Mercedes Market Observations and Analysis from Amelia Island 2018
There weren’t more than 3 of any particular Mercedes model for sale at Amelia Island, so there isn’t a large enough sample group to discuss trends, we just have some public sales of specific cars, so the details of each car should be looked at before drawing any conclusions. Click here to visit Mercedes-Market’s “Mercedes Auction Results Amelia Island 2018” article for prices realized and see how our pre-sale predictions stacked up to the actual sale prices (featured photo of the 560 SL on the auction block at RM Sotheby’s courtesy Andy Reid).
What’s most notable about the Amelia Island auctions is that all but two of the Mercedes offered actually sold, signaling an alignment of seller’s expectations and buyer’s appetites.
Amelia Island doesn’t have nearly the volume of cars for sale that the Arizona Auctions do, or even as many as Monterey, but this is an important week in the collector car world. The Amelia Island Concours has a personality all its own and really serves as the centerpiece of the weekend. The folks who show up to Amelia Island are the die-hards of the collector car world, it’s a refined group for a refined group of events. Does that mean anything different for the auction results? I think so. I think this is a very well educated group of car people, they know what they’re looking at when they’re at the auction previews, it’s very difficult to put a mediocre car through one of these sales and get a huge result, something that I think happens regularly in Scottsdale. If a car sells for big money at one of the Amelia Island auctions you can bet it deserved it.
How much is a 300 SL? About a Million Bucks
The 300 SL market has officially settled into a groove. Most quality coupes and roadsters will cost you between $1,000,000 and $1,250,000 these days. The three at Amelia Island all sold between $1 M and $1,100,000. Extraordinary cars can bring more… whether that’s an especially nice example with a fresh restoration or a highly original, one owner example with an interesting story full of cobwebs, but a nice driver quality car without any stories has settled at just over a million dollars.
R107 SL High Water Mark
True ‘Collector Grade’ R107 SLs appear at the high end auctions fairly regularly now. Sometimes it’s a very early 450 SL, but more often it’s a super low mile 560 SL with the occasional 380 SL mixed in. I sure didn’t see the almost $100,000 sale of the Blue Green Metallic 560 SL at RM Sotheby’s coming. While exceptional European model 500SLs have been exceeding the $100k mark at auctions in Europe fairly regularly, we haven’t seen such prices in the U.S. In my Amelia Island Auction Preview article a couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I believe this is one of the most interesting color combinations for a 560 SL, and that this one has extremely low miles, I didn’t think the bids would go as high as they did. This appears to be a new high for an ‘in the wrapper’ true, collector quality, 560 SL. It has less than 3,000 miles on its odometer. Because I was not at the event personally, I spoke with a number of people about various cars. My friend Andy Reid thought these were “Good colors,” for this 560 SL “but somehow not a perfect car, lots of swirls in the paint and micro scratches, a weak detail job, but an astounding price”. What do you do with it? You put it in your museum of full scale Mercedes models and look at it.
While this was an exceptional number for an exceptional car it DOES NOT mean that the guy’s asking price of $19,900 for his 1987 560 SL with 95,000 miles in the back of the Star Magazine makes any sense at all.
Too many 560 SLs I see on the market are listed by delusional owners that don’t realize ‘I don’t really have many service receipts, it’s only got 60,000 miles’ IS NOT a selling point. By now, the newest R107s are almost 30 years old. Every one that I come across usually needs $3,000 – $5,000 worth of work to bring it up to a non-leaking, ‘ready-driver’ level.
To see how much low mileage matters, the 22,000 mile 1987 560 SL offered at Bonhams (Lot 106) sold for $39,200. Anthracite Grey Metallic (176) with burgundy leather is another one of my favorite color combinations and one that is generally thought of as ‘classic Mercedes-Benz’. There are a lot more 560 SLs with odometers in the low 20,000s than below 3,000, and that’s why you’ve got such a huge price difference here. The 380 SL at Gooding and Company (Lot 009) had just under 22,000 original miles on its odometer, yet sold for just $26,400. Less than I was expecting, but that’s the hit the 380 SL takes next to the 560 SL, the 380 SL will always trail the 560 in the market.
W113 Pagoda SLs – In the New Market, Quality Matters
The days of being able to sell ANY 280 SL, rust repaired, replaced fenders, or in need of an interior, for $70,000 are over.
I think most of us have know this for a year or more now. The Dark Red 280 SL at Gooding and Company that didn’t have a body tag affixed to the inner fender under the hood brought even less money than I expected it to on sale day, just $66,000. These are not rare cars, there are 50+ on the open market at any time. You better bring a great car to the auction if you expect to get decent money for it. In this case, $66,000 is probably plenty. I talked to a lot of people about this car and no one had anything good to say about it, other than that it was a nice color combination.
The Beige Grey car at RM Sotheby’s did better, but not as well as I thought it would when I predicted a sale price of $125,000 before the sale. The auction company placed a pre-sale estimate range of $135,000 – $165,000. The sale price was market correct based on the condition reports from the event I received. The people I spoke with who inspected the car said that it was a nice car, but not a great car. Again, Pagoda SLs are not rare cars, you’ve got your pick when you’re in the market. Take your time, choose a car carefully, that fits your budget and needs.
We’ll be adding more commentary on specific cars from the Amelia Island Auctions in the coming days. Check back soon for more.
What car do you wish you could have taken home and put in your garage? What sale surprised you during the Amelia Island auctions? Leave us a comment below and let us know what you think.