A RARE FIND: This classic 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 will be on auction with only 128km on the clock. It was in storage for two decades because the owner lost the keys! Image: Newspress
London - In 1996, a then new Mercedes-Benz SL500 was stored in a central London garage in Knightsbridge. The owner reportedly lost the keys and the roadster was never used again.
Twenty-one years later the car was located by international auctioneers Coys and could fetch the equivalent of R944 000 at its Spring Classics auction at the Royal Horticultural Society in London later in April.
Purchased from Normand of Mayfair as a birthday present for its sole lady owner, it was driven just 128km before being stored.
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Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said: “This is a car with a fantastic story! Purchased as a birthday present and driven only 128km before the owner lost the keys and never drove it again. It even comes with a letter written by the owner’s butler verifying its mileage and its provenance.”
He added: “Had she not lost the keys and used it regularly, we estimate it would now be worth between £5000 and £7000, but the fact that it has kept such a low mileage and has not been driven in more than twenty years makes it worth between £45 000 and £55 000.
"What happened with the keys remains a mystery but the car comes with new keys for the new owner. Perhaps you shouldn’t panic the next time you misplace your car keys…!”
Do you have any bizarre or quirky stories about any classic cars? Tell us via email, Facebook and Twitter.
AS GOOD AS NEW: This 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL500 only has 128km on the clock. Image: Newspress.
The Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 roadsters were produced from 1989 through 2002, featuring many innovative details for the time, such as electronically controlled damping and a hidden, automatically extending roll-over bar, electric windows and mirrors.
This is one of the more powerful and sought after M119 engined cars and also boasts a number of optional factory extras, including heated front seats, 6 CD multi-changer, upgraded radio and wood-leather steering wheel. The car has just recently been subject of a light re-commission and is supplied with books, manuals and an MOT certificate until March 2018.
Routledge said: “This unblemished Mercedes-Benz must surely be one of the lowest mileage R129 series SL500 in existence. Virtually in new condition for its age, it is certainly a brand new classic!”
The auction also features the following vehicles:
- 1967 Aston Martin DB6 delivered new to the Director of the “Doctor” film Series Ralph Thomas (£160 000- £200 000)
- 1973 Aston Martin V8 with 106 216km from new (£75,000 - £90 000)
- 1972 Aston Martin DBS (£90 000 - £110 000)
- 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8 Flat Floor Roadster subject of a 2600hs restoration (£190 000 - £225 000)
- An original right hand drive 1973 Jaguar E-type V12 Roadster with only 2,500 miles from new (£170 000 - £225 000) and a matching numbers 1954 Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe SE (£90 000 - £110 000).
Other cars on offer include:
- 1923 Rolls-Royce 20HP by Smith & Waddington (£45 000 - £55 000)
- One of only 241 produced 1991 Lamborghini LM02 (£140 000 - £180 000)
- 1989 AC Cobra MK IV with only 12 070km from new (£120 000 - £150 000)
- 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 (£130 000 - £160 000)
- 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi with coachwork by Scaglietti, design by Pininfarina and complete Ferrari service history (£60 000 - £70 000).