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Pristine or Patina?


A few weeks ago Hemmings featured two 1956 Mercedes Gullwings that were going to be auctioned off in Scottsdale. They were both black over red, but one was completely restored and the other an original survivor. What better way to answer the question of which is better, original or restored? Well, the auctions are over and we have the verdict for you. We think you will be surprised!


Never before have we seen a better comparison to test the theory of which is better. What are the odds that two identical 300 SLs would show up at the same auction? One original and the other restored? They both looked beautiful in our eyes and we would have had a hard time deciding which one to pursue. We waited anxiously for Gooding to post the auction results so we could see which one was deemed more valuable by the bidders.


The auction house predicted that the restored car would sell for about $300k more than the barn find. Boy, were they wrong! The restored car (Lot 122) sold for $1,402,500 while the unrestored one (Lot 42) went for… $1,897,500! That is a $495,000 premium for patina! So, we think the age old question of which is better has been answered. They are only original once guys, so keep them that way if at all possible. Your bank account will thank you!


  1. shawnmcgill

    Thanks for this posting! I was wondering how this would end up.

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  2. MH in MN

    I’m a huge fan of non restored original cars and trucks. They are only original once! And if was going to restore a car it would be 100% the way it came from the factory. I guess I just love history to much to mess with it.

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  3. Peter

    I was at the auction and looked at both cars. The ‘original’ car is far beyond patina – it can’t realistically just be cleaned up and driven, it will need a complete restoration in my opinion. So the buyer paid a huge premium in order to spend a few hundred thousand extra dollars to restore it. I sure don’t get it, but with the fire-damaged ‘barn find’ Ferrari 330 GTS selling at the same auction for over $2M, seems more money that brains in the Arizona desert.

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  4. 88R107

    I like original cars as much as the next person but in this case I think I would have to go with the restored car. I guess the fact it was a Gullwing tilts things a bit but I would have never thought the original car would have brought that much.

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  5. Wayne

    I am so glad to see “survivor” cars have finally come into their own. For years I was criticized for the over spray on my valve covers and why didn’t I take care of that! My reply was “that’s how it came out of the factory and I’m not going to touch it”..glad I didn’t! 57 Dodge D-500

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  6. Don Andreina

    Patina for me. Clean up the headlining, throw an old rug over the seat and find another one in worse condition for my Uhlenhaut replica. Beeyootiful.

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  7. S.S. McDonald

    My 27 Packard Touring is a survivor. Everyone, and I mean 100% everyone, says to leave it original; don’t touch it. You ought to see the 87 year leather upholstery! It is incredibly unaffected by age.

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  8. Dolphin Member

    Original and/or completely known history at nearly any cost looks like the new goal for those with unlimited funds, and some less than perfect cars have recently sold for as much or more than a typical #1 car lately, so the result with this pair of 300SLs isn’t too surprising. Another example is the ’61 E-Type that sold recently in the UK for $360K, twice the estimate, because it was owned by the same family since ’63—-and it wasn’t even a #1, or totally original (new paint, interior, engine block).

    We seem to be way beyond the threshold for what car values need to be to make sure they get saved, at least for the rare and desirable ones, and increases in value from here on probably won’t make much difference to how many are saved vs. lost. Heck, some guys just raised the corroded hulk of a Bugatti that had been at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland for 70 years, and it sold for $360K.

    A lot of collector cars that I used to see at club meets and got rides in years ago are now so pricey and so protected in collections that they might as well be on another planet, because unless someone goes to future high end auctions to see them sold for even higher prices they’re not likely to see them again anytime soon. I guess there’s always Pebble Beach.

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  9. Jerry

    Interesting and noteworthy comparison, After attending many AZ auctions during the “frenzy” for many years and bidding at some; this makes me consider another possibility that occurs on the auction floor…that of “Who had the biggest -wallet- if you understand my meaning.

