Market Commentary


23 Jul, 2021

Harvest Beige is probably the Registry’s least favorite R107 color. To us it is the bland 70s in contrast to the funky 70s (Cayenne Orange or Nickel Green anybody?). With the majority of SLs now either being weekend cars or garage art - let’s be honest, how many times do we get our collector cars out on the road – we feel fun colors are just that, more fun. Harvest Beige was the respectable color in the 70s that just doesn’t work for us today. But…. there are exceptions to every rule! Put Harvest Beige on a super early 280SL and suddenly the Staff really likes it! 1974 280SL VIN# 10704212000294 was on eBay in St Paul, Minnesota, last week and sold for $7100. We think the exterior color, interior color (also beige!), overall crappy pictures and more important for a Midwestern car, the lack of underside photos held back the price. Depending on how rusty it was, someone got a good deal. We were tempted to put in a bid but have already been burned recently. (One of these days we’ll face the shame of writing up our ’73 manual.) If this was our 280, and it ran good when it arrived, we’d swap the hubcaps (SL blasphemy!) for a set of @maxilitewheels 15” or the new Maxilite 16” bundts from Registry sponsor @macarbonfiber to break up the beige and give a little visual pop. We’d then just drive it, basking in our 70s respectability!


08 Jul, 2021

Does an (in)famous owner help or hurt a sale? We all know the premium an Elvis or McQueen brings for a car but how about a former owner that’s not as acclaimed? Travolta’s SL has been floating around for a while (with no takers) but how about an owner that’s a little more, umm… controversial? Euro 380SL Vin#WDB10704512000365 is an early euro 380 owned by late Dennis Hof, founder/owner of the Bunny Ranch – the most famous Nevada brothel of the last 40 years. Though the Registry Staff has lived decently interesting lives, we did not know of Dennis because of visits to the Bunny Ranch (not judging customers or providers!) but because he was often on US radio from the 90s promoting his business pretty much until his passing in 2016. So when we read the seller’s paragraph giving the full story of this car, we knew we had to post it. Apparently #365 had been in storage in Palm Springs for 27 years since a divorce in the early 90s left it in legal limbo. Seller says carfax reports 90K miles through that time though the cluster says 14K. It requires starting fluid to fire and will need a fuel system rebuild. It also has 560 seats in it but otherwise looks to be in nice shape. Seller is looking for $10K. Seems like he’s in the ballpark though we’d probably only pay $8K as who knows what else it will need after such a long hibernation. Question would be if Registry Staff spouses would want to have that car in the garage? Probably not! Swipe for more pics of the car and one of the former owner.


02 Jul, 2021

This SL is on FB marketplace in Vienna, Ohio and it looks like its going to need a lot of money thrown at it! From the bumpers, its just another ready to be recycled US 72-73 4.5L car. But the add says it’s a 280 ‘XL’. Getting more interesting… and then you notice it’s a manual. Very interesting... then the serial number nerds notice it’s a very early car… number 193. Yes, the Registry staff happen to be serial number nerds! 10704210000193 has 89K miles claimed and if for sale for ‘only’ $5500. Color was white of some sort over (probably) bamboo. A nice color combo we think. This would make for an interesting restoration project – if you knew how to weld and had a parts car with a nice interior. Since early VINs don’t seem to matter to many other than a few (including us) there would be plenty of 280 4 speed manuals you could get into for a lot less than the end cost of this car. And there are probably quite a few of the 192 earlier 280s than this one running around – though we only have #50, 54, 101 and 165 in our database. But being a manual, early 280 with a decent mileage number, we think its worth saving. Since the Registry Staff has too many projects already… we’re posting it here. If we were to see it on BAT all restored and gong for big money in a year or two we might have a little twinge of regret but we’ll be happy it was saved. If you do have an early 280 (or any early or very late of any R107 model) please message us.


01 Jul, 2021

We wrote up 1977 350SL VIN# 10704312013078 a month ago on May 24th 2021 when it was on CraigsList for $18.5. At the time we said the price was too high for the condition. Boy were we right! It’s now on Hemmings with a dealer in Michigan for $14.9K. What is visible in the new photos is that the paint has major issues and the driver’s seat would need to be redone before you’d want to use it. A tip when looking at ads is to look at the light reflections in the paint. Its in those reflections that any cracks, scratches or other issues will show up. ‘Soft’ outdoors photos often wash out those imperfections. (Unless you really want the car, then you can ignore even those reflections… we’ll write up our manual 350 soon!) The new photos of #13078 show (at least in our opinion) paint surface problems on the trunk and hood. Maybe one could get away with just repainting the upper surfaces but difficult to tell from the pics. The original ad in May didn’t have detailed interior shots but in the new pics, we see the driver seat is going to need new pads and new covers. If you do the driver’s seat, you have to do the passenger seat as well. According to Registry sponsor @macarbonfiber, they sell new pads for $800/set of 4, new covers run anywhere from $500 to $1100 depending on options and labor will run another $600-$1000 depending on the local market. Wild guessing paint at $1500 and the seats at $2300 (using some middle averages), there is another $3800 to do. But do those, assuming it runs well, you’d have an attractive euro 3.5SL with 75K miles on it. Question for a SL shopper is if they are looking for a fairly easy project to complete or something more turn-key? A quick plug for the Registry website. The searchable database is now live. Both of these records on #13078 can be found there. Check our profile for the link.


25 Jun, 2021

The really first head-scratching moment on BAT for us was back in April of 2018 when 1973 450SL VIN# 10704412011127 sold for $65,000. #11127 showed 13K miles but to our eyes it did not feel like a fresh car. Perhaps it was the time-worn parchment door panels, the kind of clean but dirty engine, lots of pretty but ‘soft’ exterior photos, it just didn’t look like what the mileage would hopefully imply. When going back to pick some photos for this write-up we noticed in an engine shot a reflection of the paint on the fender… oh boy! Be sure to zoom in. To have brought $65K to us was astounding. We would have pegged this car (even today) at maybe, maybe $35K. We would certainly be interested in the buyer’s opinion when the car showed up. We’d guess at least 5-8K of work would have been needed to make the car fun to use. But then using it would affect the value so maybe it was just parked. This auction one of the first to show us the power of low mileage claims for SLs and of BAT – really the first company to figure out how to make an auction into an almost FB post where the crowd does the PPI. Despite the commentators questioning the condition, it still sold for that very high number. The seller is a well known BAT seller but the buyer had only bid on this car, no other bids on anything and only made one comment on another car. However the under-bidder has a lot of purchases and other activity so there was real money at play. Another great aspect of BAT is being able to see all users’ activity. Certainly better than eBay’s review system. The Registry has started to add the BAT results to our database. The listings will have the main photo, sale or last bid price and a link back to the BAT auction. The other innovation BAT brought to the market was keeping the record of the sale public. eBay, CL and others dump the record after a period of time. Could you imagine easily being able to access the last 20 years of eBay SL results? Well, at least with the Registry website you see if the car was on eBay in the last 3 or so!

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