Below are the Mercedes cars RM Sotheby’s will be offering during their 2020 Scottsdale sale, just 8 Mercedes this year. We’ve also included limited commentary and our sale price predictions for each car (all predictions INCLUDE buyer’s premium of 12% up to $250k, and 10% on the balance for lots sold above $250k). Click here to visit the RM Sotheby’s online auction catalog to see all their Scottsdale offerings.
This year’s RM Sotheby’s sale with be held Thursday and Friday evenings, January 16th and 17th. Doors open each day at 9:00am for public preview with the auction starting at 5:30 on sale days. Wednesday is a dedicated public preview day. Full hours, location and other event details can be found at the bottom of this article.
Lot 112 – 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220 SE Cabriolet
Estimate: $120,000 – $140,000
- Medium Red (516 G) w/ beige leather w/ dark red piping and brown soft top
- MB Classic Center restored and sold 2019
- 900 miles since restoration
- Fitted luggage, books, tools
Good looking in this color combination and it’s an SE model with fuel injection. Add to that a Classic Center restoration, which must have cost double the sale estimate. I think this is a deal if purchased within that estimate range, even if the restoration is 10 years old. I think bidders will notice and pay up for this one, any ‘issues’ not mentioned in the auction catalog not withstanding. Sale Price Prediction: $154,000.
Lot 130 – 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL ‘Pagoda’
Estimate: $70,000 – $90,000
- Odometer: 70,421
- Automatic Transmission
- Red w/ tan leather
- Both tops
- Air Conditioning
We haven’t seen many Pagoda SLs at the big auctions recently, neither Gooding or Co. or Bonham’s has a single example on offer in Scottsdale this year. Why is that? Because they don’t make much sense at big time auctions. There are 100+ Pagoda SLs on the private market at any moment, an auction just isn’t a great place to buy one, and perhaps, an even worse place to sell one, unless it is an exceptional example.
I don’t want to be overly harsh here, but there are a number of things that I expect will really hold this car back from meeting its low estimate. Pagoda buyers are just too picky and they can afford to be. Buyers want one of two things. A very original car with a known history or a restored example of an original car with a known history. The car’s data tag shows a color code of 906G (Grey Blue Metallic), a color change isn’t that big a deal really. This red is described as ‘Fire Red’… wrong. ‘Fire Engine Red’ was a Mercedes color (think 300 SL), but on a 280 SL it would have been Signal Red (568) or perhaps just plain ‘Red’ (576)… ‘fire red’ was never a Mercedes color. The engine bay is painted black. That’s red, a red flag… it usually means the car has had body work to the front end, as a result of rust, an accident, whatever. Painting engine bays black was common in the 80s and 90s, usually done by a body shop not familiar with these cars, as the engine bay should be the color of the rest of the car. The ‘recently restored interior’ looks all wrong… the leather used just doesn’t look right in the photos. Did the seats get new covers or were they actually rebuilt? A quick ‘sit down’ in the seat will tell you. Small things that will turn off potential buyers… the 80s era Alpine stereo, the leather wrapped steering wheel and the black gas cap, all things that ‘better’ cars don’t have. Original miles? I doubt it. Sale Price Prediction: $62,000
Lot 155 – 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing
Estimate: $1,150,000 – $1,300,000
- Odometer: 42,092
- Silver Grey Poly (Originally Medium Blue (DB 350))
- Blue leather and plaid interiors present
- Numbers matching
- Rudge wheels, Belly pans
A great looking 300 SL in a classic color combination, if not correct as to how it left the factory. The catalog description leads us to accept the 42,000 miles to be original, not out of the question, but some digging into whatever paperwork may be with the car to verify that would be smart. Much mechanical work by Hjeltness in the early 2000s. An engine rebuild and color change done later by various PA based shops. Participation in smaller concours events since 2013, driven approximately 2,000 miles by current owner. This looks to be a nice driver quality example of a 300 SL gullwing. Cosmetically, it’s probably more than a driver, but it doesn’t have a necessarily special history or story attached to it. Should bring middle of the 300 SL road money. It has great eyeball appeal in this color combo, so it may tug hard at the heart strings of more than one bidder in the audience. Sale Price Prediction: 1,270,000.
Lot 233 – 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 Sc ‘Sunroof’ Coupe
Estimate: $275,000 – $325,000
Offered Without Reserve
- 1 of 98 Sc coupes built
- Odometer: 25,624 KMs (about 16,000 miles)
- Fitted Luggage, owner’s manual
- Same owner past 42 years
- Originally 190 G (graphite grey as per body tag)
Mercedes has always made gorgeous coupes, this ’55 is no exception. Sigfried ‘Siggy’ Linke is mentioned in the catalog description as a long time owner and then caretaker of this car. I’ve spent time around more than one lunch and dinner table with Siggy in Pebble Beach during Car Week over the years, what an interesting guy, a wealth of Mercedes knowledge, long time GWG member and Pebble Beach Concours Judge. All I’m saying is, his past involvement with this car probably doesn’t hurt it, although is involvement was many years ago. Like so many Mercedes of this period, Sc coupes like this can be costly to maintain. The fact that this one has been stored for the most part of the last 40+ years probably means further sorting by a new owner, despite the recent work done by the classic center. The color change from graphite grey to black isn’t a huge detractor. It’s one of just 98 Sc coupes built, there aren’t many opportunities to acquire them. A no reserve sale is a little easier for an owner of 42 years, as the sale price today will be many times his original buy price. Sale Price Prediction: $348,000.
