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Mercedes SLR McLaren Insider’s Take: Adolfo Massari of LBI Limited Weighs in on the Market

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Mercedes SLR McLaren LBI Limited SL Market Letter

The LBI Ltd. Mercedes SLR McLaren sold for $302,500 at Auctions America’s Ft. Lauderdale sale in April 2016 (Photo courtesy LBI Limited – Philadelphia, PA).


We asked Adolfo Massari from LBI Limited in Philadelphia to comment on the Mercedes SLR McLaren and its current place in the collectible Mercedes-Benz market because of his recent experience with an example in the LBI inventory. This piece starts with Adolfo’s assessment and carries on with a ‘5 Year Market Sampling’ of the SLR at various collector car auctions compiled by the SL Market Letter

This article originally appeared in the print version of the SL Market Letter (March / April 2016, Vol. 29, No. 8). Founded in 1982, the SL Market Letter is THE resource for collectible Mercedes of all kinds, NOT just SLs. Printed and mailed to subscribers 6 times a year. Click HERE for subscription information.

Adolfo Massari LBI Limited Philadelphia

Adolfo Massari

The Mercedes SLR McLaren was an interesting car in that it was produced as a joint venture between F1’s great, McLaren, AMG and Mercedes. The last time Mercedes partnered with McLaren to produce a road car it spawned the McLaren F1 and we all know how much those cars have gone up in value. The SLR however, was a bit of a blunder with its gearbox, styling and price tag being major complaints when introduced.

It was only offered with a 5 speed automatic transmission, it sort of looks like a stretched SLK and it cost over $450,000 when new. I think it was also a product of bad timing. The SLR came out in the same period as Porsche’s Carrera GT and the Ferrari Enzo, so it had some heavy competition. While not rare in the strictest collector car sense, (estimates vary between 1,150 and 3,500 units produced, depending on the source) it is a beast of a car with 617hp, a carbon fiber body, and a 0-60 time of just 3.5 seconds. It has all the makings of a collector car with appreciation potential.

Mercedes SLR McLaren LBI Limited SL Market Letter

Massari pilots the LBI SLR during a photo shoot for the auction catalog.


At its low value point, you could find an SLR on eBay for about $120,000 with fairly low miles, that’s a $450,000 McLaren supercar for a fraction of the original MSRP! It didn’t make sense. In the market boom over the past few years Carrera GT’s began fetching $1M and the Ferrari Enzo climbed over $2M. Why should this McLaren supercar be so comparatively cheap? Collectors, dealers, and auctions companies began recognizing this trend which led to a few sales within this past year to 18 months.

Starting at $200,000 then $250,000, and culminating in a virtually brand new 2006 SLR Coupe with 134 miles selling for an impressive $495,000 during the Monterey Auctions of 2015. After that, there was no SLR available under $200,000 and rightfully so. We sold our 2006 SLR Coupe with 5,500 miles recently at Auctions America in Ft. Lauderdale for slightly over $300,000; a car that just a year ago would have been $190,000. I cannot help but think that we still left $100,000 of future investment potential on the table. Our suggestion? Buy one now while they still represent a tremendous value.

Adolfo Massari is co-owner of LBI Limited with his business partner Andrew Mastin. They specialize in sales, brokerage, and collection management of investment quality collector cars. LBI was established in 2009 when Andrew and Adolfo were just 19 years old. Visit: www.lbilimited.com

5 Year Mercedes SLR McLaren Market Sampling

RM Auctions – Amelia Island, FL
2006 Coupe – Lot 140: 5,700 miles, 2007 NY Auto Show, show car
Sold for $220,000

Barrett-Jackson – Las Vegas, NV
2006 Coupe – Lot 745: 252 miles
Sold for $258,500

RM Auctions – Amelia Island, FL
2008 Roadster – Lot 146: 11,500 miles
Sold for $275,000

RM Sotheby’s – Scottsdale, AZ
2009 722S Roadster ‘McLaren Ed.’ – Lot 141
One of 6 produced (not a perfect comp)
Sold for $550,000

Barrett-Jackson – Scottsdale, AZ
2005 Coupe – Lot 1281: 4,121 miles
Sold for $238,700 (accident on Carfax!)

RM Sotheby’s – Monterey, CA
2005 Coupe – Lot 114: 134 miles
Sold for $495,000

Gooding & Co. – Scottsdale, AZ
2008 Roadster – Lot 23: 2,000 miles
Sold for $396,000

Barrett Jackson – Scottsdale, AZ
2008 Roadster – Lot 1394: 6,957 miles
Sold for $401,500

Gooding & Co. – Amelia Island, FL
2008 Roadster – Lot 007: ~2000 miles
Sold for $396,000

Auctions America – Ft. Lauderdale, FL
2006 Coupe – Lot 522: 5,500 miles
Sold for $302,500 (LBI Ltd. consignment mentioned above)

Barrett-Jackson – Palm Beach, FL
2006 Coupe – Lot 406: ~7,200 miles
No Sale at high bid of $245,000

Market Observation: Notice how the market shifted from general ambivalence toward the SLR with few cars offered at the big name collector car auctions  between 2012 and 2014. 2015 saw as many cars as the past 3 years combined. 2016 has seen more than 2015 and the year isn’t half over! Who is creating the market and the perceived demand? Is it the glitzy auction marketing machines telling collectors what they should buy or the collectors seeking out cars they truly love? Either way, the cars are selling – Ed.

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