How would you fancy having an £550,485 repair bill next time you prang your car? No, thought not, but that is what happened recently as possibly the most unfortunate mechanic currently practicing his trade in Germany took a priceless car for a ride.
The car was a Mercedes 300SL Gullwing that was rather ironically, being restored – what you might describe as a bit of a set back then. So is there actually any good news to be had out of this? Well, neither driver or passenger were hurt in the accident, although rumours abound of a thoroughly dented ego and possible lack of a pay rise for quite some time for the unfortunate mechanic.
The Gullwing is one of the most deserving cars of the word “classic” that you might find, it oozes class. The 300SL is unsurprisingly often cited as being one of the most collectible Mercedes-Benz vehicles in existence, while Sports Car International magazine voted the 300SL Gullwing as number 5 in its list of the finest sports cars of all time – hard to argue with that accolade really.
Perhaps our unfortunate young mechanic had been reading of the Gullwing’s racing pedigree before the 26 year old grabbed the keys to go for a spin. In 1952 the Gullwing had caused a bit of a stir in beating both Jaguar and Ferrari in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race with old-style carburettors powering the engine and producing a mere 175hp. The secret it turns out, was the Gullwing’s supreme aerodynamics. Ahead of it’s time indeed.
Reports say that the mechanic was going somewhat faster than he should have been and was breaking the speed limit of 80km/h when the accident happened and the Merc slid off the side of the road. We can only begin to imagine what he said to his passenger after they realised that they were ok and the realisation of what they had done had begun to sink in.
The moral of this story is simple really – always make sure that you have your car correctly insured as things can go wrong! In the UK, assuming the mechanic was reputable, his motor trade policy would have picked up the bill for this type of accident. This isn’t the first time I’ve heard of mechanics taking a rather nice car for a “bit of a cheeky spin”, perks of the trade maybe. In this case, the owner was reported to be fairly calm about the accident.
Crash image from zero2turbo.com