While out on a short bicycle ride around the city this morning, I was stopped in my tracks by a beautiful sight: A red 560 SL in the showroom window of Mercedes-Benz of San Francisco. I thought to myself: “Wow, a 560 SL from the late 1980s has been restored to showroom quality and is now for sale. I must investigate!”
Mind you, a 560 SL is the car I’ve always wanted and still want, a red one in fact! (I prefer black interior, however, to this car’s creme beige.) SLs are always for sale, of course, in various stages of abuse and deterioration. For one all polished up and on showroom display, I figured the condition of this one must not be all that bad, and the mileage perhaps not too high.
Late this afternoon, I was standing over this timeless classic in both awe and surprise. The awe, of course, goes without saying, because I adore a red SL, especially in mint condition. The surprise came with the discovery that Bobby Ewing’s wheels are NOT for sale, and more than this, that they’ve never seen the open road! This is not a case of only-20K-miles never-been-driven; I mean, literally, this red-on-creme 21-year-old has really never been driven! The odometer reads 90 miles. This car has never been registered. It has belonged to the owner of the dealership, apparently, ever since it arrived in his inventory 21 years ago. The original invoice is still taped to the window, indicating all of the SL’s features, along with 1989’s grand price total of $65K and some change.
This experience threw me into an odd yet wonderful time warp. Recalling my many trips to Mercedes-Benz dealers as a teen, I felt now as if I were back in 1989. Here was this gorgeous German machine, fresh off the assembly line and ready for a home. I recall the days of looking at this exact same model when it was brand new, and here today the moment returned, most unexpectedly and certainly most uniquely. Amazing deja vu, to say the least!
This SL is said to be among the owner’s personal collection, with a sign next to it reading: “For display only.” I don’t blame him. After all, 1989 was the final production year of this famous and beloved body style that was born in 1972. Then of course, as the saying goes, “everything is for sale at the right price.” I wonder what the right price is in this case.