Sold at $390,000 RM Sotheby’s, Amelia Island, FL March 6, 2020, Lot 160 Chassis number: WDB1269451A476006 SCM Condition for this car: 2-

Of all the recent Mercedes-Benz AMG sales, this is the blockbuster. The premium that this example generated, however, is no accident. AMG built this car at their Affalterbach, Germany, workshop, which means it is as authentic as it could be. Just when this writer began to give up on his theory that cars built in AMG’s true workshop in Affalterbach might be worth a little extra, this sale occurred and confirmed the thesis — at least for now. An inspection of this car prior to the sale yielded some fascinating details. While it had been resprayed in its original color (DB-199, Pearl Black Metallic, which is what Mercedes called this color in 1990), the painters forgot to check under the back window for rust. Not that there was much of it, but a small area of ferrous oxide hung from the panel below the rear glass. And why would such a low-mileage car need a repaint, unless it spent a good amount of time outside? Still, this example presented nicely in the Florida sun. The interior was well preserved, with the typical Recaro seats. Some of the controls were wired through the Mercedes switches and others were wired through the Recaro controls on the seat itself. Inside, extra orange-tinted wood had been added to various surfaces, but the color and fit were lacking. The best part was when one of the extremely helpful RM Sotheby’s car specialists fired it up. The roar was immense and unforgettable. While mechanically the engine did not produce any awful noises, it did have a miss from one cylinder or a misadjusted air-fuel ratio, and it did not idle like a Mercedes at all. An “AMG flying doctor” had reportedly serviced the car. This is a real program, but its focus is exclusively on modern AMG cars. Judging by the way the car ran, the service was likely not thorough enough — or the specialist lacked the expertise or information to make this engine run right. AMG and Mercedes do not provide any training to service this type of engine. This problem may have been made worse because the car was run with less than two gallons of unknown-quality gas in it. At least the operation of the fuel-reserve light was verified. Regardless, with this sort of Mercedes AMG, if the car is real and all the right bits are present (in this case, AMG fiberglass front fenders and rare-for-1990 aluminum rear control arms), this kind of result is still the new normal. My hat goes off to the high bidder for pursuing one of a handful of authentic Widebody 560SEC AMG cars. Well sold. — Pierre Hedary

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