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  10. Brian

    I know I am “old school” and my logic is now out of date, but I still expect a restored (well restored) car to cost more than one needing a complete restoration! Again, old fashion, but I still expect to get the most I can for my money.

    However, if you placed a nice, garage kept, one owner car showing miniumal wear against a budget restoration or and older restoration car, I feel that “levels the paying field” and makes for a much fairer comparison! If all areas are even, or if the good and bad points of each car make them about even, I would likely chose the car based on paint color, options, etc.

    Yes, it’s only original once, but if it’s orginal condition has deteriorated beyond the point that I can live with, then the practical thing to do is invest in a well restored car that is pleasing to see and drive and enjoy it, which is really more fun than telling stories about how orginal it is!

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  11. Jim-Bob

    I think this market is a little overheated at the moment. The original, patina’d thing is just the fad of the moment for those with more money than brains and so prices have gone up beyond all hope of reality. These cars are now treated like rare paintings by renaissance masters and are the latest place for the super-rich to park their money while the stock, bond and commodity markets have lost all sense of normalcy and are bound for a sharp correction in the short term. Most of these people have been the beneficiaries of the Fed’s ZIRP and QE programs and are looking to preserve new found wealth (or flaunt it) outside of the conventional markets that they know could fall at a moment’s notice (money printing by central banks always has the effect of concentrating wealth in the hands of the wealthy and stripping it from the middle and lower classes since the wealthy can front-run the inflation and those of normal means usually can’t or are not educated enough to understand how). Once they do, and the free money train finally stops chugging, expect prices to fall back to more realistic levels.

    Tirade over! As to which one I would want, give me the restored one. It’s more likely to be a real, usable car and I like cars I can drive more than ones I can just look at. The one with all of that interior patina will likely fall apart with actual use and so is best just for display.

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    • Dolphin Member

      I think the Gov’t printing money for QE has helped raise collector car valuations because there is more money around now than there ever was in the past. But it’s not just in the US. It’s in Europe, the Middle East, Russia, and even China is predicted to participate in the CC market soon. Some of the biggest-buck cars are being sold at auctions held overseas, or being shipped overseas after No American auctions to—who knows where? The auction houses mostly aren’t telling.

      The collector car market pulled WAY back in the early 1990s, and then again a bit in 2008-09, altho not as much as you might have expected from how hard the meltdown hit so many people. That makes me wonder if there will be a big pullback like there was in the early 1990s, or a briefer, lesser pullback when the next financial bear market comes. If financial markets see only a sharp correction like you suggest, I think the collector car market might also correct a bit at the low end, but I will be surprised if there is much correction at the high end. Anyone who can pay many millions for a special collector car just because they want it probably doesn’t need to put the car on the market quickly at fire sale prices even if there is a correction.

      I sure hope you are right about prices falling back to more realistic prices, but there is so much more money around now in so many places around the globe that I will be surprised if collector car valuations get hurt like they did in the early 1990s, especially for the rarer cars. My guess is that US cars will pull back the most, which I guess the stock guys would call ‘a buying opportunity’.

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      • Jim-Bob

        It depends though. If the US Fed goes ahead with the “taper”, and allows the long bond to rise, then the party will be over and things will correct back to somewhat normal. However, it is important to note that the Fed’s taper is based upon BLS unemployment numbers dropping below a certain metric (7% if memory serves). This number is irrelevant though as it is heavily manipulated to make politicians look better by removing people from statistical calculations when they have been unemployed for too long. The number to look at is the “labor participation rate”, the real measure of unemployment in the US. It hasn’t budged much and is as bad today as it was under the depths of the Carter recession. It’s also scary to note that an increase in rate of 1% in the 30 year bond means that US government debt service costs increase by $100 billion a year, which will also stifle economic growth.

