In our last market article (posted December 16th) we discussed the reasons that made 2020 a great year for classic cars despite the obvious challenges. So as we type at the beginning of a new year, what are our projections for 2021, and what does this mean for your SL? What does a classic car enthusiast have to look forward to in 2021, what are our reasons to be cheerful?
Here is our roundup of why we are excited about the coming year – and why you should be too.
SLSHOP leads the way with 50th Anniversary SL Celebrations
2021 marks 50 years since the first R107 SL arrived in showrooms, and we have a host of events planned to celebrate this special year. We are excited to get the festivities underway – whether it’s attending a show, joining us for a tour or witnessing the spectacle of 50 cars lined up outside Mercedes-Benz world, there’s plenty to build your enthusiasm this year. We’ve put together a program of events for 2021, so be sure to read our 50th Anniversary Article to find out more.
Enthusiasts can’t wait to make up for a drab 2020 classic show season.
Events will be more popular than ever
With so much disappointment around cancelled events in 2020, enthusiasts are eager to get out and drive. We’re expecting the sunny shows of 2021 to be superbly subscribed, a welcome return to form for our vibrant classic car scene. Our own 350SL will be traversing the country, your chance to see the car up close and personal as we attend as many events as possible. Certainly something to look forward to, and something to prepare your SL for. Let’s hope another great spell of weather arrives this spring!
Like Graham and his epic 10,000 mile SLC trip, we think more of you are going to plan big adventures in your SLs.
Life is short, so Get out and drive
2020 was a double edged sword for adventurers. Whilst the opportunities for international travel were limited, the year has given rise to an increase in people wanting to get out and do more with classic cars. One phrase that has been on many lips throughout 2020 is ‘life is short’, inspiration enough to encourage us all to spend time doing the things we love. After all, it’s not the years in your life that count but the life in your years. Judging by the conversations we are having with customers, the crossings to France are going to be chock full of classic cars as soon as the opportunity presents. Where will you be taking your SL?
Jamie, a first time buyer about to drive away in his very first SL.
The Rise and Rise of the First Time Buyer
Customers who have wanted to own an SL for years have been given the inspiration to take the plunge, and it gives us great pleasure to be the ‘go to’ place for enthusiasts buying their very first classic SL. In recent weeks we have introduced a number of customers to the world of classic Mercedes-Benz ownership, many of whom have been younger than what we would consider our usual customers. This represents an interesting shift in the dynamic of the Mercedes-Benz SL market, because a younger crop of buyers bring with them a different perspective on the SL, and with that comes a change in tastes…
A 1989 300SL in Blue Black Metallic with just 12,000 miles. The peak of the SL experience?
The Eternal Popularity of the Late Car
Demand for the R107 SL continues at a steady pace, with the level of phone calls and email enquires showing that there is no let up in the desire to own one of these iconic convertibles. Regular readers might think we sound like a broken record, but the fact remains that the most desirable cars are still late model, high calibre examples with sensible mileage. By sensible mileage, we are talking about the sweet spot of between 45,000 and 65,000. Not so low that it can’t be used, and not so high that usage harms the residuals.
Most buyers are looking for a car that can be used and enjoyed sparingly without too much fear of depreciation; supplied by a dealer who can provide peace of mind and confidence in the car.
Age (and the odometer reading) is but a number.
The Rise of the Drivers Car
Despite the fact we just mentioned that coveted 45,000-65,000 mileage interval; throughout 2020 we have seen a change in buyer attitudes and perceptions, driven by current events. Earlier in this article we established that the market is being impacted by a ‘life is short’ philosophy, and this is being seen in our showroom enquiries. A number of recently sold cars had odometer readings north of 100,000, sold to customers intent on adding more digits to the dials. We have seen an increase in people wanting very high quality cars for regular use, looking to SLSHOP for reassurance and peace of mind. Quality and provenance are the most important factors – if the car is in superb order, sat in the showroom of a specialist and provided with a warranty, why should the odometer number matter quite so much? Look out for more cars in this bracket coming soon.
A rare and unusual colour, an early car. Hard to find in good condition.
The Early Car and a Glacial Shift
Continuing with the theme of changing attitudes and perceptions, we are beginning to see the first signs of a surge in popularity in early R107s. For many years we have been predicting the rise of the ‘early car’, alongside our musings that the SLC is long overdue it’s rightful place alongside the SL at the top of the market. As we touched on earlier, as new buyers discover the SL and enter the market; they bring fresh perceptions on the R107 SL. Where buyers previously sought out the very latest cars for their more improved suspension, newer engines and cosmetic upgrades, other buyers see things differently. Instead of gravitating towards the most modern iteration of the R107, they instead hark back to the elegant simplicity of the Pagoda, preferring the narrower track and diminutive style of the pre 1986 SL. Is the SLSHOP showroom going to be stocked full or 350SLs, 380SLs and SLCs in all manner of colours? Not quite yet. You can read more on that here.
e, however this note comes with a proviso… This is more of a glacial slide than an overnight shift.
The most in demand cars through 2020 continued to be post-86, high specification, high calibre SLs with mileage between 40,000 and 60,000. That being said, no car is the same and no customers are the same, so it’s important to remember that our predictions should be considered more of a watercolour brush stroke than a precise architectural drawing…
Our advice for buying an SL will always remain the same… Buy the car you love.
Signal Red. Winning popularity contests since 1971.
The undisputed convertible king
To conclude our thoughts on looking forward into 2021, the popularity of the R107 as a classic car shows no signs of fading – quite the opposite. Whilst we are seeing cars that were sold through the showroom coming back home to roost, these same cars are moving on to excited new owners who are just beginning a relationship with the SL.
The two-decade production run that the R107 enjoyed, it’s position as a status symbol and a pin up has cemented a place for the R107 in the permanent hall of fame – giving it a cross generational reach to ensure it will always remain in demand.
2020 might have been an odd year for classic car enthusiasts, but we should use the experience to learn the crucial life lessons and apply those to our own enjoyment. Life is indeed short, there are roads to be explored, cars to be driven and shows to amble around. Let’s look forward to a brighter future full of classic Mercedes-Benz enjoyment… We’ll see you there.