The original Mercedes-Benz 300 SL that was painted by Andy Warhol is going under the hammer in New York today and is expected to fetch millions.
The car has been restored to its former glory by Brabus, a famous car tuning company in the city of Bottrop, in west-central Germany’s state of North Rhine-Westphalia.
The 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing was famously painted by American pop artist Andy Warhol (1928–1987) in 1986, less than a year before his death.
Going under the hammer today (Thursday) at Sotheby’s auction house in New York, the vehicle is expected to fetch up to EUR 3 million (GBP 2.6 million), according to German media.
Brabus boss Constantin Buschmann said that the aim of the restoration was to “bring the car back as close as possible to its original condition in order to preserve it as a piece of automotive and art history.”
The restoration process in Bottrop reportedly took nearly two years and over 4,500 hours of work.
But the restoration has drawn some criticism too, with German daily Bild reporting changes have been made to the car, with the car’s iconic wooden steering wheel and gear knob now replaced in favour of ones made out of bakelite.
They also reportedly added a mirror on the left fender.
Expert Marius Brune, 55, from the German classic car evaluators Classic Data, is quoted in Bild as saying: “It’s so different, it’s no longer Warhol’s Mercedes.”
And expert Martin Puthz, 50, from Bild’s Autobild Classic, said: “The special traces of history have been erased by the restoration. The modifications happened without need and reduce the value!”
The iconic car, considered to be a work of art in its own right by automobile enthusiasts, was painted by Andy Warhol – twice – in 1986, with Mercedes Benz commissioning a full series of 36 silkscreen prints and 13 vehicle drawings.
But the work was to remain incomplete, with Warhol dying in 1987.
The two original works are in the collections of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles and the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart, Germany.
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