedes! Yes why not. But there is, imho, only a single V8 convertible model built by Mercedes, which has a factory-equipped manual transmission. The Mercedes 350SL, based on the W107 series. The last time I saw a W107 convertible up close, it was not really love at first sight. But sometimes you have to look twice! The more I started to engage with the W107 series, the more I liked the shape and lines. It was also clear that it should be a vehicle from the 80's, none of the early days of the 70's.
The spasmodic search for a suitable offer was ended by the statement of my friend Joachim. As a quality auditor at Mercedes, he advised me in confidence not to choose a manual transmission model. The automatic transmissions would definitely be the better choice. Dropping the manual transmission requirement, I started to hunt for SL500 models and ending up with the SL560 model, almost fully equipped by default.
Because the 560 was a export model only, we finally talking again about an US-car (besides the Japanese and the Aussies). Briefly evaluated the meaningfulness of a self-import with the related risks and costs, leading me to the decision to purchase a car at the domestic market. Armed with knowledge from literature and from the web, it was to find a seller of my confidence. Anyway, due to lack of expertise I can not judge the car down to the last screw, so I have to look at the seller more closely. 50% technical expertise - 50% gut feeling - that's my way of making deals and never failed so far.
At some point in time I then switched into the relax mode and let the whole thing happening. The promising offer will definitely appear. It wasn't an emergency case - I didn't need a car urgently.
Exactly - nautical blue metallic (code 929) with brown leather cover (code 274A). That's the name of the game! The vehicle was restored by the owner. Engine, transmission and chassis were already overhauled. Furthermore the car was already repainted in the original color and converted to EU look. On the phone, the seller made an honest and confidence-inspiring impression.
A week later in the Taunus hills - more precisely in a town named Oberursel - it happened on March, the 17th of 2017. A Swabian-Bavarian temple servant and a Greek star-cars trader were shaking hands. Yes, a test drive was done, yes the inspection on the jack lift was done. But finally, the gut feeling was decisive again - just a matter of trust.
With a mixture of joy and uncertainty, I was cruising 500km back home. Joy, because I really like this car - dark blue metallic and brown leather look just very classy. Uncertainty because I did not fully understand what I was getting into.
The vehicle was running very well. I had enough space inside and somehow I immediately got used to the cockpit. That was probably also due to my beloved 300D W124 Mercedes - who changed hands without permission of the owner. But that's a different story. Late in the evening I arrived in Rosenheim. A warning lamp for the coolant had started to flicker shortly before arrival.