Fancy a R13-Million Set of Wheels? | Inspire
 Fancy a R13-Million Set of Wheels?
Good to Know
Good to Know

Fancy a R13-Million Set of Wheels?

At the recent George Old Car Show, the Mercedes-Benz Club of SA showcased some of the most valuable vintage vehicles in the country – have a look at these six beauties.

1. Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster, 1958

The original 250km/h supercar was the 300 SL Gullwing of 1954 – the first road car ever to use a fuel-injected 3.0-litre straight six. But with a tricky rear swing-axle it wasn't the best handler, and in 1957 it was followed up by the massaged Roadster, which produced more power and torque and had improved road holding. Only 1 858 were manufactured by the time production ended in 1963, making Andre Fourie's pristine example worth celebrating. One of the most sensational and iconic sports cars ever produced. 
Estimated value: Good examples fetch no less than $1 million (R13 million) on auction, but sometimes double that.

2. Benz Ideal, 1901

Following Karl Benz's three-wheeled Patent Motorwagen, the four-wheeled Velocipede (Velo) is generally thought of as the first mass-produced internal combustion engine motor vehicle. With a one-cylinder, one-and-a-half-horsepower engine, it was the best-selling car of the day (1 200 units) – in fact, the <ital>only<end> car of the day. The vehicle evolved over time, adding the top of the range "Comfortable", and the "Ideal" version. This particular example is under the curatorship of the Crankhandle Club, and as Mercedes-Benz SA's Motorwagen is in fact a replica, this is the oldest functioning Mercedes-Benz in the country.
Estimated value: One example has sold on auction for $500 000 (R6.5 million).

3. Benz 8/20 PS, 1913  

This pre-war Mercedes with its wooden artillery wheels and tasteful patina on the brass radiator hub has a chequered history. In 1908 Germany introduced a tax levy on large displacement vehicles. Benz's reaction was to outfit this jaunty roadster with a downsized 2410cc four-cylinder engine (followed by an even smaller 1570cc). This economical car immediately proved popular as a taxi. This model, owned by SA Mercedes-Benz Club president Waldo Scribante, is worth a whole lot more than your average cabbie today.     
Estimated value: Clean examples have been auctioned off for as much as $200 000 (R2.65 million).

4. Mercedes-Benz 250 & 280 SL, 1965

The '60s convertible that replaced the near-priceless SL Roadster has a timeless elegance, teamed with enduring build quality. Unlike many classics from the time, it was swift (later-model 2.8-litre straight-sixes topped out at 205km/h) and comfortable to drive courtesy of power steering and an automatic gearbox.
Estimated value: Clean examples regularly fetch upwards of $100 000 (R1.3 million).

5. Mercedes-Benz 220 S Cabriolet, 1958 

The last big Mercedes-Benz convertible until the S-Class Cabriolet <maybe add link?> relaunched in 2016, the W111/W112 series of drop-head models is super rare. While production ran until 1971, only a few thousand were ever produced. Owing to the fact that each one was hand finished, they were very expensive. The 2.2-litre straight six was a smooth and flexible engine, paired with an automatic gearbox, and to this day the long, graceful lines look well balanced. This example features a unique two-tone paint job.  
Estimated value: Owing to their rarity, prices remain strong for well-restored models – in the region of $85 000 (R1.1 million).

6. Mercedes-Benz 130H, 1935 

Conceived in 1934 by Mercedes chief engineer Hans Nibel, 130 stood for 1.3-litre engine, and H for "heck" (rear in German). And for very good reason – because this Mercedes had its engine positioned behind the rear axle, almost 30 years before Porsche thought to do it. Not only that, but the synchromesh gearbox was positioned ahead of the rear axle as a kind of primitive counterbalance – just like it is in a modern-day transaxle. This forward-thinking, highly futuristic car for the time, came as a saloon or convertible and only 4 300 units were produced before WWII, making it a true collectible.
Estimated value: Well-kept models can fetch upwards of $50 000 (R650 000) at auction.

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