Mercedes-Benz R129 SL-Class Facts and Figures (1990-2001)

Posted by Jacob Stobnicki on

R129 SL-Class SL600

Original MSRP Prices

The Mercedes-Benz R129 SL-Class is the successor to the earlier R107 SL-Class Mercedes that had a long production run from 1971-1989. The R107 was such a popular series of Mercedes that they decided to keep producing it from 1986 to 1989, just before the R129 was revealed. First revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in 1989, the R129 had to really be impressive in order to trump the previously held notion of the R107 being the best SL to date.

The release was extremely surprising, considering the high price point that the they were starting at. First being sold in 1990, the 300SL, 300SL-34, and 500SL were the first models to see the streets. The 1990 300SL debuted with a hefty price tag of $73,500 (compared to $64,230 for the 1989 560SL R107) and the 1990 500SL started at $83,500. That’s a whopping $164,400 in 2022 dollars for a 300SL and $186,700 for a 500SL! At such a high price point for the base models, the R129 Series was certainly expected to be a premium ride.

Prices steadily rose until 1995, when the R129 underwent its first facelift. Starting with 1996, prices jumped up with the introduction of the facelift and again, steadily rose from there.

Here is a list of some of the original MSRP prices:

Year 300SL 500SL 600SL 320SL SL320 SL500 SL600
1990 $73,500 $83,500
1991 $78,500 $89,300
1992 $83,500 $97,500
1993 $83,300 $98,500 $119,500
1994 $99,500 $120,100 $85,200
1995 $89,500 $120,100 $78,300
1996 $78,300 $89,900 $123,200
1997 $79,600 $89,900 $123,200
1998 $79,900 $125,000
1999 $81,100 $126,900
2000 $82,600 $128,950
2001 $83,800 $128,950
2002 $83,800 $128,950

Production Numbers and US Sales

The production for the R129 Series is staggering when compared to the earlier R107 Series. The total number of R129s produced for model years 1990 through 2001 was 204,940.  That’s over the course of 11 years; now compare that to the 18 year run of the R107. Between the model years of 1971 and 1989, a total of 237,287 R107 SLs were produced.

The R129 production was about 23,000 vehicles shy of the total R107 production in a shorter time period. Broken down by each model of the R129, the SL500 is by far the most common vehicle, especially because its production period was as long as the entire lifespan of the R129 itself.

Below is the production numbers by model:

Model Designation Production Period Units
SL280 R129 E28 1993-1998 10,319
SL280* R129 E28 1997-2001 1,704
300SL R129 E30 1988-1993 12,020
300SL-24 R129 E30 1988-1993 26,984
SL320 R129 E32 1993-1998 32,223
SL320* R129 E32 1997-2001 7,070
500SL R129 E50 1988-1998 79,827
500SL** R129 E50 1997-2001 23,704
600SL R129 E60 1991-2001 11,089
SL55 AMG R129 E55 1999-2001 ***
SL65 AMG R129 E60 AMG 1993-1998 ***
SL73 AMG R129 E73 1999-2001 ***

*Contains V6 Engine

**Contains M113 Engine

***Numbers not documented

R129 SL Prices Today

The R129 has aged quite well and some pristine vehicles can sell for what seems like an excessive amount of money. For example, check out this 2002 SL-600 Silver Arrow Edition that sold for $127,000 on Bring a Trailer! It only had 270 miles on the odometer and is 1 of 100 R129s produced with the Silver Arrow Package. Brand new, this car had an MSRP of $136,195.

Now that we’ve seen what a pristine special edition R129 will sell for, what will your average R129 sell for? For your basic option R129, most vehicles will sell between the $10,000 and $35,000 range according to Bring a Trailer. Mileage is a key factor in how much you can buy a used SL for, but also the condition of the interior and exterior. Many of the warmer climates also have better values, as rust and salt damage from the cold climates can greatly affect the value of the vehicle. The interior is much easier to restore and repair than exterior rust or damage, which is why climate has such a large factor in pricing. Some minor pricing factors may be paint and interior colors, but they do have some effect on the price, especially if they are limited edition colors.

Interior Color Options

As far as the interior color options go, the R129 had plenty of options to choose from. The most common interior colors to find on an R129 are both black and mushroom. As your vehicle ages, these colors may lighten or fade due to exposure to the sun and weather. Each interior may age differently based on the different conditions that each car is exposed to. Our R129 aftermarket products come in all nine of these interior colors, and are an exact match to the original OEM color.

Mercedes-Benz R129 SL-Class Interior Color Guide

If you are unsure about which color your car is, please contact us for assistance! You also may be able to decipher which color your car is based on the year, for example a 1994 SL500 with a gray interior would be the "Gray" color, while a  2000 SL500 with a gray interior would be "Orion Gray". The same thing goes for the two beige colors, "Mushroom" and "Java".


Do you own an R129 SL? If so, leave a comment below! Which color is your interior and exterior? Do you enjoy how it drives? Let us know!

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  • I own a 95 and a 99. 99 has the pano and sport roof. Hate the wet distributor caps on the 95, but when it runs, it is great. The 99 has the M113 engine, more reliable, but body and interior part integrity not as good. Both fun to drive, and both turn heads.

    Tom Sharar on
  • I admire your description that you guys have highlighted. Definitely some good points of the R129. I have dedicated my life to the R129 and can gratefully say that I own most of the models to this day in between all of the production years and it is truly difficult to say which is the best. From the 300sl-24 to the last model sl600… it is impossible to claim which version is the best, since they are all fantastic in their own unique way!

    R129specialist on
  • I own a Mercedes Benz SL320, R129 (March 2001) in pristine condition.
    It has Orion Grey interior, Napa grey leather upholstery, and Brilliant Silver exterior. The hard top is the all-glass sun-dimmed affair and with the electric soft top, all in great working condition.
    The arrival of the ULEZ where I live in West London has been a real pain as my car is just over the 0.7 level for NO, N20 gases (according to my Letter of Conformity from MB) so every excursion out of Chiswick costs me £12.50 for the 200 metres or so that I drive in before I leave the ULEZ – galling!
    I do enjoy driving it and it looks great. It regularly receives plenty of compliments from those who appreciate a fine looking design, oozing with style and panache, and sadly not really repeated by Mercedes Benz in more recent models…IMO.

    Bob Freedman on
  • I owned low mileage SL500’s from 95, 98, and 99. The motors changed from 95 to 98. Earlier models had two distributors each serving 4 cylinders. By the 98 model each cylinder was governed by it’s own solenoid. This allowed the engine to run on just 6 cylinders when cruising. Interiors were updated through the models. As music options evolved, so did the SL500 sound systems. In 95 the center console was reserved for cassette tapes. By 98 the radio included a CD changer which lived in the trunk. Eventually the cassette player was discarded. The 95 interior was frustrating. You could not adjust the rear view mirror by hand. It had to be electronically adjusted and remembered. What a pain while driving ! Coffee cup holders were and after-thought, mounted on the DOOR ! Obviously the engineers in Deutschland hadn’t yet heard of Starbucks !! Lock control of the trunk has been enigmatic for each of my models.

    Dr Tod on
  • I own a 1997 Mercedes Benz SL600 R129 I have the suction line from the compressor rebuilt 4 time and is leaking again. Shop said they could fix again. No one thing have have asking for a part number but I am not sure if they know to look up a part number ? The last part number was 129-320-75- 72. If the number has chassis plus model the first two numbers should be " 129-600-" then the last two sets of numbers are the parts.

    Robert Jensen on

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