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Autotrader Find: 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Manual

One of the biggest pet peeves of car enthusiasts is when sellers list automatic transmission vehicles as manuals — something that happens far too often on car sales websites, forcing enthusiasts to individually check photos to verify the actual transmission. Well, here’s a car that’s almost always an automatic, but it’s listed as a manual — and no, it isn’t a mistake. This is a 1990 Mercedes-Benz 300SL with a 6-speed manual transmission.

Here’s the basic gist of the situation. The "R129" Mercedes SL made its debut in the United States for the 1990 model year, and it was sold through 2002. When it first debuted, two engines were offered: a 228-horsepower 6-cylinder (the 300SL) or a 322-hp V8 (the 500SL). Although the V8 was only available with an automatic, you could get the 6-cylinder either way: manual or auto. In 1994, the 3.0-liter 6-cylinder was replaced with a 3.2-liter, and the manual went away.

That means the number of stick-shift R129 SL models is pretty low: it was only available on the 6-cylinder version, and only from 1990 to 1993 — four model years. This is one of those rare models: a 1990 300SL with three pedals and a true manual transmission between the seats. Finished in black with a black interior, it’s offered by Brink Fleet in Lubbock, Texas, with 127,000 miles for $18,500.

Although some car enthusiasts may not like the flashy aftermarket wheels this car wears, it is otherwise a nice specimen of the 300SL — and given how infrequently manuals come up for sale, it might be worth a close look if you’ve ever wanted one. Find a Mercedes-Benz SL for sale

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