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Record price for ’96 Mercedes-Benz SL500 after owner loses the key

12 April, 2017

Picture this: it’s 1996, you’ve just received your brand-new Mercedes-Benz SL500 and taken it for a brisk drive around a few blocks. 80-miles now adorns the odometer and you park it up to go about your business, returning to find the key has gone walkabouts. Would you then call it a day and never drive it again?

That’s exactly what the owner of this particular example did, and it recently sold for a record price 21 years later— £56,640 to be exact — by Coys at their Spring Classics auction at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London.  

Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said, “This is a fantastic price bearing in mind that a normal version of this car, with reasonable mileage, would probably be worth 20% of what this SL500 made today. An exciting sale and a new world record!”

The Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 roadsters were produced from 1989 through 2002, featuring many innovative details for the time, such as electronically controlled damping and a hidden, automatically extending roll-over bar, electric windows and mirrors.

This is one of the more powerful and sought after M119 engined cars and also boasts a number of optional factory extras, including heated front seats, 6 CD multi-changer, upgraded radio and wood-leather steering wheel.

It’s far too nice to call a barn find … perhaps a time capsule, if you will? Either way, £56,640 is a staggering win for the owner.

The Jowett Jupiter turns 70

John Ball has always enjoyed tinkering with old boats and cars. He’s old enough to think having gearbox parts on newspaper on the floor of his bedroom, while the relevant car sat waiting on nail boxes, was a normal part of growing up. His passion has always tended towards old British bangers. He reckons he’s fortunate not to have got caught up in the American muscle scene.
John’s love affair with this Jupiter started in December 2015 when, with some time on his hands during a Christchurch trip, he searched online for ‘cars, before 1970 and in Christchurch’.

A passion for classics and customs

In the highly competitive field of New Zealand classic and custom restorations, reputations are won or lost on the ability to maintain consistently high standards of workmanship. A company managing to achieve this is D A Panel beating Ltd, of Rangiora near Christchurch. Is your classic or custom car restoration stalled, or in need of a refresh, or perhaps you are looking for experts to rebuild that recent import project out of Europe or the ‘States?