Lot 251 - 1979 Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL Ex James Hunt
|Odometer reading||127,594 miles|
|Estimate||£23,000 - £29,000|
|Result||Sold - £27,000|
- Owned for 14 years by James Hunt
- Fully restored in 1995 by Lord Gould
- Fabulous history file including original V5 documents
- Recently cared for by marque specialists SS Motors
Launched in 1974 as the world's fastest ever four-door production car, the Mercedes-Benz W116 450 with a SEL 6.9 litre engine set new benchmarks for technology, refinement and power in European production cars. Conservatively rated at 285bhp when new, these 6.9 litre monsters quickly became the choice of Formula One drivers, millionaire businessmen and luminaries wishing for the fastest available form of land transport with discretion assured. A total of 7,380 were manufactured, fewer than 2,000 in righthand drive format, this car being chassis number 7074.
Offered in Topaz Brown with matching brown leather interior, this 450 SEL was famously owned by Formula One driver James Hunt and within the history file is a well known photo of the car, on bricks, in the driveway of James Hunt's Wimbledon residence and parked next to his Austin A30. This was published, at the time, by national newspapers demonstrating the decline of the former world champions fortunes.
Originally registered to Owen Coyle Anodising Ltd, the car was purchased by Hunt in November 1980 as shown by the original V5 logbook, initially under in his holding companies name, Grosvenor House, run by his brother and later in Mr Hunt's name and represented one of two 450 SEL's the playboy race car driver purchased. This particular example was on display at Mercedes-Benz World Museum in 2013 to celebrate the release of the movie, 'Rush', which featured the 1970s Formula One World Championship races, so famously contested by James Hunt and Niki Lauda.
After Hunt's passing in 1993 the car was auctioned by Brooks in 1994. It sold for a sum of £4,000 plus commission of 10% to Lord John Gould who undertook a full and comprehensive restoration. This was a car that Gould had tried to purchase from Hunt prior to his death in 1993 with Gould a long time admirer of the car. Contained within the history file are photographs and documents pertaining to the restoration and accompanying this is a letter, dated in February 1994, from the executor of James Hunts estate thanking Lord Gould for his purchase and indicating that the proceeds would help fund Hunts two sons continuing education.
During the restoration, the shade of brown on the body work was changed to 404G Milan Brown and the original velour trim changed for a special order Connolly hide that has been well protected by covers. The restoration was completed in 1995 at a cost of £24,000 leaving the car as new. Lord Gould later sold the car to a Doctor in London. The current owner purchased the car from a young family man in February 2000.
Our vendor is a keen member of the Mercedes-Benz Owners Club and he has owned and cherished this car for the past 18 years. In this time, a great deal of care has been taken to ensure that this 450 SEL is in extremely good mechanical order, details of this can be found in the extensive history file which includes works from specialists such as SS Motors in Weybridge, one of the leading period Mercedes specialist in the country where a full service was carried out in July 2018. Checking the previous history we can see that Silchester Garage stripped and assessed the engine in 2007, the walnut veneer has recently been renewed by Silvercrest and this is coupled with photos, invoices, bills and MoT test certificates showing a fantastic care of ownership in, what is an outstanding history file.
Not only an iconic and collectable 6.9 litre 450 SEL, this car has iconic provenance having been owned by a genuine legend of Formula One racing, it has condition and paperwork to match its history. At a fitting stage in which to be sold to its next owner at Mercedes-Benz World, this example is sure to attract significant interest, a read through the accompanying history file alone is worth the admission.
Interested parties should satisfy themselves as to the description and condition of each lot prior to the sale. Buyers are advised to inspect the car in person or use a professional to carry out this service.