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Mercedes owned by Maradona to be auctioned

A classic Mercedes sports car first owned by football legend, the late Diego Maradona, is set to go under the hammer early next year and could fetch around £200,000.

The 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0-litre was delivered new to Argentina’s greatest player of a generation during his early professional career playing for Buenos Aires club, Boca Juniors, shortly before departing for Europe to launch his name into stardom at Barcelona.

The car wasn’t purchased by the ‘Hand of God’ goal scorer – it was a gift from an influential group of supporters as a mark of his importance to Boca’s first team. 

The ‘signal red’ motor will be offered to the highest bidder at an auction in Paris in February, and is predicted to sell for between €150,000 (£130,000) and €200,000 (£172,000).

Maradona’s Merc: This beautiful 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0-litre was a gift to the Argentine football icon during his early professional career playing for Buenos Aires. It will be sold at a Paris auction in early 2023

The availability of the car at auction in 2023 has been announced today, the second anniversary of Maradona’s death, having passed away from a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home at the age of 60.

Bonhams confirmed it will go to the block at the Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris Sale in France on Thursday 2 February.

Philip Kantor, chairman at Bonhams Motoring, said: ‘With the World Cup match between Argentina and Mexico taking place this weekend, 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 national team to World Cup victory in Mexico in 1986. 

‘We are sure that the SLC will score highly at the rostrum in Paris.’

Fittingly, for the future World Cup UEFA champion and FIFA Player of the 20th Century award winner, the stunning Merc was presented to Maradona by a fellow Argentinian sporting icon – Juan Manuel Fangio, the five-time Formula One World Champion.

Fangio owned the only official Mercedes dealership in Argentina at the time, which supplied the vehicle for the soon-to-be football great.

The availability of the car has been announced on the second anniversary of Maradona's death, having passed away following a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home at the age of 60

The availability of the car has been announced on the second anniversary of Maradona’s death, having passed away following a heart attack at his Buenos Aires home at the age of 60

'The hand of God' goal scored against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter final remains today one of the competition's all time notorious moments

‘The hand of God’ goal scored against England in the 1986 World Cup quarter final remains today one of the competition’s all time notorious moments

Steered by the hand of God: The Mercedes was owned by Maradona briefly, having been handed the keys by another Argentine sporting great - five-time F1 champ, Juan Manuel Fangio, who owned the Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires from where the car was delivered

Steered by the hand of God: The Mercedes was owned by Maradona briefly, having been handed the keys by another Argentine sporting great – five-time F1 champ, Juan Manuel Fangio, who owned the Mercedes dealership in Buenos Aires from where the car was delivered

The 1980 Mercedes was a gift from an influential group of supporters as a mark of Maradona's importance to Boca's first team

The 1980 Mercedes was a gift from an influential group of supporters as a mark of Maradona’s importance to Boca’s first team

Diego Maradona is widely recognised as the greatest footballer of his era, maybe of all time

Diego Maradona is widely recognised as the greatest footballer of his era, maybe of all time

Bonhams confirmed that the classic Mercedes sports car will go to the block at the Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris Sale in France on Thursday 2 February

Bonhams confirmed that the classic Mercedes sports car will go to the block at the Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris Sale in France on Thursday 2 February

The auction will take place just months after two incredible pieces of Maradona-related history went under the hammer – one smashing a pair of world records.

His match-worn shirt from the 1986 World Cup quarter-final match against England in which he scored twice – including the famous goal with his hand – was sold by RM Sotheby’s in May for £7.1milllion, becoming the most expensive football shirt sold at auction as well as the most expensive sports memorabilia to go under the hammer.

In October, the match ball from the same game was also offered to collectors, though failed to meet its £2million reserve.

Bonhams expects the Maradona Mercedes to sell successfully, especially given the recent record for the Argentine’s cars when they’ve gone to the block.

Maradona's match-worn shirt from the infamous 'hand of God' 1986 World Cup quarter-final match against England sold in May for £7.1milllion , becoming the most expensive football shirt sold at auction as well as the most expensive sports memorabilia to go under the hammer

Maradona’s match-worn shirt from the infamous ‘hand of God’ 1986 World Cup quarter-final match against England sold in May for £7.1milllion , becoming the most expensive football shirt sold at auction as well as the most expensive sports memorabilia to go under the hammer

The four-seat Mercedes grand tourer coupé was one of the era¿s status symbols, but this SLC is extremely rare

The four-seat Mercedes grand tourer coupé was one of the era’s status symbols, but this SLC is extremely rare

Another, a rare 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Type 964 ‘Works Turbo Look’ Cabriolet, which he owned when playing for Seville FC in 1993, was sold by Bonhams at the Grand Palais Sale in 2021 for €483,000 (£415,000), which was almost double its higher pre-sale estimate.

The four-seat Mercedes grand tourer coupé was one of the era’s status symbols, but this SLC is extremely rare.

This is one of only 816 homologation special examples produced in order to allow it to contest the World Rally Championship at the time.

This means it is one of very few road cars built with lightweight aluminium panels and an all-aluminium engine.

This car is one of only 816 homologation special examples produced in order to allow it to contest the World Rally Championship at the time

This car is one of only 816 homologation special examples produced in order to allow it to contest the World Rally Championship at the time

The 5.0-litre powerplant produced 240hp when new and boasted a top speed of 130mph

The 5.0-litre powerplant produced 240hp when new and boasted a top speed of 130mph

It's not often a collector can claim to have a car first owned by one of football's brightest stars. An ex-Maradona Porsche 911 was sold at auction last year and almost doubled the pre-sale guide price

It’s not often a collector can claim to have a car first owned by one of football’s brightest stars. An ex-Maradona Porsche 911 was sold at auction last year and almost doubled the pre-sale guide price

The 5.0-litre powerplant produced 240hp when new and boasted a top speed of 130mph. 

The car driven by Maradona was fitted with a wealth of options including black leather trim, an electric sunroof, air conditioning and cruise control.

Following the footballer’s brief ownership, the SLC resided in private collections in Argentina before being imported into the USA. 

It’s been used sparingly, having only covered 38,000 miles from new.

Bonhams says it has been ‘well-maintained throughout its life’, including a full professional restoration during the ownership of the vendor.

The lot includes the original registration document, which clearly shows Maradona’s name as the vehicle recipient. 

It today presents a rare opportunity to own a vehicle first driven by one of football’s – and sports in general’s – brightest stars. 

The 1980 Mercedes has been used sparingly, having only covered 38,000 miles from new

The 1980 Mercedes has been used sparingly, having only covered 38,000 miles from new

The lot includes the original registration document, which clearly shows Maradona's name as the vehicle recipient

The lot includes the original registration document, which clearly shows Maradona’s name as the vehicle recipient

Following the footballer's brief ownership, the SLC resided in private collections in Argentina before being imported into the USA. The vendor recently oversaw its professional restoration

Following the footballer’s brief ownership, the SLC resided in private collections in Argentina before being imported into the USA. The vendor recently oversaw its professional restoration

The car driven by Maradona was fitted with a wealth of options including black leather trim, an electric sunroof, air conditioning and cruise control

The car driven by Maradona was fitted with a wealth of options including black leather trim, an electric sunroof, air conditioning and cruise control

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