SL Market Letter subscriber Randy F. of Alva, Wyoming contacted us recently and spun an entertaining yarn about seeing an ad for 5 Mercedes Benz 300SEL 6.3 sedans on Craigslist in Colorado and the acquisition of all five of them with his brother in law. We thought our readers would be interested in his story so we asked him to write it down and send it to us with some photos. What’ below was published in the January / February 2015 issue of the printed SL Market Letter. If you’re not already a subscriber, visit our subscription page to see a couple of sample issues in pdf format and subscribe. Subscribers receive a new issue mailed six times a year. Each issue is packed full of interesting features, specific model price trend charts and hundreds of cars for sale. Lots of photos of the whole group at the bottom of the article!
Every car nut dreams of the day they come across a long neglected vintage automobile stuck in a barn, layered with years of gray-brown dust, tires flat, the project that was never completed. This is one of those finds — times five.
When my brother-in-law, Scott, saw a local Craigslist ad for five 300SEL 6.3s he called right away. The grandson who was handling the estate sale was too busy to show them that day, but Scott learned he’d already received several calls so engaged in some serious begging until he agreed to give him 20 minutes. “If you want to drive all the way out here for a 20 minute look”, said the grandson, “go ahead.”
Twenty minutes isn’t much time to look at one, let alone five cars, but Scott quickly surveyed them and could tell these were not rusty heaps. Two started right up. The other three were filthy on the outside, but looked good on the inside.
He made the deal right then, but they wouldn’t accept a deposit or put anything in writing. A handshake was all they had time for. In the end, they kept their word and sold us the cars. The widow would only accept cash, specifically, $100 bills. Eyebrows raise when you ask our little bank for that much cold, hard cash. In fact, we had to delay closing by a day so the bank could get enough hundreds transferred in!
The gentleman who owned these cars was a successful cattleman. He passed away many years ago. Documents show he bought his first 6.3 brand new on 12/19/70 from Kumpf Motors in Denver. We’re told he fell so in love with the 6.3 that anytime a good example came on the market, he bought it. Documentation with the cars reveals that several were purchased and driven just a few hundred miles before being parked.
The family was full of stories about each car, where they picked them up and the cross country trips to get them back home. It was nice getting to know the family and hearing their tales of good times.
There are bound to be surprises with such cars. As we got them home (a two day affair), there were a few surprises. First, the Black car had just 27,000 miles on the odometer with documentation to back it up. In our rush to see the cars, we didn’t think to check odometers. The interiors proved better than we’d hoped with only one driver’s seat, cloaked in a sheep skin cover, hiding cracked leather.
We looked more closely at the paint, chrome, glass and bodies. A ding in one of the fenders, a bump in a rear quarter and a few minor scratches. All original glass and just one cracked windshield. We could live with these surprises. Best of all, absolutely zero rust anywhere! With just a quick hand wash the cars shined!
They’re all different colors so we simply refer to them as the, Blue, Black, Red, Gold and Green one. We’re still sorting them out. Over two months , we’ve gotten three on the road for comprehensive mechanical shakedowns. We haven’t tried starting the Blue one yet because it was missing its fuel pump and distributor cap. The gold one is running rough, so our local M100 specialist is looking it over. The air suspension is still working perfectly on two of the cars with just slow leaks on the others.
We haven’t figured out what to do with them yet, as we’re finding ourselves in violation of the law that states, “Thou shalt not fall in love with cars you should be selling.” Our spouses are asking, “Five? Really? You need five of the same car?!?” So far, we simply mumble and retreat to the garage to caress our babies. And oh, yes, brush the snow off all the cars we kicked out of the garages so our 6.3s could weather the winter indoors. We are fortunate to have mates that will, for now at least, put up with cold leather seats in their daily drivers.