All posts in Famous Owner

The King’s car: Elvis’ 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL

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Elvis Presley loved his cars. Or maybe he just liked being seen in cars. Either way, he had his far share of flashy automobiles in his life. Cadillac, Lincoln, Rolls-Royce, Mercedes-Benz highlighted a list which included other not-so-glorious makes that just looked flashy. Often when we see ”Elvis cars” come up for sale, they aren’t actually his cars. Usually they were bought by him and given as gifts to family or friends. Today’s featured 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL isn’t that case.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: Elvis’ 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SEL on eBay

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The Seinfeld Collection – Amelia Island 2016

As the final of my dream car posts we’ll settle in to the Amelia Island auctions for a group of exquisite Porsches and some of the most expensive available. Rather than stunning and rare color combinations these Porsches attract our notice through their historical relevance and, for many of them, their longevity. By now most are aware of Jerry Seinfeld’s love of Porsches; it’s been a long documented affair ever since the comedian became known across the world. He has decided to sell quite a few of them – 18 cars in all, 16 of those being Porsches – at Gooding & Company’s Amelia Island Auctions on March 11. None of the cars are inexpensive – the lowest priced likely being his 1960 Volkswagen Beetle – and many of them will stretch well into seven figures. For fans of Porsches it’s a very interesting time as many of Seinfeld’s cars are near impossible to find in this condition, with some of them near impossible to find at all. I have chosen a few examples to show here that particularly caught my eye. I won’t go through the details of each car since those details are extensive and well chronicled on the auction listing for each. Click through to read about each car’s history and also to view the rest of the Seinfeld lineup at Amelia Island:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1958 Porsche 356 A 1500 GS/GT Carrera Speedster

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Motorsports Monday: ex-Dempsey 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup

There has always been an allure about racing for actors, and some pretty famous ones have been associated with the Porsche brand. The list of famous movie stars that have piloted racing Porsches is pretty illustrious; Steve McQueen certainly made a splash, but then so did Paul Newman. Of course, James Dean is always linked with the brand. So does Patrick Dempsey belong in that storied group? You could argue that perhaps that wasn’t the case for acting, but in terms of passion for racing Dempsey has shown through his actions that heading to the track is a top priority for him. He even went so far as to say he’d quit acting if he could get a full-time racing ride. His exploits at Le Mans are at least on par with McQueen’s famous movie. And yes, you can say that too much has been made of it – but in my mind, Dempsey’s spotlight on the privateer competitions has only highlighted how fantastic the sport is, how diverse the drivers are, and represents the best aspects of the passion of racing. To prove that he’s serious, coupled with factory driver Patrick Long, Dempsey secured 2nd at Le Mans in 2015 and 3rd in the GTE Championship overall. That’s seriously impressive no matter how you slice it. Today, you can buy a piece of that Dempsey magic and plant your bottom right where Dr. McDreamy sat:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 2013 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup on eBay

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Elvis Presley’s 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600

(lights lift slowly over a sole figure on stage, the band strikes up the first notes to the familiar tune Jailhouse Rock. The singer breaks into verse…)

“Seller threw an auction up on eBay’s site
He was hopin’ that the listing got his price just right
He thought that the famous owner would take bidding far
‘Cause that giant Mercedes-Benz was Elvis’ car

Let’s bid, everybody let’s bid
Anyone who remembers who Elvis was
Will want to get in his old cars…”

I was going to make a concerted effort to write this entire post without referencing either a Twinkie or the signature catch phrase “Thank you, thank you very much”, but I’ve just failed. Look, I’m not here to give you a history lesson on Elvis or his importance. I’m not here to recount the leather jump-suited Vegas years, whether I like fat old Elvis or young vibrant Elvis, or even debate if he stole music from African Americans. I’m not going to give you a history lesson on the Mercedes-Benz 600, either. But let’s consider a few things about this car. The 600 was expensive. Really, really expensive. Arguably, in the late 1960s it was the nicest car that money could buy, and since it took a lot of money to buy, some really famous people owned them. Only about 2,600 were made, mostly in short wheel base variants like the one that Elvis bought. We learn he put $5,500 down and yet still had 36 monthly payments of $344. That equates to $17,844 in 1969; a figure which doesn’t seem particularly outrageous today and even inflation corrected it’s “only” about $116,000. But it was far more expensive than your average car, and it took near royalty to get into the 600. You needed to be someone like Elizabeth Taylor, John Lennon, or…well, Elvis to buy one. And if you weren’t an A-list celebrity , you were probably a dictator; Chairman Mao, for example, was a famous owner, along with Tito, Ceausescu, Pol Pot, Papa Doc, Hirihito, de Klerk, Marcos, Kim Jong-il, and Saddam Hussein. Basically, you go through history, and everyone the West considers a “baddy” owned a Mercedes-Benz 600. But, universally they’re still lauded as one of the most impressive automobiles ever made, and when you couple a celebrity owner (which, proportionally, is perhaps more likely than any other single model car in history other than some really low-volume models of Ferraris and Duesenbergs) you’ve got a recipe for a high asking price:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 600 on eBay

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James May’s 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe

Fans of the BBC motoring show Top Gear are familiar with the travails the show has gone through over the years and I assume are aware of its current status due principally to Jeremy Clarkson’s constant ability to cause problems. Always found in the midst of Jeremy’s bellowing and Hammond’s whining stood James May, otherwise known as Captain Slow. As a constant source of jabs from his two ridiculous co-presenters, May provided balance to the show, but behind the staid exterior was a genuine motoring enthusiast who has owned a number of interesting, and fast, cars and bikes over the years. Some of his machines have made appearances on Top Gear itself, while others have appeared in separate one-off shows he has been a part of during his Top Gear tenure. One of those, his Guards Red 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe with just under 55K kilometers on it, will be put up for auction at this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed on Friday, June 26. Among cars with famous owners this Carrera is somewhat unique in that it is currently owned by James rather than being a car that is an owner or two removed from its famous owner’s stewardship. For fans of the show, that makes this low-mileage Carrera just that extra bit more special.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1984 Porsche 911 Carrera Coupe on Classic Driver

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