1998 Mercedes-Benz SL600

Yellow is always a hit or miss color when it comes to German cars. Some cars it looks great on like a Porsche 930 or a Volkswagen GTI 20th Anniversary Edition. Other cars, maybe not so much. When it comes to yellow Mercedes-Benz, there aren’t a whole lot of them out there. This was a hot color in the 1960s and 1970s, but outside of the first-generation SLK and the new AMG GT, you won’t find many painted in this bright shade. When you do, it is literally just a handful of them and they were probably painted that way by special request. Today car, the king R129 SL600, is painted in the factory Yellowstone 685. At least that is how it sits now. Let me explain.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1998 Mercedes-Benz SL600 on eBay

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1968 Mercedes-Benz 600

A few days ago I was talking with a friend who owns and operates a Mercedes-Benz restoration shop and the topic of the W100 600 came up. It was mostly me asking all kind of questions as to what it is like to own one of these cars and getting answers that blew my mind. One thing stuck out that about stopped me in my tracks. He told me that a 600 he services for a doctor had to choose between doing some repairs on his car or putting a new roof on his house. It was at that moment I realized I was never going to own a 600 nor want to own a 600. Our conversation then turned to the cost-per-mile calculation to own one of these and he threw out the number of roughly $5. Most exotics usually average about $3.50 a mile. That means if you own a 600 and drive it a conservative 2,000 miles a year, you can expect your wallet to be $10,000 lighter. To think, some people still don’t understand that this just isn’t another old Mercedes that has some pricey parts on it. I’ve said this before and I want to say it again, there is no faking owning a 600. The amount of time and money needed to keep one of these probably surpasses some short-lived marriages.

Anytime a 600 pops up for sale, I always hurry to take a look because of the crazy options that could be lurking inside as well as the possibility of it being owned by a celebrity and/or murderous dictator. Today’s 600, a 1968 up for sale in Chicago, probably didn’t have any executions called in from the rear seat because it wasn’t owned by someone of that ilk and this car is equipped with a rear refrigerator, not a telephone. This 600 was actually first ordered and owned by a man named Don Ricardo. Ricardo was a NBC Orchestra conductor but real passion was cars — especially Mercedes-Benz. Ricardo owned two 300SL Gullwings, a 1928 SSK and one of the most infamous Mercedes of all-time, a 1935 roadster custom-built for Nazi Gestapo chief Heinrich Himmler. I assume this car was a 770. Anyway, safe to say that Ricardo liked his cars and knew exactly what he was buying in this 600. From there, details on this W100 are slim but thanks to the power of the internet, I was able to uncover a little more about this Grosse.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

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Johnny Cash’s 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL

It probably isn’t a surprise that the ”Man in Black” Johnny Cash also liked in his cars in black. It might be a little bit of a surprise that the romantic outlaw musician liked his black car to be a Mercedes-Benz 560SEL. I have to admit I didn’t expect a man with an image like Cash to choose such a fancy car like a 560SEL, but I suppose the W126 will make believers of us all. Cash purchased this vehicle new in 1990 which meant he would have been 59 years-old at the time, so it’s not like he was in the prime of his lawless ways, but image is everything and I guess in the pre-internet days it was a lot easier not to be seen. Nonetheless, this is what is claimed to be his last car and now it is up for bid in Tennessee. Fair warning, if you are expecting a prime example 560SEL, you aren’t going to find it here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Johnny Cash’s 1990 Mercedes-Benz 560SEL on eBay

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Motorsports Monday: Niki Lauda’s 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190e 2.3-16v

To celebrate the opening of the newly revised Nürburgring in 1984, Mercedes-Benz organized a friendly, yet still fiercely competitive race between some of the greatest Formula 1 drivers of all time. That means names like Sir Stirling Moss, James Hunt, Alain Prost  , Phil Hill, and upstart Ayrton Senna were among the drives in the field. What were they all driving? None other than the then-new 190E 2.3-16V. All of these cars were slightly modified for the race with bolt-in roll cages and some racing seats but other than that, they ran the cars as-is. The winner of the race was the 24 year-old Senna, which isn’t much of a surprise when looking back now, but the driver who finished 2nd? Nikki Lauda. This is his car he raced and yes, it is now for sale.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Mercedes-Benz 190e 2.3-16v at Auto Classics

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King Juan Carlos I of Spain’s 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9

Some of my favorite cars to look at are special builds from manufactures to serve a specific purpose or person. One of those purposes is diplomat cars and all the crazy modifications they receive compared to the normal civilian version. Today, we have an already special 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 that was modified for Juan Carlos I during his rule as King of Spain. This M100-powered S-Class is fully armored and a rear sunroof was added so he and his wife, Queen Sofía, could stand on the rear seats to wave at people during parades and events. This W116 was also equipped with the customary flag holders on the front fenders and a siren to alert all the mere normal citizens to get out-of-the-way. But now, Juan Carlos I is 80 years-old and while he still gets driven around in a S-Class, he also prefers some faster toys too.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1978 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 on Mobile.de

