Abandoned delivery-mileage Mercedes could fetch £55k at auction

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A Mercedes that lay abandoned for 21 years after the owner lost its keys could fetch £55,000 when it goes up for auction tomorrow.

Purchased from Normand of Mayfair in 1996, the red SL 500 convertible was a birthday present for its sole lady owner, but it was driven just a few miles before the keys were lost and it was never used again, languishing instead in a Knightsbridge garage.

The car has covered just 80 miles and is in mint condition, complete with a replacement key. It even comes with a letter from the owner's butler to back up the mileage and provenance.

According to Coys, the auction house that will be marketing the car at its Spring Classics auction at the Royal Horticultural Society, London, the car would be worth around £6,000 had it been run regularly since it was new, but the time-warp condition means it could fetch more than nine times that sum.

Coys CEO Chris Routledge said: "This is a car with a fantastic story. It was purchased as a birthday present and driven only 80 miles before the owner lost the keys and never drove it again. It even comes with a letter written by the owner's butler, verifying its provenance.

"Had she not lost the keys and used it regularly, we estimate it would now be worth between £5,000 and £7,000, but the fact that it has not been driven for more than 20 years makes it worth between £45,000 and £55,000. What happened to the keys remains a mystery but the car comes with new keys for the new owner. Perhaps you shouldn't panic the next time you misplace your car keys...!"

Abandoned delivery-mileage Mercedes could fetch £55k at auction

Abandoned delivery-mileage Mercedes could fetch £55k at auction