Tag Archives: Mercedes 280SL

Arizona Collector Car Auction Report Preview… Mercedes Cars Sell from $2.5 Million down to Under $10,000 Sensory Overload, Mercedes Cars at Every Venue

Perhaps the most imposing Mercedes of the week, this 1935 500K Cabriolet A, sold at Gooding and Co. for $2.5 Million at the hammer.

The Collector Car Auctions in Scottsdale this past week were great… and the 70 degree weather was nice too. I must admit, as I got off the plane to ONE degree in Minneapolis I pondered a permanent change in geography and lifestyle.

There were lots of great cars, some huge sale numbers… and some not so huge sale numbers. There was virtually every kind of car imaginable, lots of Mercedes-Benz cars representing over 120 years… from an 1886 Benz Patent Motorwagen to a Mercedes McLaren that’s just a few years old. SLs were the star cars… 300SLs appeared at each of the sales I attended, more than one at several of them. Pagoda SLs were very well represented, as they continue their steady price rise. There were a couple of 190SLs and more R107 and R129 ‘just used cars’ than I could count. Classic Mercedes Coupes from the 50s and 60s were present as well and one very imposing 1935 500K Cabriolet A.

I am working on a number of stories related to the auctions… about specific auctions, about specific cars at specific auctions and why things happened as they did.

Each sale really has its own personality. Different crowds are drawn to each auction for different reasons. You have the elephant in the room… Barrett-Jackson, which is what most people think of when they think of the Scottsdale in January, many people don’t even realize there are other auctions going on. The best description of Barrett-Jackson that I can come up with is that it’s basically like the Minnesota State Fair except inside the buildings, there aren’t animals, there are cars. Russo and Steele seems a bit like a WWF Pro Wrestling event, but instead of two big sweaty guys going at it in the ring, there are collector cars of (widely) varying quality rolling through looking for new owners. Gooding and Company and RM Auctions clearly cater to the highest end Robin Leech champagne and caviar set. The quality of cars at these events are as good as any sale in the world. Gooding creates a lively, rather laid back atmosphere, considering the millions of dollars being spent on individual cars in a series of very comfortable tents. RM gets my vote for best venue, the Frank Lloyd Wright designed Arizona Biltmore Hotel and Spa Complex. Their cars are nicely displayed outside among the palm tree lined drives and inside in a ballroom where you would expect a wedding reception instead of a car auction, but this is no normal car auction. In the auction room things are fairly quiet and very orderly.

I attended the Consignment Tour at RM Auctions put on by Sports Car Market Magazine which was interesting. The availability and openness of the RM Auction analysts and Carl Bomstead and Keith Martin from SCM was great. While higher profile in the car hobby than a guy like me, they’re still just car guys… their insights are interesting and you can tell they’re having a lot of fun walking among these wonderful discussing the pros and cons of each or speculating as to why the market is moving this way or that.

Cruising from preview to preview and sale to sale was a blast… I ran into a number of old friends, made some new ones and got to know some friends I already had just that much better. I hope to recount the highlights on the DaveKnowsCars blog over the next few weeks as well as in a number of articles on the SLMarket website. If you’re not familiar with the SL Market Website or the printed SL Market Letter, I encourage you to click the link to that website in the upper right of any page on on the DKC blog. In the meantime… here is a taste of some of the Mercedes-Benz vehicles that caught my eye… there are many more, this is just a sampling!

Clark Gable Mercedes 300SL Gullwing
Mercedes Benz 300SL Originally owned by Clark Gable (complete with Gable manequin), no sale at $1.6 million. Seemed like a more than fair number to me, consignor must think the star power is worth more. Should have sold.
Mercedes 300Sc Cabriolet
My buddy David Steingas leaving no stone unturned with his inspection of the 300Sc, ultimately sold for $750,000, soaring right past the high estimate of $450,000.
Mercedes 300S Cabriolet Gooding and Co Scottsdale 2013
One of the surprises of the sale… description noted the car just came out of long term storage and needs ‘complete recommissioning’ never the less, this car brought $300k OVER the high estimate of $450,000, hammer fell at $750,000!
Mercedes 280SE 3.5 Cabriolet Gooding and co Scottsdale 2013
One of two 280SE 3.5 Cabriolets at this sale. This was the lesser of the two, paint was cracking and crazing all over this car, but still pretty.
Mercedes 240D limousine
Curios Mercedes 240D Limo, previously the property of the royal family in Monaco.
300SL Roadster at Gooding and Co Arizona 2013
300SL Roadster Sold for $700k Friday afternoon at Gooding and Co. The first of two 300SL roadsters at their sale.
Mercedes 300SL roadster Russo and Steele
300SL Roadster at Russo and Steele, sold Saturday night for $660,000. Looks about market correct to me, if not well bought. Seller reluctantly lifted the reserve and let it go when bidding stalled at about $655k, auction company pressured hard to get it done.
1980 Mercedes 450SLC
1980 Mercedes 450SLC, perhaps the ‘worst’ (least desirable?) Mercedes of the week. Who had the bright idea to bolt on those pimp chrome wheels?
1969 Mercedes 280SL Russo and Steele 2013
One of the nicest 280SLs we saw all week, and sitting in the dusty gravel of Russo and Steele. My friend I went out to AZ with was the under bidder on this car… but that’s another story.
Mercedes Benz 300SL Roadster at Gooding and co
Mercedes Benz 300SL Roadster at Gooding and co, the nicest of the week, brought a hammer price of 1.4 Million. A big number for a roadster, but try to find another this nice with original Rudge wheels.
Mercedes 190SL RM Auctions
RM’s auctioneer and one of their analysts checking this 190SL out very carefully.
300SL Gullwing and Roadster RM Auctions Scottsdale
300SLs at RM.
Mercedes 280SL RM Auctions
Mercedes 280SL at RM Auctions.


