A 21-year-old car’s value may have increased by $85,000 simply because the owner lost the keys.
The catch is that the 1996 Mercedes-Benz SL500 has only travelled 128 kilometres because when the owner misplaced the keys she never used the car again.
The car then remained in storage for the next 20 years in a garage in Knightsbridge, London, Now the car is headed to auction on Thursday in London where it is expected to fetch around NZ$80,000-NZ$98,000.
Had the owner not lost the keys and used it regularly, then auctioneers, Coys, estimate it would have been worth about NZ$9000-NZ$12,500.
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Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said the car was sold new by Normand of Mayfair.
“Purchased as a birthday present it was driven only 80 miles (128km) before the owner lost the keys and never drove it again. It even comes with a letter written by the owner’s butler verifying its mileage and its provenance.
“Had she not lost the keys and used it regularly, we estimate it would now be worth between £5000 and £7000 (NZ$9000 to NZ$12,500), but the fact that it has kept such a low mileage and has not been driven in more than 20 years makes it worth between £45,000 and £55,000 (NZ$80,000-$98,000).
“What happened with the keys remains a mystery but the car comes with new keys for the new owner. Perhaps you shouldn’t panic the next time you misplace your car keys.”
The Mercedes-Benz SL500 R129 roadsters were produced from 1989 through 2002, featuring many innovative details for the time, such as electronically controlled damping and a hidden, automatically extending roll-over bar, electric windows and mirrors.
This is one of the more powerful and sought after M119 engined cars and also boasts a number of optional factory extras, including heated front seats, 6 CD multi-changer, upgraded radio and wood-leather steering wheel. The car has just recently been subject of a light re-commission and is supplied with books, manuals and an MOT certificate until March 2018.
The auction also features a 1967 Aston Martin DB6 delivered new to the Director of the “Doctor” film Series Ralph Thomas (£160,000-£200,000), a 1973 Aston Martin V8 with 66,000 miles from new (£75,000-£90,000), a 1972 Aston Martin DBS (£90,000-£110,000), a 1961 Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8 Flat Floor Roadster subject of a 2600 hours restoration (£190,000 – £225,000), an original right hand drive 1973 Jaguar E-type V12 Roadster with only 2,500 miles from new (£170,000-£225,000) and a matching numbers 1954 Jaguar XK120 Drophead Coupe SE (£90,000-£110,000).
Other cars on offer include a 1923 Rolls-Royce 20HP by Smith & Waddington (£45,000-£55,000), one of only 241 produced 1991 Lamborghini LM02 (£140,000-£180,000), a 1989 AC Cobra MK IV with only 7500 miles from new (£120,000-£150,000), 1993 Porsche 964 Turbo 3.6 (£130,000-£160,000) and a 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi with coachwork by Scaglietti, design by Pininfarina and complete Ferrari service history (£60,000-£70,000).