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Bill Gates’ 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500

Last week I checked out probably one my favorite R129s, a 2000 SL500 Designo that everyone else seemed to enjoy too with its unique paint and interior color combination. Well, turns out we weren’t the only one who fawned over this unique SL. Recently decrowned richest person in the world, Bill Gates, seemed to have an eye for this R129 too. According to this seller, this 2000 SL500 up for sale in Silicon Valley no less, was originally owned by the Gates for the first two years of its life. This is wonderful and all, but unlike the car I checked out last week, I’m not totally in love with this specific example. Let me explain why.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Bill Gates’ 2000 Mercedes-Benz SL500 on eBay

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Rowan Atkinson’s 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500E

Most people know him as ‘Mr. Bean’, car enthusiasts know him as the guy to crash his McLaren twice but only the most hardcore Mercedes aficionados will know him as a mutiple Mercedes-Benz W124 500E owner. This man is of course the legendary actor, comedian and screenwriter, Rowan Atkinson. Atkinson has always been known as a ”car guy” with classics like the Acura NSX, Renault 5 GT Turbo, Aston Martin DBS V8, 1939 BMW 328 and the list goes on and on. Surprisingly, he has chosen to give up two of his classic sport saloons at auction next month in England. One being the super rare Lancia Thema 8.32, the car famous for being powered by the Tipo 105L 3.0-liter V8 shared with the Ferrari 308 and Mondial Quattrovalvo and the other being this handsome 1993 500E. The W124.036 has been blue chip vehicle from the 1990s for years now, but one that has the ultra-rare cloth interior and owned by Mr. Bean? This super sedan could end up being pretty pricey once the hammer falls.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Rowan Atkinson’s 1993 Mercedes-Benz 500E at Silverstone Auctions

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Corvette Connection: 2001 Audi S4

Update 1/29/2018: The asking price on this S4 has dropped from $13,995 to $12,995.
The B5 S4. On paper, it’s a car that I should like a lot. Coming from the modest 4000 quattro, Audi produced what should have been a monster on paper; a 2.7 liter twin-turbocharged V6 rated at over twice the power of the old inline-5s mated to a 6-speed manual transmission. 6-spoke “Avus” wheels carried on the late 90s design in 17″ form, with deeper but still subdued body additions and more grills hinting at the better performance of this A4-based creation. Twin polished exhaust tips, Xenon headlights, deeply bolstered sport seats and plenty of technology also came along from the ride, too.

But for me the B5 S4 sedan was never super exciting. Perhaps that was because it was instantly popular. What I remember annoying me more, though, was that it really seemed like Audi could have produced stronger performance. After all, it generated only a few more horsepower than the last favorite – at launch, the already out-of-production E36 M3 was the match for the performance of the S4 due to its lighter weight. And that was in turned-down U.S. spec! More sharply notable was the launch at the same time of the S8, and the S4 was some 90 horsepower down on that model. Yet get behind the wheel of one, and suddenly it wasn’t a lack of grunt you were noticing. It was how well the package pulled together. It rode well, it had a glut of usable torque thanks to the small twin turbos’ ability to spin up so quickly, and the fit and finish inside was leagues better than the E36 was. And while you could stick snow snows on an E36 and make it through winter just fine, as a year-round commuter car the S4 made a lot more sense while simultaneously being a much better sleeper. It was a ‘Q-Ship’; admittedly, not the biggest or fastest one out there, but certainly an undercover speed agent.

Those in the know noticed, and although today’s example has sprouted wings and is decidedly not as understated as it left the factory, when you see the name of the original owner you’ll understand why…

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2001 Audi S4 on eBay

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Steve Jobs’ 2000 BMW Z8

In my time looking at cars owned by the famous, I’ve run across a wide variety of people. From earlier this week of the ‘King of Basketball’ to the ‘King of Rock & Roll, I’ve even looked at actual kings. Sometimes the cars have a cool story but most of the time it is merely a name on an old piece of paper or if I’m really lucky, a photo or two of that person in the car. But today’s car, the gorgeous BMW Z8, was owned by a guy who changed technology and how we use it forever  — and I could really care less.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Steve Jobs’ 2000 BMW Z8 at RM Sotheby’s

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Michael Jordan’s 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722

Michael Jordan is one of the most popular athletes and brand in the world. He’s worth over a billion dollars and with that usually comes some expensive cars. Normally, wealthy celebrities go out grab the latest and greatest vehicle, drive it for a few years, then rinse and repeat. But even before Jordan was worth 10 figures, he always had some really enthusiast-minded cars. He had a Ferrari 512 TR, W140 S600, Ferrari 599 GTB Fiorano, C4 Corvettes, SL55 AMG, 930 Slantnose and my personal favorite, a 993 Turbo S. Today’s car for sale in Texas might be one of the rarest cars he’s ever owned. This 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 Edition owned by M.J. is just one of 150 ever built. And judging by its original price tag of just under $500,000, it was probably one of the most expensive cars he has even bought.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Michael Jordan’s 2007 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren 722 on AutoTrader

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