This 1,100-Mile 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL Was Stolen Off the Showroom Floor, And Now It's For Sale
Rescued and ready for its first (legal) owner.
Every salvage auction lot has a story. Some are odd and funny, like a bunch of new dealership inventory that's been pummeled by hail. Some are darkly tragic, like this 2007 Lincoln MKZ that still contains half the previous owner's blood. And some just downright intriguing, like this 1,100-mile 1992 Mercedes-Benz 500SL that was reported stolen off the dealership's showroom floor, lovingly cared for over the last two and a half decades, and recovered by authorities in Pennsylvania late last year.
The time-capsule car showed up on Copart last week, standing out as a flawless survivor on a website that usually specializes in chunks of metal bearing only a passing resemblance to the cars they once comprised. Bidding ends Tuesday at 5 p.m. eastern. The R129 Mercedes-Benz SL Class launched in 1989 as Daimler's most advanced luxury roadster, and the 500SL stood as the apex model with a 5.0-liter, 322-horsepower V8 engine.
Zero to 60 mph came in just over six seconds—not great by modern standards, but the rest of the car is a desirable holdover from the days when Mercedes cars were sensibly designed and entirely overbuilt. The simple, even-handed design has aged beautifully. Hard and soft tops give the 500SL completely different yet complementary silhouettes. What's not to love?
As for the origin story: The listing notes that it's being sold on a clean title despite being a recovered theft car dumped by the insurance company. In 1991, the teal Mercedes was built in Bremen, Germany, shipped to a Pennsylvania dealership in late 1991, and stolen right off the showroom floor shortly thereafter. But instead of going on a destructive joyride or stripping it for parts, the thief reportedly cared for the car like a conscientious owner, slowly accumulating 1,186 miles over 26 years and keeping it stored safely indoors.
That happily-ever-after vibe was shattered in late 2018 when the 500SL was "recovered," in the listing's clinical terms, and now the car is up for anyone to buy. The whole story is bizarre. We haven't been able to track down any news reports related to the alleged theft and recovery, so we'll leave it to you to speculate about the possibility of insurance fraud. It's almost unbelievable—but then again, how else do you explain a real auction-caliber car showing up at a place like CrashedToys.com?
These super-low-mileage survivors often carry more deferred maintenance trouble than they're worth as actual drivers. That doesn't seem to be the case here—really, for a current high bid of $13,300 with reserve met, the only risk we see is knowing that you're tootling around in the object of someone else's extremely private and likely all-consuming obsession.
Got a tip? Email the author: email@example.com