        So the question is, will the Fed ever be able to taper or are we in an economic death spiral that will unwind into total chaos? My bet is that the sharp correction will not be short term with an improvement at the end but rather the disintegration of the entire Western world’s economic system. ALL major economies have engaged in QE (none more than Japan) and so when the music stops, there will be nowhere to go. However, physical possessions will carry people’s wealth through the change and that is why the wealthy are putting assets into them. As art is rare and in strong hands, cars are easier to acquire and that is driving the prices up. As the most desirable ones end up in strong hands it forces people to buy down market and drives up their prices. The coming economic upheval may destroy paper assets, but it likely won’t destroy land, art, cars or the means of production. Then again, this is all just my opinion and I don’t work in this field. I’m just a pizza delivery driver.

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      • Brian

        Good point! However, if I am expected to pay crazy money for antique cars or anything else for that matter, the govs gonna havta starts sending alot more of that printed money my way, ’cause credit don’t cut it!!

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      • Dolphin Member

        Well, the Fed has already started to taper the bond buying, which caused no more than a blip in markets. But what I hear you saying is that hard assets like land, art, and collector cars (but not paper assets) will retain their value even in an economic upheaval.

        Like I said before, I also think high-end collector cars will retain their value, especially if it’s just a correction like you mentioned, and not a major financial meltdown. What we may not agree on is disintegration of the entire Western world’s economic system. I think that is very unlikely. The US learned a lot from 1929, which was a terribly difficult event for everyone, and the bad effects lasted for over 10 years. The meltdown in the Fall of 2008 was also very difficult, and the US learned from that again. Many people think that printing money to buy bonds was a receipe for disaster, but so far no disaster has happened. And if people are worrying about anything, it’s deflation, not inflation. Instead, the money has restored liquidity, which dried up when Lehmann Bros went under, and the economy hasn’t collapsed. GM and Chrysler survived and have been paying back their debt really well. Of course there might be another financial meltdown in the future, but I don’t think it will come anytime soon. If that’s correct then high end collector cars will still have high valuations….which is what we agree on.

        But I still think that in a sharp correction, not everyone will be able to ride that out without financial distress, and the people most likely to feel financial distress will be people who bought $50K to maybe $250K cars—the (relatively) low end of the CC market. And some of them might be forced to sell, unfortunately, which will make the low end of the CC market pull back, but not collapse.

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      • Jim-Bob

        The problem is, you don’t really know what is going to happen. I personally think the math points to an eventual serious upheaval, but I could be wrong. In the short term I think the current market manipulation (more or less) will be able to keep it under control. It’s the long term I am concerned about. I am just trying to put all the pieces together to try and see what the future holds, but so far all I have is lots of data and a few theories that don’t exactly mesh together. Then again, that’s what it’s like dealing with other humans. In any case, I’ll stop this subject now as I tend to get too far off topic and there simply isn’t space enough here to discuss all the possible permutations that could come to pass.

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      • Don Andreina

        I think the US (and Australia) are experiencing a structural downturn and treating it as cyclical. Massive, massive growth in massive, massive emerging economies will suck all the goodies out of the west like an irresistible rip tide. Tastes over there will mature, and classic cars will be one of the most expensive ways to differentiate one’s self from those nouveau types who only want the new shiny stuff. I give it ten years.

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  12. Horse Radish

    I may be wrong on this one, but…
    In some really strange circles they would pay a premium for an original unmolested car to have a better base for a 100 point restoration.
    Who in his right mind would restore a 30k mile original car anyway ? (300SL owners).
    I think these people might as well be aliens, because I cannot relate to that…

    My vote: UNMOLESTED original, any day of the week.

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  13. Dave at OldSchool

    first question…which car sold first ??

    Regardless.. the unrestored car is NOT a ” survivor” …it is a car in need of restoration, not TLC. I see ads for ‘survivors’ all the time, and the cars are poor or junk.
    “Survivor” does not mean it hasn’t been means the car presents ( or can easily present) itself as an original that has been maintained in respectable condition….
    The fact that people pay crazy prices for a particular car at an auction, does not necessarily reflect the value of that car OR a similar car…, nor does it reflect good common sense …. If you have been a commercial buyer at auctions over the years, you will know what I say is true.