Local Twin Cities Mercedes-Benz Club Member’s Vintage 1971 280SL Featured in Brooks Brothers TV Advertisement

Click screenshot to view ad on YouTube.

I got a call from my buddy Bruce Kelly over at Lake Country Classics a couple of weeks ago about an advertising agency here in Minneapolis that needed a vintage Mercedes-Benz roadster for a TV commercial. Bruce just seems to be the guy that people call for this sort of thing no matter what kind of car is needed, people just know to call him. He called me to see if I could get a hold of a friend we have in common, and fellow Twin Cities Mercedes Benz Club member, Mark Flaten. The ad agency was looking for a vintage Mercedes roadster, and ideally, one in a light color, to use in a Brooks Brothers TV spot. Bruce and I both thought of Mark’s car… an absolutely pristine 1971 280SL roadster in the classic Mercedes color combination of silver over red leather.

Bruce’s shop, Lake Country Classics, finished a complete restoration of Mark’s car last year. It is one of the most pristine and correct cars of this type and vintage I’ve ever seen. I got Mark on the phone, told him that this ad agency was doing a Brooks Brothers ad and they were looking for a car like his the next day… and that if he was interested he should give Bruce a call ASAP. He did, and…

About a week later, Mark forwarded me this link to the finished ad on YouTube. They did indeed use his car for several hours the day after we spoke on the phone. He was well paid for the three hours the agency used his car, he was on set the entire time with the car. In the end it’s a couple of seconds on film, but it’s a fun story and will certainly ad to the interesting history of the car. Click this link to view the video on YouTube.

“There are just some things you don’t do, and one of them is mess with another man’s vehicle” John Travolta’s Vintage Mercedes 280SL Stolen from Santa Monica Street

travolta mercedes stolen

It’s unusual for me to be able to work different Pulp Fiction quotes into the Dave Knows Cars blog in the same week, but with this entry, I guess I did it… from the scene when Vincent Vega (Travolta) discusses his displeasure with a vandal who keyed his car after it had been safely stored for four years while he was in Amsterdam with Lance (Eric Stoltz), his Heroin dealer.

The short article below has been bouncing around different websites since last week when, apparently, John Travolta‘s 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL was stolen. One account quoted Travolta estimating the car’s value at about $35,000, other reports call it a $100,000 car. I’ve got to believe Travolta is much closer to the actual value of his car than the Hollywood reporters.
Travolta mercedes stolen

According to Hollywood media reports, “Swordfish” actor left stranded in Santa Monica, California, as his car was stolen. A thief took 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL, and it was worth $100,000.

He was at Jaguar dealership for a short visit, but as his car got stolen, he returned back to dealership and waited for the cops to make crime report. Reports also say that  no suspect has been identified yet. Motoring enthusiast John, 57, has a large collection of cars including a Rolls Royce, and a Jaguar XJ6 as well as vintage Ford cars.

He said in 2007: “I have a 55, 56 and 57 Thunderbird – American Fords in the great old tradition. I love the fact that they could achieve speed and distance with such style. I don’t use them for long journeys any more, but to just enjoy the drive.”

Sears Imports Attends J.J. Hill Days and Wayzata Rotary Car Show with Classic and Modern Mercedes Benz Vehicles

Wayzata Rotary Car Show

Sears Imports co sponsored the Wayzata Rotary Club Car Show held in conjunction with Wayzata’s J.J. Hill Days this past Sunday, September 11, 2011. I attended the event for Sears Imports Mercedes Benz with a couple of vehicles from our inventory. Bother were pre owned vehicles. One showcased the timeless lines and design of the Mercedes-Benz coupe… a one family owned 1964 220SE. The other display car showed the modern side of Mercedes-Benz… a 2005 SL65 AMG, 12 cylinder, twin turbo charged roadster.

