This 1981 Mercedes-Benz 500 SLC is being offered for sale at Gooding and Company’s Pebble Beach auction this year.
I’ll spare you the history lesson and assume you know why the Mercedes 450 SLC 5.0 liter and 500 SLC cars from the late 1970s and early 80s are some of the rarest and most significant Mercedes cars of the Post-War era… FIA homologation, limited production… just 483 units in 1981, 1,299 500 SLCs total.
This particular example is a car I know well. The owner from 1985 until about 2021 was a gentleman in the Twin Cities Section of the MBCA in Bloomington, MN. That was my home MBCA section for almost ten years. Kurt Drews was the gentleman’s name. A German who emigrated to the U.S. in the early 60s I believe. He was a career aircraft mechanic at what ultimately became Northwest airlines. Kurt has a number of Mercedes, always great cars… this was one of them. He still attends MBCA Twin Cities events regularly.
I spent an afternoon with Kurt, and this car, in May of 2021 taking photos, shooting video, etc. in order to prep the car for sale. In the end, Kurt sold the car through someone on the West Coast… because he thinks people in California get more money for cars and pay more money for cars… not sure I agree, but that’s the way it went. The car was sold privately in 2022 through Scott Grundfor in 2022, to a private collector.
It seems that collector has consigned it to Gooding and Company’s Pebble Beach auction this week, August 2023, for a quick flip.
In any case, I took more than 500 detailed photos of the car that day, available for your viewing in the photo album linked below. We also shot various videos.
During my visit Kurt told me about the history of the car. How he imported it in 1985 after purchasing it in Germany while home visiting family. Amazingly, he has the original odometer for the car which proves the current mileage, a little over 61,000 miles at the time I was with him. The long video is really interesting and I think Kurt’s meticulous nature is conveyed, especially if you watch the last 10 minutes or so.
He discussed the various items that were changed and updated to federalize the car during the import process. I took photos of all the records and paperwork of that process. Kurt put the small, Euro bumpers back on the car once it was U.S. legal. He also re-installed the Euro headlights.
You’ll notice the paint meter readings show some areas that have been painted. Kurth explained some minor rust that was repaired on the driver’s door and rocker panels when he first got the car. He had those areas repaired and repainted. You can see the driver’s door is a slightly different shade of Champagne Metallic (color code 473) than the rest of the car.
The dark brown leather interior is original and in excellent condition. Most SLCs were highly optioned, there weren’t many options available… this one boasts heated seats and a sunroof. This is a 1981 model and therefore has ABS brakes as well as the 4 speed transmission. The 4 speed really makes this car as far as I’m concerned, a huge improvement over the 3 speed automatics found in regular 450 SLCs.
Ahead of its time in many respects, this is a fabulous car that I expect will achieve a high-water mark price for the model when it crosses the block this week at Gooding’s Pebble Beach sale.