300 SL Roadster For Sale at RM Sotheby’s Scottsdale 2018 Lake Country Classics Restoration
If you pay close attention to 300 SLs at auction you might recognized this car. This 300 SL Roadster for sale at RM Sotheby’s was restored at Bruce Kelly’s Lake Country Classics in Minneapolis, MN more than 20 years ago. It was sold in 2012 at RM Auctions’ Scottsdale sale for $737,000 (I reported the sale back in 2012 from the auction, live, on my DaveKnowsCars blog, you can read that article here). It will be offered again by RM Sotheby’s at their sale at the Arizona Biltmore in a couple of weeks . It’s got just 443 more miles on its odometer now than the last time it was sold, pre sale auction estimate is $950,000 – $1,050,000.
Mercedes 300 SL Prices
The Mercedes 300 SL market has seen some ups and downs since this car last sold. As recently as 2012, 300 SL roadster prices lagged behind those of the iconic 300 SL coupes, the ‘Gullwings’. Since then, prices of the two models have equalized. Some roadsters sell for more than coupes, it depends largely upon condition as well as the usual other factors such as ownership history, factory options, etc.
We saw huge prices for 300 SLs during the market highs of 2014 and 2015, but things have settled a bit over the past couple of years. These days, a $2 million dollar 300 SL sale is reserved for the cars with the best (newest) restorations by a few, well known marque experts or especially unique provenance. The pre sale estimate of $950,000 – $1,050,000 for this car is a realistic range for a nice, older restoration. The catalog description of the fitted Rudge wheels leads me to believe that this car was not fitted with Rudge wheels from the factory, and I’m not sure that silver over red leather is the original color combination. Those questions would be easily answered by having a look at the car’s factory build information that I’m sure RM Sotheby’s could provide to an interested party during the auction preview.
Bruce Kelly and Lake Country Classics
When I moved to Minneapolis in the mid 2000s I got involved in the collector car community. Once I joined the Mercedes-Benz Club, I learned of Bruce Kelly and his shop, Lake Country Classics. Over the past 10+ years I have become good friends with Bruce, often dropping by his shop to talk cars. He’s got stories going back 50+ years, of great cars and great fun with them. Mercedes hold a special place in his heart, along with vintage Jaguars, although he’s owned just about every significant collector car at one time or another, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfa, Porsches and a wide variety of American cars. His shop is small, they might restore a car a year these days, usually a 280 SL Pagoda. In the 90s, when this car was restored, things moved more quickly, there were more employees, more cars.
This 300 SL Roadster at Auction
Collector car pundits have often referred to the Mercedes 300 SL as a harbinger of the collector car market overall. Last year, in Scottsdale, Gooding and Company sold a 1961 300 SL roadster similar to this one, a older restoration, in good condition, for $1,034,000. It seemed like a bargain at the time, but as the market has corrected over the past year, such numbers seem the norm for this kind of car. I think this one will sell across the block at just over $1 million, which is probably still a bargain.
(Odometer photos and main photo courtesy RM Sotheby’s)