MB 500 SL

When the lease on my BMW 750i ended, I wanted something a little more sporty, since I no longer had any other cars. Both my wife and I needed new cars, so we walked into the MB dealer and leased 2 cars, a light blue Mercedes Benz 500 SL for me and a green 300 E for her.

This was the 4th generation of the roadsters. It had a 5.0L V8 engine that put out 322 hp and had both a hard-top and a retractable one. It was inconvenient to remove the hard top, but since I lived in Florida I rarely put it on. It was a great car.

The interesting new addition to the roadster was the automatic roll-bar deployment in the event of a roll over. I had no idea this existed till one day I was leaving the parking lot at the Post Office and I cut the corner to close. The rear wheel dropped from the curb and the Benz thought we were rolling over and the roll bar snapped up with a loud bang! I had no idea what happened and I stopped the car to see what I’d done. I couldn’t find any evidence of damage and I didn’t notice the roll bar being up, so I assumed there were gremlins in the car somewhere. A few weeks later I again jumped the curb somewhere and it happened again. This time, with the corner of my eye, I saw the roll bar deploy and the mystery was finally solved.

By now I had moved from Miami Beach and now lived in the Tampa Bay area, so I would drive to Miami once a month or so to visit friends. I noticed that the seats in the Benz were very firm, and if I had to spend more that a couple of hours, my back would suffer. The BMW definitely had more comfortable seats. I didn’t like the long drive, or maybe I was getting older and my body was not as forgiving.

The Benz was ideal for driving around town and going to the beach. I kept the car for the extent of the lease, then because I was planning on leaving the country, I turned it back in to the dealer.


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