16th Mar, 2022 13:00

Imperial War Museum, Duxford

  Lot 19

2001 Mercedes-Benz SL500 'Silver Arrow'
1 family and 14,000 miles from new!

Sold for £50,625

(including buyers premium)

Lot details

Registration No: A1 TSR
Chassis No: WDB1290682F204505
MOT: February 2023

  • Number 35 from a limited run of 100 UK market cars
  • Original bill of sale for £71,753, original Certificate of Authenticity (signed by Stirling Moss), original W196 Silver Arrow commemorative model
  • Extensive main dealer service history
  • Entered from a private collection

“One glance is enough to tell you just how special this glorious car is. So special, in fact, that only 100 models will be produced for the UK – with each one certified as authentic by Mercedes-Benz and Sir Stirling Moss” (Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, limited edition brochure)

Unveiled at the March 1989 Geneva Motor Show, the fourth generation (R129-series) Mercedes-Benz SL was styled in-house by Bruno Sacco. Often cited as the highlight of his career, the sleek Roadster was beautifully engineered. Based around a two-door monocoque bodyshell, its sophisticated all-round independent suspension (double-wishbone front / five-link rear) was augmented by a host of active and passive safety features including: electronic stability control, ventilated ABS disc brakes, adaptive-damping shock absorbers, front airbags and an integral rollover bar that deployed in less than a third of a second (if the car ever sensed an impending flip). Suitably cosseting, the convertible's impeccably built cabin was protected by a fully automated power hood and featured such niceties as memory seats, electric windows and mirrors and an adjustable steering column. Yet, lurking beneath all the luxury and refinement was a performance orientated grand tourer. Launch flagship, the mighty 500 SL (known as the SL 500 from 1994 onwards) was powered by the first of Mercedes' four-valve per cylinder, dual-overhead camshaft V8 powerplants. Credited with 326bhp and 332lbft of torque, this fearsome 4973cc (M119.982) unit was allied to four-speed (later five-speed) automatic transmission as standard. Reputedly capable of over 150mph and 0-60mph in 6.3 seconds, the model was updated with a more emissions friendly but marginally less powerful 4966cc (M113.963) engine from June 1998 onwards.

Intended to be a fitting send off for the R129-series, the special edition SL500 ‘Silver Arrow’ boasted a unique specification which included: Silver Arrow ‘777’ paintwork, Black / Silver Nappa leather upholstery, AMG bodystyling, bespoke 18-inch multi-piece alloy wheels, Silver brake callipers, chrome-sheen aluminium exterior trim, illuminated door sills, ‘engine-turned’ aluminium instrument and gearshift surrounds and Bird’s-Eye Maple Black wood trim. Mercedes-Benz only allocated 100 special edition SL500 ‘Silver Arrow’ cars to the UK market. Although the distinctively hued Roadster was available in other countries, the British versions were the only ones to be accompanied by a Certificate of Authenticity bearing the signature of Sir Stirling Moss. UK buyers also received a limited edition CMC 1:18 scale model of Moss’s 1955 Mercedes-Benz W196 Grand Prix car ‘No.6’.

The vendor remembers his father weighing up the pros and cons of buying one of the special edition SL500 ‘Silver Arrows’ versus ordering a fifth generation (R230-series) Mercedes-Benz SL. Swayed by the R129’s exclusivity, he purchased Number 35 of the 100 British cars. The original sales invoice on file totals £71,753 and lists the addition of a panoramic glass roof, Sat-Nav and Tracker. First registered as ‘A1 TSR’ on 24th September 2001, the 2+2-seater was main dealer serviced at 2,601, 5,177, 6,516, 8,229, 9,729, 11,660 and 14,328 miles. Put into professional storage not long after its last bout of maintenance – the odometer reading has increased by a mere 50 miles or so – the Mercedes-Benz is expected to possess a fresh MOT certificate by the time of sale. Starting readily and running well during our recent photography session, ‘A1 TSR’ is in a condition commensurate with its extremely low, warranted mileage. Perhaps because it has only been owned by a father and son from new, the SL500 ‘Silver Arrow’ is unusual in retaining its Sir Stirling Moss-signed Certificate of Authenticity, CMC 1:18 W196 model, letter from Simon Oldfield General Manager, Car Marketing, first MOT certificate, hardtop winch and cradle, original book pack, numerous hard and softbound brochures and even an unopened pack of Mercedes-Benz History ‘Classic Collection’ playing cards! Surely a must for the Mercedes-Benz collector.

For more information, please contact:
Damian Jones
07855 493737


Auction: Imperial War Museum, Duxford, 16th Mar, 2022

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Imperial War Museum
CB22 4QR

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Tuesday 15th March 2022 from 12pm to 6pm
Wednesday 16th March 2022 from 9am

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