I once drove my mom’s 1984 Honda Accord into a pole. I was 17. The bumper crumpled a little, but the damage wasn’t easily spotted. Still, I remember being terrified my dad would see it and, to this day, haven’t admitted to him that I caused the damage. (Sorry, Dad!)
Imagine calling the owner of a rare Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing and informing him you’ve just destroyed it. I wouldn’t want to be on either end of that call!
There are only 1,400 of these in existence (or maybe 1,399), and they can sell for almost $2 million each. Wrecking one, especially one that belongs to someone else, would be an incredible stressor in anyone’s day.
Two mechanics in Stuttgart recently took a customer’s Gullwing on a
test drive joyride, ran it off the road, rolled it over, and caused over $830,000 in damage.
Then, perhaps even worse, they had to inform the owner.
The Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing was best known, obviously, for its distinctive gull-wing doors. It also boasted the first-ever consumer fuel-injection and the world’s fastest top speed of 160 miles per hour. The gull-wing coupe was available only from 1955 to 1957, with a roadster available until 1963. Needless to say, pristine examples today are slightly hard to come by and worth a lot of money.
The crash happened just north of Stuttgart, where the Benz was in the process of being restored at a shop known as a specialist in classic cars.
A 26-year-old mechanic took the car out for a spin along with a 19-year-old apprentice. Police say the driver exceeded the 55-mph speed limit and went off the side of the road. Both people in the car escaped without injuries, but the Mercedes sustained some serious damage. According to the news story, the owner remained calm when he heard about the accident, and insurance will likely fund a rebuild of the classic car.
What won’t be easily rebuilt is the reputation of the shop. Wrecking the cars you are meant to restore tends to push customers away!
Have you ever had to admit damage you did to someone else’s car? Hopefully nothing like this Gullwing!