On the 1st of February 1989 Mrs E Finn started her 1987 Austin Montego Vanden Plas and began the drive to Mercedes-Benz Bramley. This was an exciting day. Having received a phone call that the bankers draft had been received with thanks, she had duly been informed that her new car was ready for collection…
Mrs Finn’s green Austin Montego was a desirable car, having been registered brand new less than two years earlier, on 1st February 1987.
Mr and Mrs Finn were accustomed to the finer things in life, and the four door saloon was perfect for transporting the grand children. Not only was the luxury of the Vanden Plas appealing, but compared to the Ford Sierra or Vauxhall Cavalier, it also represented somewhat of a bargain, and Mr Finn loved to find a deal.
This wasn’t just any Montego, this was a Vanden Plas! A top of the range model fitted with modern luxuries such as leather seats, leather door cards, power windows, power mirrors, central locking and a sunroof. Mr Finn would proudly tell his friends that you ‘couldn’t get that level of equipment on a Sierra for what I paid!’, and always ensured his passengers noticed that the door cards were lined with leather, not vinyl or velour. If they weren’t impressed by this, he’d open the sunroof just a little. He had a way of doing it that meant no one could miss the fact that a well designed opening was letting sunlight into the car – he’d even lower the volume on the radio to show just how quiet the mechanism was….
- An Austin Montego…
- not a Montego.
After two years with the high specification Montego, Mr and Mrs Finn decided it was about time they indulged in some serious luxury motoring. They had both dreamt of owning a Mercedes-Benz SL, and Mr Finn had always said ‘one day’.
1989 was the year the new shape SL was being launched, and Mr Finn knew if there was going to be a great time for a deal then it would be just before the latest model hit the showrooms. He reasoned that early in the year, dealers would be anxiously trying to sell the outgoing shape SL, expensive though it was – the new model was a big step forward and the waiting lists were long, no dealer wanted to have last years stock hanging around the forecourt!
He hadn’t told Mrs Finn all of this, but he had found the perfect candidate – a two year old 500SL with low mileage. It had a lot of expensive options, and just 8,500 miles. The list price of a brand new 500SL in 1989 was £41,700.00, but he had negotiated a strong trade-in price for the Montego. The SL had Perforated Leather, an Outside Temperature Gauge, Heated Mirrors, a Burglar Alarm and Air Conditioning… From his research he calculated a ’new’ price of almost £47,000 with options, and he had negotiated just £39,619 for the SL, with an impressive £6,250 for the Montego! He felt quite pleased with himself.
Mrs Finn strolled across the car park to the big doors of Bramley Mercedes-Benz without so much of a second glance at the Vanden Plas… She’d never really liked it anyway, her friends at bridge club would be much more impressed with her gorgeous new SL. She couldn’t wait to show them. Her sights were focused on the gleaming Mercedes-Benz that was sitting in pride of place at the front of the showroom.
The nice salesman strolled out to meet Mrs Finn, taking the keys to the Montego and passing them to a colleague. Whilst the salesman showed Mrs Finn the controls inside the cabin of the SL, the Montego was driven to the back of the building and into the valet bay. The Valeter wasn’t impressed – he was more of a Cavalier SRI kind of guy, and had always found the Vanden Plas cars a little too Werthers Original.
Once the demonstration was finished, a little paperwork was to be completed before Mrs Finn fired up the 5.0 litre V8 for the first time, noting just how different it was to the two litre engine of her Montego. Everything felt sturdy, solid and… expensive. With her handbag on the passenger seat and the drivers window down just a little, she inched the car out of the showroom and out onto the open road…. With a big grin, she aimed the gleaming SL in the direction of her Bridge club.
Of course we have no idea if any of this is actually true…
It is, as they say, a large helping of artistic license.
When a car arrives with SLSHOP, we take the time to pore through the service history. We always want to understand the full story, how it arrived with us in 2021 and where it has been since the day it left the factory.
The 500SL discussed in the above story is very much real, as is the Austin Montego Vanden Plas… or rather we should say ‘was’ real, because a quick check of the DVLA MOT database for D400APA shows no records – it didn’t last as long as the SL, which is currently in our showroom.
Mr and Mrs Finn were also real, as shown on the order form for the SL with the details of the trade-in car clearly visible. So what happened next?
The couple cared for the rare 500SL for almost twenty years, taking it with them on a move from Surrey to Scotland. In the early years of their ownership it covered quite some miles, but by the time they had moved to Scotland, the average mileage was down to just a few hundred each year. They owned the car for almost 30 years, before it appeared for sale with a classic car dealer in London, advertised with just 20,000 miles on the clock.
It is at this point where the story becomes much clearer.
A Mercedes-Benz enthusiast purchased the 500SL, a passionate ‘car guy’ with fine taste in cars and a clear vision for what this SL should be. The car first arrived at SLSHOP in 2016, whereupon a restoration commenced – not just any restoration, this was to be a high calibre nut and bolt rebuild..
- After finishing with SLSHOP
- Just beautiful.
After lavishing an astonishing amount of money on the car, the end result was SL perfection – in Anthracite Grey.
Our enthusiast friend enjoyed the car from 2016 until today, using it as a daily driver and proudly indulging in his SL passion. Having ‘scratched the SL itch’, he recently contacted SLSHOP to enquire about finding a new owner for the car. Knowing the gentleman and the car very well, Bruce already had an owner in mind.
The car was sold over the phone, almost before it had arrived on site.
We are proud to have been involved with such an interesting car with a great story, first to turn it into someone’s dream car and then to find a new home for it with another happy customers.
Are you looking to buy a Mercedes-Benz SL? Do you have something specific in mind? Please do contact Bruce to discuss your requirements.
He might even take an Austin Montego in part exchange.
Thanks for reading.
Are you looking for a specific SL? Contact Bruce today.