The Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally (MBCCR) has fuelled the rise in demand of classic Mercedes-Benz cars in India. Initially planned as a one-off, back in 2014, over a cup of tea with our editor, Hormazd, at the Willingdon Sports Club to celebrate 120 Years of Motorsport at Mercedes-Benz, it has now become the go-to event for every classic car enthusiast and attracts classic Mercedes-Benz fans from across India.
Amar Sheth, MD, Shaman Mercedes-Benz, points out that prices of even relatively humble models like the W123 series have more than doubled over the years. W123 sedans that once sold for Rs 2-3 lakh are now finding buyers starting at Rs 4 lakh and going all the way to almost Rs 9 lakh for well-maintained cars. Estate models are rare and, whilst they start at around Rs 8-9 lakh, clean examples can go as high as Rs 12 lakh.
Sheth also mentions that, last year, Shaman Mercedes restored nine classic cars. This year the number has already crossed 19.
Even the most common, now modern classic, Mercedes in the country, the W124 series, has appreciated in value. Prices for the sedan started at Rs 1.75 lakh or so back in 2015. After the inclusion of the W124 series at the MBCCR, its prices now start at Rs 3 lakh for units in decent nick and can go as high as Rs 6 lakh for mint examples and imports. Collectors now appreciate the timeless design and bulletproof build quality of the W124 series.
Not only are modern-classic Mercedes cars in vogue, prices for thoroughbred classics like the W111 Fintail are soaring exponentially too. At the Asta Guru auction in December 2019, a pre-war 170V sold for a handsome Rs 40 lakh and a 230S Fintail is reported to have sold at a record price of Rs 68 lakh, with the latter’s price, I must admit, being unusually high. Ace restorer Allan Almeida, an expert at restoring classic Mercedes-Benz models, proudly says he restored 16 classic Mercedes cars in 2019, a number he is expecting will grow in the future.
Alongside classics, roadsters and coupés from the 1980s and 1990s too are skyrocketing in value. The R129-series SLs, like the SL320 that once sold for as low as Rs 15 lakh are now finding buyers for over Rs 20 lakh, a trend that is only expected to climb in coming months. R129s are some of the most loved SL generations, with a great combination of modern sophistication and an old-world mechanical charm.
The MBCCR euphoria continues for months after the annual event and I am flooded with requests for extra participation windshield stickers, grille badges, lapel pins and other memorabilia almost round the year.
As curator of the show, I am doing my best to have a 2020 edition in a safe environment. And with a tentative date early in December, the MBCCR will be back, and with a bang.
2019 Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally video
Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally 2019: the rolling museum
Mercedes-Benz Classic Car Rally 2019 image gallery