Fancy getting your hands on Maradona’s Merc?

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
11 January 2023 2 min read
Fancy getting your hands on Maradona’s Merc?
Photos: Bonhams

It’s customary to, ahem, kick off any news story about Diego Maradona with a reference to the ‘Hand of God’ incident at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. At the end of the day, Clive, we’re not going to resort to ‘route one’ tactics. Instead, we’re going to rise above it like an Argentine number 10 towering over Peter Shilton.

The sale of a 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC first owned by the late Diego Maradona completes a hat-trick of auctions relating to ‘The Golden Boy’ of Argentina. In May 2022, the shirt worn by Maradona in the quarter-final against England sold for a record £7.1 million, while the ball attracted a top bid of £2m in November.

Maradona Argentina shirt

Although the Mercedes will fetch significantly less, it’s expected to set a record for a 450 SLC, with Bonhams listing it with a pre-auction estimate of €150,000-€250,000 (£135,000-£220,000). In 2021, a Porsche 911 ‘Works Turbo Look’ formerly owned by the footballing ace sold for €483,000, doubling its pre-auction estimate.

Maradona took delivery of the 450 SLC while playing for this first professional side, Club Atlético Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires. The car, a gift from a group of supporters, was presented to him by five-time F1 champion Juan Manuel Fangio.

Mercedes 450 SLC Maradona

One of only 816 homologation specials built to allow the SLC to go racing, Maradona’s car was fitted with a wealth of options, including black leather trim, electric sunroof, air conditioning and cruise control. Its 5-litre engine produced enough power for Maradona’s Merc to glide past Messrs Beardsley, Reid, Butcher and Fenwick.

Bonhams international chairman, Philip Kantor, said: “We are delighted to announce that we will be offering this exceptional motor car – and piece of sporting memorabilia – belonging to Maradona, who led his team to World Cup victory in Mexico in 1986. We are sure that that the SLC will score highly at the rostrum in Paris.”

The 450 SLC is one of 190 lots to go under hammer at the Bonhams Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris sale in February. In the meantime, we’re giving ourselves a big hand for not going overboard with references to that goal.

Read more

The curious case of car-addicted Peter Sellers and a Mercedes 450 SLC
Glorious oddballs from this week’s Bonhams Paris sale
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