The hunt continues unabated
The hunt for classic cars, young and old, continues unabated. Yet the risk of falling for a phony is greater than ever. Mercedes-Benz now offers sought-after classic cars for sale – with great success.
The generously sized exhibition area on the ground floor of the Mercedes-Benz Museum is full of attractive classic cars. Here a golden Mercedes-Benz 280 SE of the W 126 model series, there a black 600 series state limousine and, a few metres further on, a rare 500 E in prime condition.
All the cars sport a star on their radiator grille. And all of them are used vehicles – in search of a new owner.
Luxury classic-car markets
Although not huge, the range is certainly wide enough to delight the eyes of the viewer. And anyone who thinks this is just another of those elitist luxury classic-car markets where millionaires go bargain-hunting at weekends is soon disabused of that attitude, as the line-up includes such examples as a Mercedes-Benz 200 of the W 123 model series in gleaming thistle green metallic. First registered on 1 March 1985, at a time when Boris Becker was still dreaming of his first Wimbledon triumph, while many customers already had their sights on the newer W 124 model series. The vehicle has a miserly 33,500 kilometres on the clock.
While its state of repair and the number of just two previous owners are impressive, the list of optional extras is meagre: rear head restraints, headlamp washers, heated front seats and a radio. The rear mud flaps and slightly yellowed sticker on the rear window bear witness to the fact that this model has found its way from Sweden to the showroom in Stuttgart. Not a bargain, but a genuine find in this condition.
ALL TIME STARS
The sahara yellow Mercedes-Benz 230, one owner, 25,000 kilometres, is scarcely lower in price, despite its previous owner having ticked hardly any of the boxes in the list of optional extras. Even so, it boasts 109 hp (with carburettor), 165 km/h top speed, a solid four-speed automatic transmission and a colour sure to provoke plenty of debate not just among the new owner’s circle of friends. ‘The number of previous owners is important. Normally, we buy vehicles with up to a maximum of three previous owners,’ explains Patrik Gottwick, responsible at the Mercedes-Benz Museum for ALL TIME STARS, which are on offer at the website www.alltime-stars.com.
‘Last year, we sold around 50 vehicles, having previously taken a look at almost three times that number. We apply strict criteria – we buy nothing below condition 2. We currently have over 30 classic cars, young and old, in stock. Especially popular with our customers are cabriolets and roadsters of the R 107 and R 129 model series.’
The luxurious sun worshippers of bygone days are selling like proverbial hot cakes at the Mercedes-Benz Museum, while the more competitively priced SLK models do not stay long in the showroom either. “Last year, we bought two vehicles of this type for the first time, not sure what kind of demand there was out there,” recalls Patrik Gottwick. “But we were surprised how quickly they sold. That applies to all cabriolets and roadsters.” One such model is the almandine red metallic Mercedes-Benz SL 320 from 1994 with just 70,100 km on the odometer. Apart from leather seats and air conditioner, the equipment specification has a few gaps, however the vehicle is in tip-top condition. It is highly likely that the open-top two-seater will have found a new owner before the spring. A different price region is inhabited by the silver Mercedes-Benz 280 SE 3.5 Cabriolet of the sought-after W 111 model series from 1971.
A comprehensive equipment specification along with its superb condition raises the selling price of this top-of-the-line model, which is particularly popular with collectors.
The range of ALL TIME STARS includes Mercedes-Benz classics aged between 35 and 65 years. The search for a vehicle in tip-top condition is no easy undertaking. Some classics are offered for sale by their owners or collectors. In addition, Daimler’s classic-car experts have contacts around the globe and know just when a vehicle in especially good condition or with a particular history is about to go on sale. “We then travel there and first inspect all the numbers on the vehicle as well as the paintwork, joints and parts. Everything is noted down in a report,” explains classic-car expert Patrik Gottwick. “We then decide whether or not to buy the vehicle. If we buy, the car is subjected to an extensive inspection in the workshop covering a total of 160 items.” For especially valuable cars, the procedure is even more elaborate. In this case, the vehicle is given special treatment and must undergo a three-day check at the Classic Centre Fellbach nearby Stuttgart, which uncovers every defect or deficiency.
Even though normal saloons enjoy the lowest level of demand, they, too, have a quick turnover. Usually, potential buyers have a direct relationship with the model and wish to turn their automotive dreams into reality. The luxury saloons of the S-Class are becoming more and more sought after. And it does not need to be a state limousine from the W 100 model series. The black 600 series vehicle at ALL TIME STARS was built for Mercedes-Benz in 1979 and never registered. For the first two years, Mercedes-Benz used this 600 series model as a chauffeur-driven saloon. In 1981, Mercedes-Benz sold it to one of its best customers. Having bought the vehicle with 54,500 km on the clock, the owner stored it professionally in his own showroom.
The vehicle was never again used by him. Today, the state limousine has 56,100 kilometres under its belt and anyone wishing to know the price should have a serious interest in the gem.
For those wishing to follow their dreams
Likewise in excellent condition is the golden Mercedes-Benz 280 SE from the W 126 model series. The yellow fog lamps make it reasonably obvious that this S-Class from March 1982 was driven in France – albeit only occasionally, as witnessed by the 30,800 kilometres on the clock and the impressive state of repair.
The vehicle boasts a full equipment specification with electrically adjustable velour seats, power windows, rear head restraints, automatic air conditioning, automatic transmission and Fuchs aluminium wheels. The previous owner had a thick folder with all kinds of invoices and photos. A car’s history is always of key importance. For those wishing to follow their dreams: www.alltime-stars.com.