The Mercedes 560SL is a roadster based on the R107 platform, which replaced the W113 SL-Class (Pagoda) in 1971. The SL continued its tradition of a 2-seat convertible with standard soft top, optional hardtop and optional folding rear seats. 560SL was a biggest engine on this platform introduced largely for the US market. Other roadster (SL) variants of the R107 chassis included the 280SL, 350SL, 380SL, 450SL and 500SL.
The US models of R107 sported distinct looking quad headlights. In 1974 front and rear bumpers added 8 inches (203 mm) of rubber on each end to comply with the U.S. regulations.
350SL / 450SL (1972 – 1980)
The R107 carried over the double-wishbone front suspension with a new improved trailing arm rear suspension. Engine choices were either the Pagoda's familiar 2.8-liter straight six or the 3.5-liter V8. In North America the only engine available was the 4.5-liter V8 coupled a three-speed automatic transmission. Despite the 4.5 liter engine size the 1972 US models were badged as 350SL.
380SL / 500SL (1981 – 1985)
For 1981 the 4.5-liter engine was dropped in favor of a new all-aluminum 3.8-liter V8 and the designation was promptly changed to 380SL. In Europe a 5.0-liter version of that engine was introduced (as 500SL) and a few of these trickled into the United States via the gray market.
560SL (1986 – 1989)
In 1986 Mercedes introduced its biggest engine – a new 5.6-liter aluminum V8 with 238 horsepower and 287 pound-feet of peak torque. This was mated with a new four-speed automatic transmission. Total production from 1986 through 1989 came to 37,218 units. With its sleek looks and solid build quality 560SLs are getting popular with casual drivers seeking to buy a classy yet reliable convertible.