The Day I met “Princess Grace” a.k.a. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

A new member completes the three pronged Mercedes-Benz Star collection in Byron’s Classic Car Garage!

1987 Mercedes-Benz 560 SL (R107.048/M.117.967)

Chassis R107 E 56, Engine M117 E 56

Technology & Luxury Made In Germany!

My newest acquisition, the 560 SL, tenderly nicknamed "Grace"

I start the new year 2011 with a nice addition in my classic car collection, in such a way that the three points of the Mercedes-Benz Star have now become balanced and complete; in other words I now have three M-B models: the modern 2009 GLK 300 (X204) Compact SUV with all-wheel drive (4-Matic) and the advanced G7 automatic gear-box, the elegant 1967 250 SL Coupé Automatic and now the 1987 560 SL (R107), a late model exported only to the US market, fitted with a powerful and torquey V-8 of 5.6 Liters. I named her “Grace” or “Princess Grace” or “Amazing Grace” for a number of reasons. First is about her color, the DB 441, “Desert Taupe” or “Impala Brown” or “hellbeige” in German, supplemented by impeccable creamy leather interior. There is no doubt about her being a blond! Second reason, pertains to her timeless, quite graceful design cues of the R107 body (a replacement of the 230/250/280 SL’s a.k.a “Pagode” or W113); a long lived elegant “Sport Leicht” model produced from 1971 up to 1989, being the second longest single series ever produced by Daimler-Benz A.G., after the G-Class.

Grace Kelly driving a cabriolet in the movie "To Catch a Thief" ca. 1955

Although a “muscle car” of 5,549 c.c. pumping out 227 hp SAE (169 kW) @ 5,200 rpm’s and with a massive torque of 287 lb·ft (389 N·m) @ 3,500 rpm’s, all mated to a smooth 4-speed automatic gearbox, this car is very easy and comfortable to drive. Some of the most famous celebrities, iconic symbols of the American dream, could be seen in films or TV series sitting behind the wheel of an R107 SL: Bobby Ewing in Dallas, Richard Gere in American Gigolo, Jonathan Hart in Hart to Hart and even Eddie Murphy, in the first Beverly Hills Cop. A real star on four wheels that fully lives up to the Mercedes-Benz name, a fact well appreciated by many Hollywood stars, men and ladies alike. I am pretty sure that had Her Serene Highness The Princess Grace of Monaco been alive through the 1980’s, (she died on September 14, 1982, two months before her 53rd birthday, when she lost control of her automobile and crashed after suffering a stroke in the mountainous roads of the Riviera), she would drive an R107!

This particular example was a Southern California car since new, had only 35,000 miles on the clock and came with a full service history; she is 100%

560SL engine bay: 5.6 Liters ready to unleash the cavalry at the press of the accelerator pedal!

original and unmolested. The previous owner had the car inspected and fully refurbished by the Southern Ca. M-B specialist Brian Peters of Motoring Investments who replaced the ugly US spec bumpers and headlights, by fitting new and expensive EU spec ones. While at it, the air con compressor, receiver dryer and Behr radiator were replaced with OEM items, plus a set of four new Bilstein’s along with a steering damper were fitted. All drive belts, liquids, cosmetics and detailing were taken care of regardless of cost, which came to over US$ 20,000.00. The car comes with “as new” hardtop cum its stand on casters, and a perfect condition soft-top; prerequisites to enjoy driving comfortably this smooth beauty all year round. But the sheer joy I am looking forward to is springtime in sunny Greece. I will take  my wife Ivi and “Grace” for a long trek in mountainous roads either in northern Greece or the Peloponnese.

Here is a video presentation of the R107 class from the “Mercedes-Benz Fascination” series:

Having taken delivery of the car on a rainy evening of 3rd January 2011, I did not have as yet the opportunity to road test her sufficiently. Hence we plan to go on a short excursion this coming week-end to mountainous Lakonia on the Peloponnese. Hope that the weather will be kind and spare us from heavy rains or snow.