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  14. Doug M Member

    I think Jim-Bob has explained very accurately what’s going on in the big-dollar classic car market! Classic cars are a better place to park money here for a whole.

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    • Brian

      I must disagree, any time your “investing” your money in “toys”, your taking an incredible risk! I just don’t see how there is going to be any margin of profit especially on an unrestored car like this was bought at a high profile auction! Unless you are so wealthy that you can thow away millions (which clearly these people can) that lossing a few hundred thousand just isn’t a big deal to them. If so, then so be it, but speaking strickly as an investment, you be better off to put your money in a savings acount and draw one percent interest. This is either a bubble or just a bunch of millionaires that want to be on TV and it print for having set records for overpaying for a used car.

      As entertaining as collector car televisions is to watch, I’m afraid that it is working on people much like reality TV, it might be the reality of a few very wealth individuals (that, evidently, did not get enough attention from their parents as children), but it won’t work for the lives of the rest of us! If I must vastly overpay for an old car to be part of the hobby, stamp collecting her I come.

      Like many of us, I only buy the cars I really want, and hold onto them for decades. When I do have a car that I no longer want or just can’t restore, I typically sell it at as a loss to someone I feel really loves it and will give it a good home because, to me, it a hobby, not an investment or a business!

      Now if said millionaire really wanted this car and plans to keep this car in his collection permenantly, then good for him. The fact that he is willing to pay seemingly any amount to own it is a different discussion for another time!

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  15. 88R107

    Wonder who will have the last laugh when the bubble bursts on all these crazy prices.
    Personally I would want to be sitting on the restored car when that day comes.

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  16. Richard Truman

    I like restored .I don’t like unrestored all my life since I can remember making thinks better .
    I am a Finnish man if you have the time and I mean time to let smoothing sit like old coins
    they will out live you and win.
    I drive all my cars even concourse examples like 63 split windows 39 Chevy’s
    They drive better restored Run hard and handle better fixed.
    Enjoy them ,trade them ,drive them make new memories with them .
    Or let them sit and watch them because someone else had the pleasure to enjoy.

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  17. fred

    I like restored or unrestored in great condition. Unrestored with “rats nest” seats and worn paint doesn’t thrill me and doesn’t seem like a good investment, once cooler heads prevail. I agree that there is a “bubble” in this market that will eventually pop, just like in real estate and stocks. When it does, I’ll be buying old cars again!

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  18. Kman

    “Unmolested”? “Original”? “Factory survivor”? Sorry, These babies haven’t survived very well. Are torn seats unmolested? Worn out parts? Damaged paint or rust? Uh uh. I knew a fellow had a ’66 Vette with about 30k on it and it really did look like it came from the factory. Not only that, everything on it down to the tires, headliner, you name it was from the factory and never changed. This car could be put on a showroom floor. So the unrestored SL is what? A candidate for a VERY expensive restoration to make it like the one that sold for less. To quote General McAuliffe at Bastogne, “Nuts!”

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    • Horse Radish

      maybe the unrestored example was an undisclosed (one of 5) Aluminum bodied cars.
      In that case he’ll be ahead of the game…

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  19. Trickie Dickie Member

    I am a certified concours judge. A few years back I was judging in the American Classics class. In there was a 1931Cadillac V-16, Fleetwood body and a gem….except…..It was painted in dark and light tones of metallic maroon, actually not bad looking. But the interior was done in maroon crushed velvet, black leather in front, sand blasted floral designs bordering the side windows and gaudy floral vases on the pillars, and gold plated hardware in the passenger area. It didn’t place and the owner was upset, as he had spent SO much on the restoration. He asked me later why he didn’t win. Judges have to be extremely tactful with owners. I tired to explain we judge a lot on originality, and many things on his car had not been available from the factory. What I wanted to say was that his car looked like a rolling brothel.

