Market Watch: Mercedes SL sale price shock

Price bulletin, 19 May 2021.


by Russ Smith |

Historics’ April 17 auction was significant in several ways, not least of which was the presence of real live bidders in its Ascot Racecourse saleroom. It also had a record 1100 online bidders registered. The result after the 165 lots were offered was that 90% of them sold – another record for Historics.

To be fair it did help enormously that almost a quarter of those lots were offered with no reserve, but of the others that largest tranche was those that sold for above their pre-sale estimates. It’s a very bullish market right now. Some of those big sellers are highlighted below, but the daddy of them all was the pictured Mercedes-Benz 280SL Pagoda.

It was superb – a 45,700-mile UK market car restored by a marque specialist in 2016 at a cost of £80,000. It lacked fully history and wasn’t a rare manual SL, so the £95-120k estimate looked correct. That it actually sold for £184,800 simply defies explanation.

Our Price Guide Movers On The Up table in the latest issue reveals that overall, W113 generation (1963-1971) Mercedes SLs are generally up by a more more modest 3.7-4.2%, depending on model. That brings the less prized 230SL to £21k (rough), £33k (good), £59.5k (mint) and £85k (concours). Although less powerful than the 250SL aand 280SL that followed, being more agile and more likely to be found with manual transmission makes them more fun to drive, if that's what you're looking for.

The 280SL that most of the money chases is a softer, more easy-going sort of car, despite the extra power from its enlarged straight six. A 4.2% rise brings those to £25k (rough), ££38.5k (good), £67.5k (mint) and £100k (concours).

Russ Smith's Market Analysis is part of 18 pages of market tips, analysis and buying advice in the latest issue of Classic Cars

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