560SL in Vouliagmeni with the top down

560SL: interior as seen with the top down

560SL: interior detail

560SL: the view from the driver's seat

My R107 in mountainous Lakonia-Jan 2011, here with the hardtop fitted.

When two ladies meet: my wife tames "Grace" for the first time :-)

Digging Deeper…on the 560SL Options codes I managed to decode the various factory options from the metal plate as follows:

  • 441 – Impala metallic color

The Options Code metal plate

  • 442 – airbag in steering wheel (from 01.02.1980 up to 31.10.1993)
  • 494 – California version
  • 506 – outside rear view mirror, left and right, heated (electrically adjustable on the right) (l.h.d.) (from 01.10.1983 up to 31.03.1989)
  • 519 – Becker radio Grand Prix electronic cassette – USA (from 01.08.1980 up to 30.11.1990)
  • 531 – automatic antenna (from 01.01.1963)
  • 551 – anti-theft warning system (from 01.11.1978 up to 31.03.1998)
  • 581 – automatic climate control (from 01.01.1977)
  • 262 – elimination of rear end spoiler (from 01.01.1978 up to 31.10.1989)
  • 807 – Change of year of model, last figure shows new model year

General specifications
Country of origin: Germany
Numbers built: 49347
Produced from: 1985 – 1989

Engine
Configuration: M 117 E 56 90º V8
Location: Front, longitudinally mounted
Construction: light alloy block and head
Displacement: 5.547 liter / 338.5 cu in
Bore / Stroke: 96.5 mm (3.8 in) / 85.0 mm (3.3 in)
Compression: 9.0:1
Valvetrain: 2 valves / cylinder, SOHC
Fuel feed: Bosch KE-Jetronic Fuel Injection
Aspiration: Naturally Aspirated
Power: 230 bhp / 172 KW @ 4750 rpm
Torque: 373 Nm / 275 ft lbs @ 3250 rpm
BHP/Liter: 41 bhp / liter

Drivetrain
Chassis: unitary steel
Front suspension: double wishbone, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, supplementary rubber suspension, torsion bar stabilizer
Rear suspension: twist-beam axle, telescopic shock absorbers, coil springs, supplementary rubber suspension, torsion bar stabilizer
Steering: recirculating ball, power assisted
Brakes: ventilated discs front, solids rear
Gearbox : 4 speed Automatic
Drive: Rear wheel drive

Dimensions
Weight: 1715 kilo / 3780.9 lbs
Length / Width / Height: 4580 mm (180.3 in) / 1790 mm (70.5 in) / 1300 mm (51.2 in)
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r):  2455 mm (96.7 in) / 1465 mm (57.7 in) / 1466 mm (57.7 in)

Performance figures
Power to weight: 0.13 bhp / kg
Top Speed: 223 km/h (139 mph)
0-60 mph: 6.8 s
0-100 mph: 19.6 s

5 comments on “The Day I met “Princess Grace” a.k.a. 1987 Mercedes-Benz 560SL

  1. Pingback: Mercedes-Benz R107 SL-Class Roadster

  2. I own her twin……also named grace……but with grace slick in mind…..enjoy…..I love my little girl……I live in TX and am 61……wanted an al first time I saw it……prettiest car ever made……..get compliments every time I go some where……….wish I could take mine to your Guy for complete refurbish………anywho….

    • Thanks for your comment PJE,
      I consider ourselves lucky to live in sunny, dry places like Texas and Athens and have such wonderful/graceful ladies in our hands to drive them ‘al fresco’ :-)
      Best wishes for a wonderful new year 2012 with unlimited, trouble free miles for both our cars, ourselves and loved ones!

      Byron

  3. I bought my teal green ’87 560 from it’s original owner in San Francisco, CA. She gets a lot of attention here in Southern California because of her not often seen color. She has palomino interior with a black top. Very striking. These vehicles are examples of a time long gone of quality, style and uniqueness.

    • Thanks for the comment Grant, can we see any pictures of your SL? If you have posted on Facebook, Flickr or elsewhere, do provide a link.
      Enjoy your car as much as I am enjoying mine! :-)

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