Losing Your Car Keys Could Make You A Fortune
By Kyle Lindsay
Monday, April 17, 2017 - 12:30
In 1996 a brand new Mercedes-Benz SL500 was stored in a central London garage in Knightsbridge, but the owner lost the keys, and it was never used again.
Twenty-one years later the car was found by international auctioneers Coys and could fetch £55,000 at their Spring Classics auction on Wednesday of this week at the Royal Horticultural Society in London.
Purchased from Normand of Mayfair as a birthday present for its sole lady owner, it was driven just 80 miles before being stored.
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. Perhaps you shouldn’t panic the next time you misplace your car keys…!”
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 a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 delivered new to the Director of the “Doctor” film Series Ralph Thomas (£160,000- £200,000), a 1973 Aston Martin V8 with 66,000 miles from new (£75,000 – £90,000), a 1972 Aston Martin DBS (£90,000 – £110,000), a 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8 Flat Floor Roadster subject of a 2,600hs 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 a 1923 Rolls-Royce 20HP by Smith & Waddington (£45,000 – £55,000), one of only 241 produced 1991 Lamborghini LM02 (£140,000 – £180,000), a 1989 AC Cobra MK IV with only 7,500 miles from new (£120,000 – £150,000), 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 (£130,000 – £160,000) and a 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi with coachwork by Scaglietti, design by Pininfarina and complete Ferrari service history (£60,000 – £70,000).
Address Royal Horticultural Society, Lindley Hall, Vincent Square, London, SW1P 2PE
Date 19:00hs on Wednesday 12th April 2017
Viewing Tuesday 11th April from 12:00hs to 20:00hs
On the day of the sale from 10:00hs to start of sale
Spring Classics full catalogue: www.coys.co.uk/spring-classics-2017