In 1996 a brand new Mercedes SL500 was stored in a central London garage in Knightsbridge, but the owner lost the keys, and it was never used again.
Purchased from Normand of Mayfair as a birthday present for its sole lady owner, it was driven just 80 miles before being stored. Twenty-one years later the car was found by international auctioneers Coys and could fetch £55,000 at their Spring Classics auction this Wednesday.
Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said: “This is a car with a fantastic story! Purchased as a birthday present and driven only 80 miles 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 £5,000 and £7,000, 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.”
The Mercedes 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 takes pace at the Royal Horticultural Society, London at 19.00, 12 April.