The fact that Adenauers are not sports cars has helped keep their values approachable. “They violate a couple core collector car principles,” Mr. Rabold said. “They have four doors, instead of two. And they’re more grand touring, rather than sporting.”

He continued: “I think that it comes down to an emphasis on craftsmanship instead of showmanship. They’re very refined cars, but they’re subtle in their refinement.”

Thus, according to Hagerty, while “average” Gullwings are $900,000 cars, and top-notch ones can fetch $1.2 million, average Adenauers run around $42,000, and perfect ones can be had for under $100,000.

Also contributing to the 300’s limited collectability is the cost of maintaining and repairing one.

“With these cars, there’s more of everything,” Mr. Kunz said. “A lot of chrome, a tremendous amount of leather, complicated and very beautifully done wood on the interiors. If you have a convertible, the padded roof, a very large roof, there are issues with that.”

He went on: “And they have a very complicated body structure with very tight tolerances. When I show the car to someone, I always say look at the transition from front fender to the front door, and look at what the gaps are. The gaps are like two or three millimeters. It’s challenging to get that right.”

The current retail values of these cars thus don’t support the expense of high-end restorations, which can run well into six figures.

“There was one sedan we did where the customer brought it to us in very poor shape,” Mr. Kunz said. “He said, ‘I know I should have my head examined for restoring this,’ but he had owned the car for many years, and that was the emotional bond. He saw himself as steward of the car, and felt it was his responsibility to do it.”

That value proposition might be shifting. “We show that values on these have gone up around 25 percent over the past two years,” Mr. Rabold said.

This has been pushed in part by increased interest from an atypical audience. To measure interest and appeal, Hagerty tracks insurance quote requests on specific vehicles, with the idea that if someone is seeking coverage for a particular car, that person is either preparing to buy one or has just bought it.

“In 2018, Gen Xers accounted for only 12 percent of quotes on Adenauer Mercedes,” Mr. Rabold said. “But in 2020, that was 32 percent. So that shows that there’s some youth appeal, and I think that’s what’s contributing in part to values going up, as they start to be discovered a little more.”

If you’ve been in the market, it’s a good time to buy, especially if you find a car that someone else has paid to bring back to life.

“These are a really great combination of luxury and engineering. They’re overbuilt. They’re really quality cars,” Mr. Rabold said. “If you can find a restored one of these, it’s a great value.”

View Source