The big story
Mercs make money
The most popular make offered at auction isn’t Ford or Jaguar or MG, but Mercedes-Benz. The German carmaker consistently outpoints other makes when it comes to classics offered, with 1960s through to early 1990s models seldom failing to sell.
The Mercedes-Benz offering covers everything from sporting SL and SLK models to luxury S-class saloons, entry-level 190s (and early C-classes) through to SL ‘gullwing’ models and pre-war supercharged grand tourers.
No auction is complete without a Mercedes-Benz and King’s Lynn’s Anglia Car Auctions has sold more than any other classic auctioneer. Its January sale lined up a 1964 ‘fintail’ in breadline-specification 190 form (£9660), a 1957 190SL (selling for £110,245) and a slightly down-at-heel 1964 230 SL automatic that was sold for £43,050.
The most popular models are W123 and W124 saloons and their coupé and estate derivatives (and in W124 form, a convertible), these continuing to find new owners thanks to their deserved reputation for reliability and build quality.
While the W123 is sometimes seen as the last ‘true’ Benz, the W124 successor has found favour among classic enthusiasts not only for great build quality but spares support and specialists to carry out servicing and repairs. ACA stepped up to the plate again with a 1987 260E in German taxi cream with cloth trim and service history. It was sold for £1400. A range-topping 1991 300E-24 saloon was smart enough to make £4401, proving that values of good examples are firming up.
The W126 S-class offers a truly viable alternative to Jaguar XJ models and, in top-specification 500 and 560 form, takes on the Silver Spirit and its Bentley siblings. Offering equally fine performance and practicality, the two-door SEC is a Corniche fixed-head rival without the costs: Charterhouse sold a 1990 500SE in 2/2+ condition for £7700 and Barons a 1988 420SE for £3850.
Venturing off-road, the G-wagen has the practicality of a Land Rover with better build quality, and while earlier models are fairly basic, later ones offer a more generous specification akin to a Range Rover. Prices can range from £1500 for a rusty project to the £12,100 paid for
a short-wheelbase 1985 280 GE at CCA’s September sale.
Janis Joplin once sang ‘Oh Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?’ But with the choice across all prices, there’s no reason why any classic enthusiast shouldn’t own a Benz at least once in their lives.
The Mercedes-Benz SEC rivals a Rolls-Royce Corniche in everything apart from price.