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Rustbucket classic Mercedes-Benz sells at auction for nearly £40k

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A ‘rustbucket’ Mercedes-Benz that has languished in pieces in a garage for over 30 years has sold for nearly £40,000 at a UK auction this week.

The 1961 190 SL is certainly one of just 562 examples produced by the legendary German brand for the UK market, but has fallen right into a state of significant disrepair after being kept in storage for over three a long time.

And it doesn’t even have an engine, with the powerplant stolen after it had been stripped from the chassis firstly of a long-planned – but never accomplished – restoration effort by the seller.

While the automobile is currently only a rusting shell – even missing the rear axle – there could possibly be hope for the brand new owner. That is because, fully rebuilt and refurbished, it could possibly be value as much as £200,000, in response to experts.

Seen higher days: This ‘rustbucket’ classic Mercedes-Benz is certainly one of only a handful remaining today. That is why a collector paid almost £40,000 for this dilapidated example at auction this week

Only a handful of right-hand-drive 190 SLs are believed to survive today – though most will likely be in a greater condition than this instance.

It was bought by the seller and her father as a project back in 1989.

Nonetheless, once they entrusted it to a garage for safekeeping, the automobile was stripped apart and its engine stolen.

The car has been in storage for around three decades after the vendor and her late father bought the vehicle in 1989 as a family project that was never completed

The automobile has been in storage for around three a long time after the seller and her late father bought the vehicle in 1989 as a family project that was never accomplished

The 1961 190 SL is one of just 562 examples produced by the legendary German brand for the UK market, but has fallen into a state of serious disrepair after being kept in storage for over three decades

The 1961 190 SL is certainly one of just 562 examples produced by the legendary German brand for the UK market, but has fallen right into a state of significant disrepair after being kept in storage for over three a long time

Only a handful of right-hand-drive 190 SLs are believed to survive today - though most will be in a better condition than this one

Only a handful of right-hand-drive 190 SLs are believed to survive today – though most will likely be in a greater condition than this one

The devastated pair later reclaimed the gutted shell and placed it in a storage unit, where it has remained until the H&H Classics auction on Wednesday on the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, Derbyshire.

The family project was never realised after the girl’s father fell sick with dementia. He has since passed away and his daughter decided to part ways with the classic German roadster after 33 years.

When the hammer dropped this week, the winning bid for the rusting relic was a staggering £38,250 – well above the pre-sale lower estimate of £25,000 and just higher than the £35,000 top-end guide price.

A few of the proceeds from the sale are to be donated to a vascular dementia charity in the seller’s father’s memory.

When the father and daughter entrusted the classic Mercedes to a garage for safekeeping, it was stripped apart and its engine stolen

When the daddy and daughter entrusted the classic Mercedes to a garage for safekeeping, it was stripped apart and its engine stolen

Having taken back toe remains of the stripped-down classic German motor, it has remained under a tarpaulin in the storage unit ever since

Having taken back toe stays of the stripped-down classic German motor, it has remained under a tarpaulin within the storage unit ever since

The collectible Mercedes was pulled from its slumber recently before going under the hammer at H&H Classics auction at the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, Derbyshire this week

The collectible Mercedes was pulled from its slumber recently before going under the hammer at H&H Classics auction on the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, Derbyshire this week

Most of the automobile’s parts have been retained in storage and are present and proper – though how salvageable they’re is one other query.

This includes the dashboard, steering wheel, doors, front chairs and rear bench, removable hard-top roof and even the glass windscreen.

Despite its drained and rusted state, the two-door roadster continues to be highly desirable.

The shell was stripped back to the bare metal, with the interior removed entirely, as well as the doors, axles, wheels, seats and just about everything else that would usually be bolted into the classic motor

The shell was stripped back to the bare metal, with the inside removed entirely, in addition to the doors, axles, wheels, seats and nearly every part else that may often be bolted into the classic motor

Despite its tired and rusted state, the two-door roadster is still highly desirable and so rare that an 'excellent' condition version would sell for around £118,000

Despite its drained and rusted state, the two-door roadster continues to be highly desirable and so rare that an ‘excellent’ condition version would sell for around £118,000

Classic car valuations specialists say a 1961 right-hand-drive model like this one - in supreme condition - could fetch around £220k

Classic automobile valuations specialists say a 1961 right-hand-drive model like this one – in supreme condition – could fetch around £220k

Around 25,800 190 SL cars were made between 1955 and 1963 but just two per cent of those were right-hand drive models.

