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The Problem with Prior Paintwork: 19k-mile 1997 S600

The market for clean, low-mile W140s is rising fast; especially for the M120 S600 flagship variants. Recent private and auction sales of these legendary sedans are healthily within the low-to-mid $20's and some may argue that those numbers aren't anywhere near the top. Today's seller, no doubt, is one of those people.

This particular example offered for sale on ebay out of Alabama is one of the cleanest-looking, low-mile face-lifted S600s on the market...but its one we've seen before. With less than 19,000 miles on the odometer and a no-accident/no-damage, One-Owner Carfax, one would think that this example should command top dollar in this rising market. But for a collector-grade vehicle such as this, further inspection is required; and therein lies the rub.

This 1997 Mercedes-Benz S600 was sold new in Pennsylvania and remained with its original owner until it was acquired by the selling dealer in May 2019 with 19k indicated miles. Power comes from a 6.0-liter V12 paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, and the car is finished in Brilliant Silver Metallic over a two-tone gray Exclusive leather interior. Additional equipment includes xenon headlights, Adaptive Damping System suspension, Parktronic, heated multi-contour front seats with memory, heated rear seats, automatic climate control with rear air conditioning, and more.

The problem here is, despite the clean carfax, this car has evidence of previous paintwork due to errant paint meter readings (even on the same panels). When buying a pristine, low-mile example such as this, paintwork can really be a deterrent; and that factor has weighed on the seller in his prior attempts to sell this silver beauty. Furthermore, the asking price of almost $39,000 is sure to raise more than a few eyebrows...

Listed on bringatrailer approximately 14 months ago, this car was bid to a healthy figure of $25,000 (before the 5% buyer's premium) and did not meet reserve. The seller has now decided to relist the car on ebay (as he has in the intervening months) hoping to surpass the previous $25,000 offering. While some in the BaT peanut gallery decried that $25k should have been "all the money" for this particular car given the prior paintwork, the seller clearly disagrees.

And while he may have a valid argument, market exposure on this car will surely bring his bottom dollar down at the end of the day. High-$20's (or even very low $30s) would be a very nice number for this car, in our opinion. Especially given how long this W140 has sat awaiting its new owner. Any W140 owner will tell you that sitting idle is a death knell for these cars and they should be driven and enjoyed regularly to keep things lubricated and operational. The seller's asking price of $38,900 is definitely top-or-above market for a car with paintwork, so we'd be surprised to see it sell that high. But, then again, where are you going to find another one?



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