SL stands for Sport Leicht. The 560SL is curiously neither Sport nor Leicht. On this day, it stood for Sporting Lessons, or what happens when you attempt to drive the SL like a car that actually IS sporty and light. Fast is not a tremendous problem for the SL. The 8 cylinder accelerates fairly quickly, and has adequate power to propel the chassis down the road. The brakes are good as well. You can throw out the anchors and it will stop aggressively if you apply the pedal in the same manner. So what is the problem ? In a word, suspension.

SL stands for Soft and Leisurely, and that is how the car is setup. Perfect if you want to emulate a large American luxury convertible. Not so good if you want to corner, or operate the vehicle on something other than a straight road at speed. It wallows and rolls and bounces. More than once it lifted an inside wheel while chasing Bruce’s 911 through the curves. More than a few times the tires broke loose. More than once the suspension came close to its bottom. And once, it was airborne over a sharp crest. This is not how you drive an SL. What a blast !

And then for the Coup De Grace. At an opportunistic moment, while Bruce was napping, I passed the 911SC through some slight S bends. By the time he realized what was happening, I was around him watching his startled face in the mirror. SL stands for Shock and Loss-for-words. Brilliant !! In order to regain the position, he would have had to work really hard to get around the SL which was constantly out of shape on the narrow roads. At the next stopping point SL stood for smug laughter. I am pretty sure that in the history of the German automobile, this is the ONLY time a Mercedes SL has passed a moving Porche 911. This particular SL is now destined for the museum in Germany. SL stands for Stuttgart Legend.


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