This automobile is believed to be certainly one of just 3,792 190 SLs made through the 1961 production 12 months. 

Classic automobile valuations specialists, Hagerty UK, says an ‘excellent’ condition example of the automobile could be value £118,000 today. Nonetheless, a 1961 190 SL in pristine ‘concours’ condition – meaning low mileage, highly original and ok for a museum display – would sell for £219,000.

H&H Classics hold the world record for the costliest right-hand drive Mercedes-Benz 190SL ever sold at public auction (£224,250 achieved in November 2021) and so know that there is robust interest in these stylish roadsters. 

Here's how it could look: This is the world record holding right-hand drive 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, which H&H Classics sold at public auction for £224,250 in November 2021

Here’s the way it could look: That is the world record holding right-hand drive 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190 SL, which H&H Classics sold at public auction for £224,250 in November 2021

Around 25,800 190 SL cars were made between 1955 and 1963 but just two per cent of those were right-hand drive models

Around 25,800 190 SL cars were made between 1955 and 1963 but just two per cent of those were right-hand drive models

This car is believed to be one of just 3,792 190 SLs made during the 1961 production year.

This automobile is believed to be certainly one of just 3,792 190 SLs made through the 1961 production 12 months.

Not only does it need an entirely new engine, it's without a gearbox and it only has the front axle. The rear was stolen along with the powerplant

Not only does it need a wholly recent engine, it’s with out a gearbox and it only has the front axle. The rear was stolen together with the powerplant

The removable roadster hard-top roof is also present and correct, but needing quite a lot of work to be restored

The removable roadster hard-top roof can be present and proper, but needing quite loads of work to be restored

Despite these high valuations, even selling at the upper end of those estimations we do not know if there could be much profit left if the brand new keeper plans to revive the dilapidated vehicle.

Not only does it need a wholly recent engine, it’s with out a gearbox and it only has the front axle. ‘There could also be further absent parts too,’ says the auction listing.

Sourcing and buying all the missing components – and people beyond repair – could turn this right into a costly rebuild indeed. 

Matching engine and chassis numbers are also vitally essential for traditional automobile values, which will likely be a significant stumbling block for this particular automobile unless the unique powerplant could be tracked down all these years after being pinched.

Items including the dashboard fascia, gear stick and steering wheel are all original and had been stored in boxes. They were sold with the shell for the near-£40,000 winning bid

Items including the dashboard fascia, gear stick and steering wheel are all original and had been stored in boxes. They were sold with the shell for the near-£40,000 winning bid

Lots of the interior components and other mechanical parts are pictured here. That includes the interior mirror and odometer

Numerous the inside components and other mechanical parts are pictured here. That features the inside mirror and odometer

The seats have also been retained. While many of the parts are salvageable, it will be a costly process getting them back to a decent condition

The seats have also been retained. While lots of the parts are salvageable, it’s going to be a costly process getting them back to a good condition

The doors, wheel caps and even the glass windscreen were all retained as part of the unfinished project

The doors, wheel caps and even the glass windscreen were all retained as a part of the unfinished project

Deemed ‘too steep a mountain to climb’ by a few of those that viewed it, the two-seater was nonetheless fiercely contested with interest from Texas, India and the UK. It will definitely sold to a Briton for an estimate busting £38,250. 

Paul Cheetham, a specialist at H&H Classics of Warrington, Cheshire, said: ‘The rarity of this model led to it selling for nearly £40,000.

‘The indisputable fact that it’s a right hand drive automobile was a extremely big factor. They’re few and much between. Fully restored they’re highly desirable and might sell for over £200,000.

‘It will be a improbable restoration project and a guaranteed investment.

‘Our vendor had accepted that she was never going to get around to restoring it. She desired to see it returned to its former glory in her lifetime.’

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