Pioneers of the Mercedes-Benz SL tradition make excellent investments
February 12, 2014
The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé, the 190 SL Roadster, and the 1957 successor to the Gullwing Coupé, the 300 SL Roadster (W 198), count among the most valuable historic vehicles in the world. This is underlined by the presence of all three at the top of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Index (MBCI) published by Historic Automobile Group International (HAGI). Originality and authenticity are particularly important here.
Some of the key indicators of how the value of the sports cars has evolved are similar, but the assessment by HAGI specialists indicates that there are significant differences too. This is primarily due to the number of vehicles produced, but other factors include the absolute value of the cars, their level of technical refinement and their historical significance, including the racing history of these models. According to HAGI, the average increase in value of the 190 SL is around 10 per cent per year since 1980; however in the last 10 years it was even higher at over 11 per cent. For the 300 SL Coupé, the average since 1980 is 11 per cent, but for the last 10 years the figure is almost 18 per cent, which corresponds to a quadrupling of the value since 2004. In the case of the 300 SL Roadster, the rise in value since 1980 is almost 13 per cent. For the 29 Gullwings that were built with aluminium bodywork, cars which are seen extremely rarely in the market, an average increase in value of more than 16 per cent can be demonstrated. A vehicle’s performance is predicated on it being maintained in first-rate condition or having been superbly restored, both of which are associated with substantial costs.
The main difference between the 190 SL and its larger cousins is its absolute price, which is not yet much different to that of a complete restoration. A perfect example is valued by the MBCI at just under the 200,000 euro mark. It’s a different story with the 300 SL: cars that are complete, but in poor overall condition, still trade for sums as high as 500,000 euros. With one of the rare aluminium-bodied coupés, the price is always in the order of several million euros, regardless of condition. In the MBCI, the 190 SL ranks directly behind classics such as the 300 SL Coupé and Roadster, the S-Series of the 1920s and the legendary 500 K and 540 K. It is also worth noting that prices for the 230/250/280 SL “Pagoda” model series W 113 are increasing massively.