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  20. Mark E

    One thing that may be a factor is that the restored car was not originally black/red. Kind of surprising that someone would dump that much in a restoration and not go original, even though the original colors were, er….unusual (gulp)!

    My view is that these cars are nearly equal: you wouldn’t want to drive a car that had been restored to concours levels but then again you could not fix up or drive the unrestored one lest you disturb the almighty patina…good grief!!

    My ideal car, regardless of make or type is one in original, good condition. It should not be cosmetically perfect but I do not want to worry about driving it on a long trip.

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    • z1rider

      Mark……..What were the original colors? I don’t see that information in the listing.

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      • Andrew

        It was red with a green cloth interior. It is in the Hemmings link.

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  21. John G

    I had the opportunity to ride in one of these once in the mid 80s. A friend’s girlfriend’s father had just purchased it (about $300K at the time) and let us take it to the gas station to fill it up. We were instantly surrounded by the curious people asking questions; namely “Is that real?!”. Fun times.

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  22. Gearheadengineer

    Strictly theoretical of course, because I will never have anywhere near that kind of coin. But…

    I’d buy the less expensive restored car, drive the hell out of it for a bunch of years, then sell it with “patina” after it’s a bit worn. And make a few hundred $k on the deal.

    Well, it’s an idea…

    – John

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  23. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’ll admit that I thought they would be a lot closer but sometimes it has a lot to do with what order in the sale the cars come in. If the lot numbers actually sold in order (I’ve been to some sales where everything was haphazard) oftentimes the buyers have thinned out considerably toward the end of the sale. For a more accurate comparison they should’ve gone through the ring, one right after the other.

    As far as my personal preference goes, I tend to go for the unrestored version, because I KNOW what it needs. A ‘restored’ vehicle can often be no more than a flip job. So many times I’ve seen people buy a restored vehicle only to have to go through it again because so many things were missed during the resto process. I recently got an E-mail showing a pickup that a guy bought thinking that it was a body-off restoration. By the time the new owner was finished with it, he had all but gone through the truck again.

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  24. Charles

    Everyone’s idea of patina is different… To me an original car with patina is a car that will rate a #2 condition, or a strong #3. The car is complete and functioning. It does not look new, but does not scream rode hard and put up wet.

    That original Gull Wing looks pretty rough. I am sure that I will never be able to afford a Gull Wing, but if I could afford one and wanted to own one I would not pay a higher price for a worn out example compared to a pristine fresh restoration.

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  25. ConservativesDefeated

    Stupid money. Absolutely stupid money. I for one will stick to my decades long strategy………buy “original” as possible cars, don’t overpay and dont pay stupid money.

    When I think of the prices paid at B-J or any of the marque auctions……I just laugh. A fool and his money are soon parted. Way back in the mid eighties at an early aucton in Scottsdale,whch I actually went to because I was in the area,a ’57 maybe BMW 507 sold for $50,000.00. I was amazed. Shows you what I knew!

    As for the chicken lttle theory of economics prevalent in the far reaches of the political spectrum, I’m with Dolphin. I expect economic dislocaton to contnue because of a lack of government regulation of the markets.and the fact that Capitalsm breeds these sorts of catastrophes.

    Maybe we should blame Nixon, he took us off the gold standard!

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  26. JR

    It’s unfortunate that an “original, unrestored” car isn’t what it appears to be on the surface. The majority of the interior in that car was sourced from elsewhere and bolted in…

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Please elaborate JR…

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      • JR

        I’m not at liberty to divulge sources but I heard from 2 different reliable sources that some of the interior from this car was missing. Seats and other bits were sourced from one of the best known Gullwing restorers around and bolted in. While it’s all genuine Mercedes stuff, it’s not original to the car, which was supposed to be the selling point of this car, wasn’t it?

