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1985 MERCEDES-BENZ 500 SEL – EX-SIR PAUL MCCARTNEY

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This meticulously restored Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL Lorinser was first owned by former Beatle Sir Paul McCartney and has covered minimal mileage since the no-expense-spared work. The car’s 5.0-litre V8 engine produces around 241bhp, and is driven through a four-speed automatic gearbox. The odometer shows 750 miles since the car was restored in 2010, but the MOT history shows it had covered around 101,000 miles prior to that.

This car was first registered on 14 June 1985, having been purchased by its first owner, Sir Paul McCartney, via his MPL Communications holding company. According to Mercedes Enthusiast magazine, the car was sold to a Saudi prince in 1989 and remained in south-east England. It has been in the hands of its current keeper for 12 years.

As a Lorinser model, this 500 SEL benefits from the Lorinser sports bodykit, including a model-specific bonnet and boot lid. It also has lowered suspension and the ‘monoblock’ style alloy wheels, which were refurbished as part of the restoration work. With so few miles on the clock since restoration, the Nautical Blue paintwork is in excellent condition, with only a few minor blemishes such as touched-in stone chips on the lower bumper.

As the car had been severely neglected when the owner acquired it in 2008, it required extensive repairs, and to that end a well-preserved donor car was sourced to provide new doors, bonnet, boot lid and other parts. Tony Gaston of JT Classic Services also spent considerable time sourcing genuine Lorinser parts, as well as customising the smoothed bonnet and grille join with lead – exactly how Lorinser had done the work in the 1980s. Welding work was carried out on the chassis rails, floors and sills, but the original engine required no more than stripping down and cleaning to return it to good working order.

The interior is almost all original, with the restoration only involving a re-rimming of the centre panels – otherwise the upholstery was in good order, needing only some cosmetic rejuvenation. The leather remains in great shape, as do the wood veneers on the dashboard, and the seller reports all the switchgear works as it should. Many of the features are original, but a few small changes have been made. Sir Paul McCartney reportedly specified the car with speakers in the rear parcel shelf, but those were replaced during restoration as the current owner requested a discreetly installed modern system with smaller speakers, and an amplifier. A reversing camera was also fitted under the rear bumper.

After the restoration was complete in 2010, this 500 SEL Lorinser was driven sparingly over the next year, before being stored securely off the road until 2020. It has just been through a minor recommissioning service to ensure it is still in excellent mechanical order, and is ready to enjoy.

The most recent MOT test took place on July 7, 2020, at 693 miles, which resulted in a clean pass. This was the car’s first MOT since 2011, when it had 669 miles on the odometer. The Bridgestone tyres are new, having just been fitted following its period in storage.

The car comes with a handbook, replacement service book and other documents, including old tax discs. The seller has also included copies of the original DVLA registration papers showing McCartney as the first owner through MPL Communications, as well as restoration documentation, and the November 2010 Mercedes Enthusiast magazine article featuring the car.

This Mercedes-Benz 500 SEL Lorinser is a modern classic in its own right, and the restoration work alone is remarkable. However, this particular car’s indelible link to a titan of the music industry makes it extra special, adding an instant talking point to an already fascinating vehicle. In such superb condition and boasting unbeatable provenance, this would make a fine car to exhibit at national and international shows, but it is also begging to be driven and enjoyed on the open road.

All UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for damage or theft, and has no finance owing.

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