Auction Report: The Most Expensive Car In The World, A 300SL With Hollywood Provenance X2 & A Grosser Pullman Offered For Sale
16 Août 2013 - The truth about cars
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, car auctions are a part of the hobby.
The hype is annoying, but the only true way to gauge something’s value right now is to put it up for sale. In that case, the most valuable car in the world today is Mercedes-Benz W196R chassis number 00006/54. It sold atBonhams‘ auction held in conjunction with this year’s Goodwood Festival for $29,619,826, shattering the record for price paid for a car at auction. The previous most expensive car in the world, a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa went for $16,390,000 in 2011 at Pebble Beach. One of 10 surviving cars out of 14 W196R racers made, it’s the car’s provenance that makes it so valuable. Sir Stirling Moss raced it, but more significantly, Juan Manuel Fangio drove this car to victory at the Grands Prix in Germany and Switzerland in 1954, on his way to the world championship that year.
Another Mercedes-Benz car with provenance associated with two well known figures will be going on the block at Auctions America’s upcoming auction in Burbank, California. That’s an appropriate location to be selling the 1957 300 SL roadster owned by two notable television personalities, Robert Stack and Desi Arnaz. In 1960, Stack was enjoying the success of the Untouchables tv show, produced by Arnaz and Lucille Ball’s Desilu studio. A car guy who raced Model A Fords and speedboats, he considered buying a used 300SL in a Mercedes-Benz showroom on Sunset Blvd. In 1998 he told Motor Trend, “the lines were just beautiful…Every day I’d look at it, and my wife would ask why don’t I just save up and get it. Well, I’d never pay that much money for a car for myself.” Someone else bought the car, but unbeknownst to Stack it was his friend and boss Arnaz, who knew of Stack’s desire for the car. That year Stack won an Emmy for his role on the Untouchables while Arnaz was winning one for producing the show. After the ceremony, they were basking in their success. “We’re standing around holding the Emmys and Desi says ‘Let’s go outside, Amigo.’ All of a sudden I hear a roar and around the corner screams this green Mercedes and a guy with Mercedes overalls gets out and says ‘Mr. Stack, here are your keys.’” Stack owned the car until his death in 2003. Since then it’s been repainted in a dark red, but it’s otherwise close to original condition, with blue California UNTCHBL license plates.
The 300 SL was popular in Hollywood but other celebrities preferred the gravitas of the so-called grosser Mercedes, the 1974 600 Pullman limousine, an example of which will also cross the block at the Burbank auction. One of only 429 long wheelbase 600 series cars, it also has celebrity provenance, having been owned by the British acid jazz band Jamiroquai and is said to have appeared in one of their music videos.