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.
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.
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.
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.…
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.
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.
Last week I checked out a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL in Hellgrün which is a lovely, as well as much cheaper, alternative to the big brother 300SL. Well, today we have the big brother and believe it or not, it also is a 1957 in Hellgrün. Just to top it all off, it was owned by “The King of Hollywood” Clark Gable and has just 1,368 miles. But, as you might have guessed, this 300SL comes with a much higher price tag than the 190SL. Much, much higher.
Update 4/19/2018 – I can’t say that I’m very surprised the price hike to nearly $30,000 didn’t work, and this 645i has dropped back down to $23,750 – still $900 strong of the original ask.
Update 1/22/2018 – After not selling last Fall for $22,850, the seller of this unique period 6-series turbo is now asking $29,850.
I really love how these cars sometimes send you down the rabbit hole. What attracted me initially to this E24 was that it was a European-spec car and it had a pretty high asking price at nearly $23,000. Alone that wouldn’t be enough to warrant a post, especially given that from the first photo I glanced at, it doesn’t look spectacular.
But there’s a lot more than meets the eye when considering this car, and it has a lot more to do with the personality behind it than the current condition.
The name Albert Mardikian probably doesn’t mean much to you. Mr. Mardikian is a partner and the Chief Technology Officer behind ReGreen Organics, a company which deals with a lot of shit, for lack of a better term. I’m not being flippant. They’re an organic solid waste management company.
And it is in this capacity that Mr. Mardikian’s philosophy is particularly interesting when considering this car. He proclaims that he has a “passion for bettering our world”, yet his past would seem to have little to do with environmental improvement. That’s because in a past life Mr. Mardikian was also the proprietor of Trend Imports. Ring a bell? If not, perhaps a perusing of the Tom Cruise movie Rain Man would help you out. Mr. Cruise’s character’s subplot – an importer of exotic cars held up by the EPA – is based upon Mr. Mardikian. Because if you were in L.A.…
Sometimes cars and people just go together. Cars can mimic someones personality and mannerisms, both good and bad. So when it comes to matching up the legendary Mercedes-Benz 600, a car known as one of the most technologically advanced and complex cars ever, to someone who isn’t an entertainer or a dictator, who wants to own one of these? Enter Dr. Forrest Bird. You’ve probably never heard of that name before, just as I haven’t, but he is responsible for pioneering mechanical ventilators for people with acute and chronic heart and lung afflictions. In layman’s terms, he made the iron lung obsolete and helped millions of people over the years. Not only that, he was a certified pilot by the age of 16, served in WWII and assisted in the Korean and Vietnam wars, took his technology company public on the NASDAQ, opened up a museum, earned a M.D., Ph.D., Sc.D., D.S., started a charter school and just to top it all off, was awarded medals by not one, but two acting United States Presidents. Suddenly the problems of owning a 600 don’t seem so large.
Boy, do I have a car for you today. If you are in the market for a car and still haven’t found what you’re looking for, maybe it’s time to put your heart and desire into none of than U2 lead signer Bono’s 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SEL. This magnificent W116 features a cowhide-patterned interior that would feel right at home in Miami or even The Playboy Mansion. If that wasn’t enough it, it also has a stereo system so large that will last you until the end of the world. Also let us rejoice, as if you are at a red light with a few seconds to spare, you can talk on the 1990s car phone but everyone that dials you will be an unknown caller. So are you ready to rise up, maybe even levitate? Or just continue to sleep like a baby tonight and let this 450SEL sit for another day?
Engine: 4.5 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Price: Buy It Now £50,000 ($65,134)
To celebrate 30 years Joshua Tree, one of the best albums ever made
“Fitted with a pounds 15,000 sound system and cow-hide interior”
Do you want to buy piece of Rock an roll memorabilia.
Bono’s first car he got when he got few bob 🙂
He first bought just after U2 recorded the break through album Boy,
It’s very unique car Mercedes – 450 SEL in 1980’s
“body in good condition engine needs work”
Here is the thing with celebrity cars, they don’t mean squat for the value unless you are an absolute mega-star. Everyone wants to believe their cars once owned by a famous person 16 years and 4 owners ago suddenly quadruples it’s value.…