I arrived at the show site in downtown Wayzata at about 8:30 in the morning to set things up. Once the cars were in place I turned around only to see my friend, Dave Bortner, from the Mercedes-Benz Club pulling in the parking lot. I had spoken to him the day before to encourage him to come out with his car. The minty 1969 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL 6.3 that you may have seen grace the pages of this blog if you read with any regularity. As he climbed out and we started to talk another classic Mercedes. It was Dave Steingas in his pristine 1951 220 cabriolet, he parked next to Dave. A minute or two later, MBCA-TC member Mark Flaten turned up with his 1970 280SL that was just completely restored by Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis. What a great line up! People came and went for most of the morning, eventually club member Ron Berg appeared in his brown 280SL as well. A number of other club members showed up as well, Chris Georgacas showed up, but not in a Mercedes, rather, he was in his Ferrari 355 Spyder… decisions, decisions I suppose.

Mercedes 6.3
Bortner's imposing 6.3.
Mercedes 220 Cabriolet
Steingas' 1951 220 Cabriolet.
Mercedes 280SL
Flaten's expertly restored 1970 280SL.
Ferrari F355
Ron Berg's 280SL and the Georgacas F355 Spider.

Lots of people were interested in the 220SE, the classic lines of that car really seem to speak to people, and this particular 220SE coupe is in very nice condition. The son of the original owner came by the booth, he was probably in his late 70s. He explained that his mother had owned the car, it was eventually passed to one of her grand children, Sears Imports bought it from that grand child. In any case, it’s a local, one owner vehicle with a known history… wonderful black with a red interior. I drove this car to and from the show and had a ball, the looks you get driving that car are incredible… lots of thumbs up from passers by.

wayzata Car Show
The Mercedes-Benz lineup.

The mix of cars at this show was huge, and because there is no real theme to the show, it’s just drive in what you want and have a good time… there were 1950s American classics parked next to vintage European Sports cars parked next to full classics, cars of all shapes, sizes, makes and models were there including several very special cars… how about a 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Short Wheel Base Berlinetta… probably worth $3 – $5 Million dollars… a guy just drove it in… and it’s the real deal… no kit car… as the owner bought it new in Italy, and he drove it into the show Sunday morning, the same guy. Or an ex Carrera Panamericana Oldsmobile racing car, a couple of Jaguar XK120s… there was even a Duesenberg. There aren’t many shows that are so small, with such a wide variety of cars.

Ferrari 250GT SWB
The 1960 Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta.
Wayzata Car Show
Porsche 356 and an MGA MKII 1600.

There was a parade along Lake Street in downtown Wayzata a U.S. Army Band unit played behind a color guard of Boy Scouts and a uniformed color guard. It was a scene right out of a Norman Rockwell painting really, with Lake Minnetonka across the street, not a cloud in the sky, little kids with balloons. The parade ended in front of “The Muni” where the mayor of Wayzata said a few words about the 10th anniversary of 9/11. I couldn’t help but think that we live in a pretty nice place and we’re far luckier than many people in the world.

Wayzata Rotary Car show
An eclectic mix of machinery.

Based on the great turn out at this show I would imagine Sears Imports will participate in this show next year. Thanks to all those who organized the event and to the Wayzata Rotary Club.

More photos below…

wayzata rotary car show
Wonderful Jaguar XK120.
Wayzata Rotary
Morrie's big Duesenberg.
Wayzata Rotary
Another one of Morrie's cars... a Cord 812.
Alfa Romeo Guilietta
1960 Alfa Romeo Guilietta... just right in red.
Wayzata Parade
The parade down Lake Street in downtown Wayzata.

Another Pristine Lake Country Classics Restored Mercedes 280SL Roadster in Minneapolis for Sale on eBay, Local Minneapolis Mercedes Benz Club Member Car

This Mercedes Benz 280SL Roadster is currently for sale on eBay. Owned by a member of the local Twin Cities Section of the Mercedes Benz Club of America. This is a pristine example of a W113 Pagoda SL in the rare Moss Green Metallic color with an even more rare green top, the interior is Bamboo leather. Have a look at the eBay auction HERE.

The car was completely restored over a period of about seven years between 2002 and 2009 under the direction of Bruce Kelly at Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis. It is as pristine inside and underneath as it is from the outside. You could eat off the engine, it is an incredible example. There are more than 100 photos included in the eBay auction, I’ve posted several of them below.