Read it and weep… or not! It depends on when one of these 1989-2002 SLs was (or is) purchased. No surprises… newer cars depreciate for a couple decades, then hit a price “plateau” for another decade. Depreciation is what it costs to enjoy today’s engineering and technology today. Worldwide, 50 million people chose it. Annually.
PLAN B: 1-15 year old “pre-owned” cars, debugged compliments of the 1st and 2nd owners. The average new car depreciates 55% within five years; a generous incentive to let someone else experience that new car aroma. MB’s Certified Pre-Owned Warrantee program further cushions any premature repairs. Worldwide another 50 million people (all brands) think this is best.
PLAN C: Roughly 10% of the newer cars on the road live a charmed life, especially Mercedes-Benz. Low annual use. Seldom parked outdoors. Scheduled service. These are cars dealership managers nabbed up for their families; seldom reaching used car lots. They’re exceptions to the convention that all cars wear out as fast as their resale value falls. Plan C is rescuing these remarkable “survivors” to preserve their fate as permanent, appreciating assets.
Since SL Market Letter’s early days a rule of- thumb has been that Condition 1 cars “deserve” double the price of Condition 3 examples of the same model, knowing the cost of turning any car into a Condition 1 quickly exceeds the price difference.
While the 1990s is early in the R129 SLs “price plateau” years the benefit is they’re young enough that it is still possible to find genuine preservation class cars among them. One in four still has original interior and paint, known ownership, verifiable mileage and service history. Ten years hence only one in eight or ten will have those credentials.
Definition of Condition 1: Most Concours d’Elegance have now added preservation class awards for “dual ladders” of recognition for restored cars and those never needing restoration. This month the SL Market Letter has adding the words ‘preserved original’ to Condition 1. Do you think a separate Preservation Class definition is needed?
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