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  27. Mads Henriksen

    Obvious choise would be original. Who restored the restored one? Was it done properly? Does it even HANDLE still or did idiots ruin that? Are the details correct, or have that been ruined as well? I can understand people who better things like cooling, wiring and breaks – hell, I even do that myself – but there are matters best left to people who really REALLY know their way around the cars they set out to (re-)build.

    I guess, by gullwings, they are always left in the care of competent people when someone wants one restored for show or (hopefully, since I find trailer queens a horrible abomination) go. I’ve had the honour of a go in a Gullwing and i must admit, for all the cars beauty, i haven’t god a clue as to why they can bring such money. Yees, apart from the W100 600 they are THE classic Benz – but they have rough and rather uncultivated engines, although they sound fantastic, the gearchange is not that awesome, the tires are too skinny for spirited cornering, they are impossible to get in and out of, the breaks are shit (really, they are!) and the ergonomics? They tire you out very very quick, so for a long-distance GT they are really not very good cars. They do look amazing, however.

    Anyways, I’d prefer the patinated one since it is to reckognize, that it will be an ORIGINAL and unspoiled automobile where you yourself can decide upon what to make and what to leave the car to proudly present unto humans, showing a lived life.

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  28. Caseyd

    This is always an interesting conversation. There are so many factors that can come into play.
    There are only so many actual buyers out there for a 300SL GW. They are not everyday driver cars no matter what the condition, too hard to get in and out of. I think Mark has a point if the restored car had a color change. I think many times it can depend on the type of car itself.
    As mentioned above a mid 60’s Corvette is a much more desirable car original than restored just because of the driveability factor. Of course most people who collect cars still have there favorite drivers that they don’t mind getting dirty. I have know people to purposely search for an unrestored car because they wanted to drive it.

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  29. mikeH

    I love antiques and history more than 98% of the population–I live in a hundred year old house and have never bought a piece of new furniture in my life. BUT–my house is in perfect shape as is the furniture, as are my autos. I have an ’84 Peugeot whose interiors have become ratty. I’m having them redone because I don’t drive ratty cars. I will probably spend more on the interiors than the car is worth, but I don’t drive ratty cars. The “patina” 300 is a ratty car, no matter how valuable it is.

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  30. Chip Lamb

    Nobody has picked up on the real reason here.

    Two Gullwings with matching numbers sold last weekend – the survivor car and the $2m car at Barrett.

    The rest were non-numbers-matching.

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      Good point Chip. I’m surprised no one mentioned that fact until now.

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      • Horse Radish

        that is my point exactly about that 300SL crowd.
        I would take that ‘non-matching-numbers’ SL for a 50% or whatever markdown, just because I would like it for the car, not expensive details and ludicrous fetishes.
        Maybe that original or restored argument would have been better made on any other car.

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  31. Sid Member

    My friends and family thought I seriously over paid for the 1959 Corvette barn find I bought several years ago. When I sold it on EBay for a tidy profit many thought the buyer was also crazy. Your Mercedes Gull Wing story is a great comparison that shows the real market value of original cars vs restored. Thanks for posting my story.

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  32. Rees

    I have a 1967 Volkswagen Beetle that is a survivor car. It has had a sound system added, there is a tear in the back seat, and the paint is FAR from perfect, but it is a perfect driving, low mileage car. In my opinion, that is what makes an original or survivor car feasible. I am able to easily use my Bug as a daily driver without fear of performance or any unnecessary uncomfortableness. I don’t want to change anything about it’s condition unless I absolutely have to

    If you have verified that it works well and is completely useable for its intended purpose as an automobile, then it really comes down to personal preference. I am a huge fan of leaving things original when it is possible, but I also understand that some people prefer to drive cars in perfect condition.

