These large, stylish coupés usually waft imperiously along, whatever the frothier areas of the market are doing, but for now they’re being dragged down by the same trend that’s been affecting many other investable classics in the circa-£100,000 category and above.
The latest fall of 4.5% puts the condition-related prices into the £26,500 to £105,000 range:
• Rough project £26,500 • Good usable £47,500 • Mint £80,000 • Concours £105,000
For now the even more collector auction-friendly Cabriolet version is holding steady but the Coupé has always lived in its shadow, despite being much better looking in my opinion. But I’m one of those weirdos who prefers coupés to convertible versions of most models, from Porsche 911 to Bugatti Type 57. The market, generally, doesn’t agree with me which helpfully makes it a little easier to buy what I want, which does include a Mercedes 280SE 3.5 Coupé if this price slide can keep going for long enough. Unlikely.
Mercedes tend not to feature much in our monthly roundup of fallers – August was the last time that any made it into the table – but suddenly we have three, albeit at radically different price points. The Fifties 300S cabriolet/roadsters are down 3.4% to give a £140,000 to £425,000 price range, while the Nineties SLK 230K has fallen 5.9% for a £450 to £4000 range. The 280SE and 300S bear some comparison, representing two generations of handsomely curvaceous, chrome-accessorised powercruiser that offer a chunk of Hollywood film producer glamour, even on a wet Tuesday in Solihull. The SLK comes from a time when Mercedes ownership had become much more democratised, steepening the devaluation curve and hastening the descent into unglamorous neglect. They had appeared to turn the depreciation corner for a moment, but the latest move is undoing that. It’s no coincidence that at least one variant of its old Boxster rival – on price and prestige, if not driving experience – is also on the slide this month. Part of a trend for modern classics losing their shine? Just under half of the models in this month’s fallers chart, are from the Nineties or later…
Price Guide Movers On The Up is part of our regular 16 pages of market and buying coverage in Classic Cars, which also includes smart buying guru Quentin Willson’s Hot Tips, market-watcher Russ Smith’s Chasing Cars, a detailed four-page buying guide and Ads on Test evaluations of four classics for sale.