£445,000 is a substantial sum of money. It will buy you a lovely 4 bedroom detached house in Gloucestershire, or if you’re a bit mad 7 new S Class Mercedes-Benz 350 BluTEC’s. Both are fine choices, but have you considered a third, more ludicrous option? How about buying just one, old, slightly crusty Mercedes instead?
600 Grosser Landaulet
Well it has been revealed that that’s exactly what one buyer did at the prestigious RM car auctions in Paris. Said buyer paid that amount for a 43 year old 600 Grosser Landaulet that’s been sat in a garage for 30 of those years. Ah but Grosser’s were owned by some of the world’s most notable murderous dictators, so that must be why this car cost so much, right? Well sort of, the car is reported to have belonged to the Congolese head of state. However given how long in languished in a garage he obviously didn’t spend too much time riding in it. The cars original estimate was only £60 to £100 thousand pounds, still a lot for a “barn find” but nowhere near what it actually reached.
So what has the buyer got themselves? I feel a quick comparison is required. If they had opted for the 7 shiny new S Class’s they would have bagged class leading luxury, supreme comfort and efficiency with more technology stuffed into them than a NASA space programme. Compare this to the 600 and things are little more, well, 70’s. You got some armrests, some curtains, comfy albeit fixed position seats with seats belts and if you were properly minted a 9 inch Sony TV and an 8 speaker radio. Unfortunately this car over time has shed a number of those features, with the interior looking like it’s been home to a particularly destructive set of urban foxes.
It’s seen better days
The 6.3 litre V8 doesn’t appear to be in much better shape and don’t think this engine is akin to today’s 630bhp S65 AMG V8. The Grosser at one time made do with a healthy but not mind blowing 245bhp and was capable of 125mph. If you don’t believe me check out this classic Top Gear clip, Clarkson owns a Grosser and attempted to hit that top speed. However the fact remains this car will not be doing those speeds for quite some time.
One of only 26 made
There is one aspect of the car though that might slightly justify its cost. It is a sought after ‘Landaulet’ edition, one of only 26 made. What this means is it has a convertible rear section of the roof, not great for bullet proof’ness but you can stand up and wave at your subjects from the back seat.
Car auctions we tend to think are places to find yourself a bargain but not this time and to be fair not at an RM auction. Their total sales from 2014’s first auction, which this car was a part of, equated to a frankly silly €17,701,680! They have sold some of the world’s rarest, most beautiful and iconic cars over the years. Everything from one off prototypes to Le Mans winning race cars have passed under the gavel.
If ever you should attend a sale please don’t get caught up in the hype, you might buy yourself the equivalent of a 4 bedroom house. And that’s before you take into account how much it will cost to breathe life back into your barn find. Have you considered that maybe a nice 190E will satisfy your itch for a classic Mercedes instead?