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  33. 88R107

    The local M-B dealer owned a silver/red Gullwing and had it on his showroom floor. Original owner was Clark Gable. The car seemed to be original with some freshening up done over the years.
    It sold last year at B-J for a huge sum of money.
    Seeing that car on that showroom floor and it that condition made me realize how beautiful a Gullwing is.
    Something as rare and beautiful as a Gullwing deserves to be in perfect condition.

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  34. junkman Member

    So maybe the debate is not settled. In 30 years most of the mediocre cars will be forgotten or left to rot, the good ones will be in museums or private collections.98% of todays youth doesn’t care about anything old , including us. That’s my .02 cents. which isn’t even worth that!

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  35. Sim

    Ya, well how come every time I buy an unrestored car the first thing people say when they walk up to my “unmolested” beauty is “awww, is that a rip in the seat?”.

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    • Brian

      Unfortunately, there are simply people that love to make rude comments like that. I have a ’63 Studebaker that I bought in college (20 years ago). I slapped a cheap paint job on it, got it running, redid the seats, carpet, and headliner – and have used it spareling for years, of course, now it needs alot of work, but since it runs well, I made the decision years ago that I would collect ALL the pieces and parts before tearing it down for restoration and before taking it apart so I could continue to regularly use and enjoy it rather than have a garage full of pieces waiting for me to get the parts and money to finish the resto. I occasional get comments from people like “looks like you really let it go!” Especially from people who obviously know nothing about cars (or manners) and typically drive a car that looks like it hasn’t seen a car wash since it left the dealership! Every car will deteriorate to some degree despite your best efforts, depending on the climate, storage condition, and the car’s overall health. I just chalk these comments up to jealously or just ignorance; forget them and enjoy your car!

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  36. paul

    The problem the way I see it, is a restored car can hide many things so if I was buying one I would expect a full photo album of the step by step process as for an original but needs as much attention as this I would expect to pay less then a A grade show car if this restored car was an A grade, we don’t really know this by pictures.

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    • Brian

      I think the price I would be willing to pay would have a great deal of bearing on the issues you mentioned. If there were to many red flags or question marks regarding the quality of the product, I’d keep looking for another car or offer less for this one; allowing myself free capital to make improvement on the weaker areas of the car. The question might be is how much do the people paying this kind of money really know about the product or even the process of restoration in general. Do they know what to look for: weaknesses in the car or the restoration? Probably more than a few just buy because it’s pretty or the wife likes it! And if its so pretty, it must have been restored correctly!?!?!

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  37. Rex Kahrs Richard Member

    Geez take that economics talk to some other website where it belongs! Just sayin’…..AND….I bet even Leno or Seinfeld couldn’t pop for cars this expensive, so why are working stiffs like us commenting on these cars?

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    • Brian

      Umm…this would be the website where this discussion belongs lol

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  38. Chris A.

    Well, Leno did pop for a 300SL GW that was in terrible shape. See Leno’s Garage for the story. He said it was pretty much a lump until you really got it moving, then it was fun to drive. Truly a race car that has tamed for the road. But he brought it back to driver condition, not show as he does drive it. But the GW falls into a rare niche. It has a glittering competition history from a famous factory, brutal good lools and the GW doors made the car unique. But they really weren’t all that rare over here. Sure, you didn’t see one every day, but rich enthsiasts actually drove them on the road. Rumor has it that a plumbing contractor in Rochester NY liked his so much that when MB announced they would stop making them, he bought a second and stored it in his garage for when he wore out the first one. The GW may be the only car that up until recently, no one ever lost money owning one and selling it in the same condition. They wee pretty much money in the bank from day one. Yet at least one was modified and became more valuable. Photographer and auto writer Jesse Alexander had his GW modified by MB when they swapped out the original swing axle and put in the low pivot swing axle along with disc brakes and the sport cam. The also built a booster seat for their kid. And JE drove it a long time. Maybe the brits have the right idea, restore and drive them, even if it is only from London to Brighton. Pizza man Jim-Bob nailed it though.

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