It spent the last 21 years stored in a London garage.
This sort of thing happens from time-to-time, especially when it involves a car with some measure of perceived collectability. Of course, that’s assuming the car was originally bought and stored with the intention of someday reaping a healthy return. Sometimes, people makes such purchases just because. Oh to be rich enough to buy a new drop top Mercedes simply because it’s Thursday.
That brings us to this positively stunning 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL500 that shows just 81 miles on the odometer since new. The story behind this one-owner car is that it was purchased in the U.K. as a birthday gift for a lady back in 1996. It was driven 75 miles, then sentenced by said owner to a life of storage in her central London garage. She’s been the only owner through all these years.
According to the National Auto Dealers Association (NADA), this was a $90,000 car brand new in the United States back in 1996. NADA goes on to list excellent-condition examples being worth $13,700 in 2017 America. Obviously there will be some market differences across the pond, but we certainly hope this poor Merc wasn’t relegated to the garage in the hopes of a big payday. Even with just 81 miles, this car likely won’t be worth anywhere near that original retail price.
The car does look immaculate, however. It appears to have been reasonably well looked after during its garage years, though we are told it underwent some light reconditioning. It has the desirable M119 5.0-liter DOHC V8 that's good for 322 horsepower – an impressive figure in 1996 but lest we forget, the 500SL was a portly two-seater with a curb weight of 4,100 pounds.
This particular 500SL was up for auction yesterday at Coys Spring Classics in Westminster, London. We don’t yet know if it sold or what the final price was; auction estimates were in the $56,000-$68,000 range. There are plenty of nice, inexpensive 500SLs around for folks who want one, but with just 81 miles on the odometer, there probably isn’t another virtually new example of mid-1990s Mercedes performance to be found anywhere else. We’ll update this article with a final price once we get the details.