Lot 234 – 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540 K Coupe by Hebmüller
Estimate: $1,000,000 – $1,500,000
Chassis No.: 154143
- Odo: 68,358 KMs
- Two tone cream w/ grey fenders, red leather interior
Originally a 540 K Cabriolet A, modified in the mid 1950s by Hebmuller at the owner’s request to create a coupe by removing the convertible top and modifying the windshield and pillars. Other modifications were made to other areas of the body to complete the look, see the complete catalog description for details. Color changed from a dark blue to the two tone scheme seen today. Purchased by the current owner at auction in Denver, CO in 1968 and driven back to the owner’s home in Nebraska where it’s been since. Some use noted by current owner, but stored since 1980. Mechanical recommissioning said to have been done by RM Restorations to ‘running and stopping order’ – if it were a lesser car you might say it ‘yard drives’ – will surely need serious mechanical work if it’s to be a reliable driving car for tours and events, at, no doubt, considerable expense. A rare opportunity to acquire a desirable supercharged pre-war Mercedes. I would love to see this one do big money. Sale Price Prediction: $1,675,000
Lot 256 – 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster
Estimate: $950,000 – $1,150,000
- Odometer: 25,631 miles
- Strawberry Red Metallic, tan leather interior, tan soft top w/ ivory hard top
- Numbers matching
- Tool kit, manuals, documentation
- Repainted in original color mid 2000s
Original owner was Jim Gilmore Jr. of Kalamazoo, MI, successful businessman, Indy car owner, longtime car guy. Went to his daughter after his passing in 2001. Sold by the family in 2009 to the current owner. Enjoyed sparingly since, the catalog description mentions use on one vintage rally. This is an example of a true, documented, low mile 300 SL. It doesn’t hurt that the original owner was a serious and well known car guy. In an interesting color.. whether you like it or not, it’s a color that is always a crowd pleaser and I think it looks fabulous with the contrasting ivory hard top. This ticks the boxes in terms of provenance, limited ownership on a mostly original car. I think any collector would like to have this one in their collection. For me, the fact that it’s never been restored and has original, low miles makes is better still. Let’s see if the guys with the checkbooks on sale day recognize a no stories original car for what it is. Sale Price Prediction: $1,215,000.
Lot 258 – 2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren Roadster
Estimate: $300,000 – $350,000
- Odometer: 8,686 miles
- Arctic White w/ Tobacco Brown leather
Little catalog information regarding past history of this one and I didn’t run a Carfax to see how many owners its had. It’s not uncommon for supercars like this to pass through the hands of various dealers and private individuals with short attention spans who want the newest great thing but then tire of that thing quickly and move it on. Production of the SLR ended in May of 2009, although some cars were sold as 2010 models. It also marked the end of the partnership between McLaren and Mercedes. This car has a unique color combination which is usually a good thing for a car like this. SLRs bounced back from the depths of their depreciation slump but they haven’t seen values above their original MSRP prices of $500,000+ yet. They’re wild machines that are fun to drive and real technological marvels to look at, but still seem to be caught in that limbo period of too new to be real classics and too old to be sought after too highly as the car that will impress everyone at the local cars and coffee. They will have their day, eventually. Sale Price Prediction: $335,000.
Lot 261 – 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL 6.3
Estimate: $75,000 – $125,000
- Includes a spare M100 engine
- One family owned
- Odo: 76,905
- Two tone silver w/ black
The 6.3 is the ultimate Mercedes sedan of the modern era. I’ve talked to a lot of clients lately looking for 6.3s or who have recently acquired 6.3s. I’ve also helped clients sell 6.3s recently, four of them in 2019. Theoretically, they’re great cars, but I think they’re like boats in that the two best days with the car are the day you buy it and the day you sell it. We all know they’re expensive to maintain, just prepare yourself for that, but they are cool and they’re great driving cars when everything is working properly. This car was originally painted Blue Poly (387 H) as per the body tag. I find this two tone style quite strange. A proper 108 or 109 two tone car should be the roof and pillars one color and the bottom another, this is just weird. No mention of recent service alone should ensure this car doesn’t meet its low estimate. 6.3 buyers want to see $25,000 worth of receipts that are less than five years old when they’re buying a $75,000+ example. Sale Price Prediction: $66,000.
*All Photos courtesy the auction company.
RM Sotheby’s Arizona Auction 2020 Schedule and Details
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
2400 East Missouri Avenue
Wednesday, January 15, 2020
Public Preview: 9:00am – 8:00pm
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Public Preview: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Auction Begins: 5:30pm
Friday, January 17, 2020
Public Preview: 9:00am – 5:30pm
Auction Begins: 5:30pm
Admission is open to the general public during preview hours only. Admission to the auctions on Thursday, 16 January, and Friday, 17 January, is for registered bidders, consignors, and qualified media only.
BIDDER REGISTRATION – $200
Bidder registration includes an auction catalogue and admission for one bidder and one guest to the preview and auction days.
BUYER’S PREMIUM (from RM Sotheby’s Bidder’s Conditions of Business)
9.2.1. In the event of a final Hammer Price of US$250,000 and below on all motor car lots, RMS will receive a Buyers’ Premium of 12%.
9.2.2. In the event of a final Hammer Price above US$250,000 on all motor car lots, RMS will receive a Buyers’ Premium of 12% on the first US$250,000 and will receive a Buyers’ Premium of 10% on the Hammer Price above US$250,000.