Pristine 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series Fails To Sell Despite Record Bid

2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series 17 photos
Photo: silverarrowcarsltd on Bring a Trailer | Edited
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Can a 10-year-old limited-edition supercar be called a time capsule? Given how much the auto industry has transformed since then, one might be inclined to attach that description to this like-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series with just 149 miles on the odometer. Surprisingly, it didn't sell at auction, even though the top bidder was very generous. But the story might have a positive outcome.
I don't know why I didn't think about the SLS AMG Black Series more often. Watching this auction unfold was the first time in a long while that got me all nostalgic. Somehow, I ended up rediscovering this iconic Mercedes-Benz. And that's a bit weird.

Like many other adults who are now enamored with cars (no matter if they have a fuel tank or a high-voltage battery), I grew up with the British TV show Top Gear. I watched it religiously. The famous trio that is currently preparing to release the last episode of The Grand Tour turned me into a gearhead.

Now, picture this: it's 2012, and Tesla has just launched the all-electric Model S. It looked peculiarly similar to a Mazda Mazda6 (because Franz von Holzhausen worked for the Japanese carmaker before joining the brand that was eventually going to become the world's most valuable automaker), and there wasn't such a big hype around it.

But that's understandable. Tesla only sold 2,650 units. These Americans and Canadians were true early adopters. They were embarking on an unexpected journey.

Mercedes\-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive
Photo: Mercedes-AMG
Bear with me for a bit here.

Unknowingly witnessing the end of an era

Not knowing much about Tesla or EVs in general at that time, the zero-tailpipe emission sedan that caused Tesla hundreds of millions of dollars in losses simply didn't exist for me. Elon Musk might have wanted to forget about it as well, since he considered asking Google to buy Tesla only a year after the Model S' debut.

But I suspect that most of us perceived the EV as an experiment that was bound to fail. After all, it was something groundbreaking but incredibly expensive. And Tesla didn't prove much with the original Roadster.

Besides that, the Nissan Leaf, which was launched in 2010, was perceived as a quirky commuting appliance. Nothing made people jump out of their seats back then regarding electric motoring. Even today, EVs account for under one percent of all the cars currently registered in the US.

If you stuck with me up to this point, thank you. So, why am I telling you all of this? Well, only two years after the Model S made its grand debut, Top Gear compared an SLS AMG Black Series with a battery-powered SLS AMG Electric Drive. I can't believe I forgot about that long-hooded beast finished in neon green.

Mercedes\-Benz SLS AMG Electric Drive
Photo: Mercedes-AMG
Furthermore, it feels surreal that I forgot about Jeremy Clarkson's statement that the all-electric version of the SLS AMG Black Series could have easily overshadowed its dinosaur-juice-powered sibling. He even called it the "world's first electric supercar."

At the same time, I'm starting to seriously doubt my memory because why wouldn't I find myself daydreaming about owning the V8-powered Black Series with its sensational doors like I do with the Ferrari 488 Spider?

So, watching this auction unfold felt like reconnecting with a childhood friend who might just stick around this time.

Clearing the seven-figure hurdle

While I might have forgotten about the SLS AMG Black Series, other people (with a lot more money) have not. That's why, last year, a one-owner unit with 616 miles on the clock found a new home for $940,000. It was sold at RM Sotheby's Amelia Island event. Six years ago, anyone could have bought one for less than half of what that bidder paid to become the owner of one of the (only) 132 SLS AMG Black Series sold in the US.

So, here we have it: an as-new 2014 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series with only 149 miles on the odometer and a three-owner history. If cars, even German ones, do have a soul, then this one's must be crushed. Nobody gave it the beans!

It's, for all intents and purposes, a museum piece. Imagine taking it to a random Cars & Coffee event and opening those amazing gullwing doors for everyone to see. People would surely be stunned.

2014 Mercedes\-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
Photo: silverarrowcarsltd
As expected, this unit has all the goodies, including a clean Michigan title and, who would have guessed, a spotless Carfax report. The 6.2-liter V8 is enough to make any car lover feel tingly all over, but this particular unit is also equipped with the Bang & Olufsen sound system, the six-disc CD/DVD changer, a 40GB hard drive for the GPS, a rearview camera (yup, that was an extra), and a Verizon-powered telematics suite.

The original MSRP of this Obsidian Black machine was $275,000. The original owner paid $285,800 plus tax, which is $378,531 in today's money, excluding what is owed to the government.

After 31 bids that took the price to a whopping $975,000, the auction stopped. The seller wanted more, which meant the reserve was not met. It was weird because that bid, if accepted, could have become the highest price ever paid for such a supercar.

The beginning of a beautiful friendship?

But here's the catch: the top bidder admitted on Bring a Trailer that the coupe might have been worth more than $1 million and asked to continue the buying process in private. So, here you have it: the Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series is a seven-figure ride, even though there isn't an official auction result to show it to us.

The seller and the highest bidder agreed to discuss a potential transaction that would see this unit's price climb to $1,150,000. All they have to do is figure out what the correct number is because other auction watchers claimed this particular Black Series could even be worth $1.2 million. It's hard to disagree with them.

2014 Mercedes\-Benz SLS AMG Black Series
Photo: silverarrowcarsltd
Whatever happens between the two, the rest of us now know that the SLS AMG Black Series is a seriously pricey ride. Considering that Mercedes-Benz is very keen on putting four-pots in its current high-performance vehicles, that's unsurprising. There's no replacement for displacement, am I right?

Now, I suspect that many more people are slowly waking up to the realization that Mercedes-Benz's 6.2-liter V8 era is going to make a serious comeback. Whoever abstained from driving some of those cars... Well, they now stand to gain a lot if they chose to part ways with their vehicle.

My bet is that the SLS AMG Black Series won't just become a collector's item. It will become a must-have for well-off gearheads who like to drink their morning coffee while strolling in a huge garage. And that means only one thing—this machine will skyrocket in value as governments force automakers everywhere to downsize, hybridize, and eventually completely electrify their lineups.

It's already a modern classic. However, it's destined for greatness. Give it a few years, and we might start seeing $2 million bids for units similar to this one.

The iconic 300 SL Gullwing can start smiling. Its successor is living up to the name.

I'm ending this with a reference to Jeremy Clarkson, and I hope you'll read this in his voice: "What a MACHINE!"

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About the author: Florin Amariei
Florin Amariei profile photo

Car shows on TV and his father's Fiat Tempra may have been Florin's early influences, but nowadays he favors different things, like the power of an F-150 Raptor. He'll never be able to ignore the shape of a Ferrari though, especially a yellow one.
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