The end of 2022 saw a football craze around the world as the much-anticipated World Cup kicked off in Qatar; and it feels like only yesterday that football fans were biting their nails while watching the roller-coaster final match. As megastar forward Lionel Messi led Argentina to their first World Cup in 36 years, he has finally joined his childhood idol Diego Maradona in the ranks of football immortals.
Next month, a 1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 once owned by late Maradona will be put up for sale in Paris by Bonhams Cornette de Saint-Cyr, carrying an estimate between €150,000 and 250,000 (around US$162,460 and 270,770). Now that the star player – who is also known for being a car collector – has joined French club Paris Saint-Germain, will he bid on his childhood idol's supercar in Paris as well?
Late football legend Diego Maradona
1980 Mercedes-Benz 450SLC 5.0 (Ex Diego Maradona)
Manufactured in 1980
Chassis Number: WDB10702612001525
Estimate: €150,000 - 250,000
Auction House: Bonhams Cornette de Saint-Cyr
Sale: Les Grandes Marques du Monde à Paris
Date and Time: 2 February 2023 | 2:00 pm (Central European Time)
Venue: Grand Palais Éphémère, Paris
Back in 1981, when Maradona moved to Boca Juniors in Argentina for US$4 million, an influential group of supporters gifted the top player with this signal-red Mercedes-Benz 450SLC to mark his importance to the team.
To underscore his significance, the SLC was handed to Maradona by Juan Manuel Fangio, one of the all-time great racing drivers, particularly at the wheel of M-B racing cars, who owned the only official Mercedes dealership in Argentina at the time.
Led by Maradona, Boca had an illustrious season that year, with the late legend scoring 28 goals in 40 games and carried the club to the league title. After the great success, he was transferred to Barcelona in Spain for a then record fee of US$7.6 million, embarking on his journey to the top of the soccer world.
While there have always been comparisons between Maradona and Lionel Messi, the latter's road to glory also happened to start in Barcelona, where he almost ruled Europe and taking home countless honours, including a record seven Ballon d’Or awards.
Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi are widely considered as all-time greats
Club Atlético Boca Juniors of Buenos Aires
Not only did this vehicle have an iconic first owner, but it is also one of 1,636 homologoation examples made specially for competition in the World Rally Championship, one of just 816 built that year.
Intended to perform, the model was fitted with the more powerful, all-aluminum 5.0-litre engine with 240hp, giving a top speed of 209km/h. To further trim the weight down, it came equipped with many additional features consisting of aluminum alloy panels, including bonnet and boot lid. It was finished in red with black lether interior, coupled with automatic transmission, fog lights, electric windows, air conditioning and an electric sliding steel sunroof.
Following Maradona's ownership, the SLC resided in private collections in Argentina before being imported into the USA. Having been well-maintained throughout its life and professionally restored by its vendor, the SLC is offered in excellent condition, having covered fewer than 62,000 kms from new.
Black leather trim
An all-aluminium 5-litre engine
Maradona was the first owner of the car
A 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Type 964 owned by Maradona sold for €483,000 in 2021 by Bonhams
The sports car was just one of the many exotic and beautiful motor cars to be owned by Maradona throughout his professional playing career. Another, a rare 1992 Porsche 911 Carrera 2 Type 964 'Works Turbo Look' Cabriolet, which he owned when playing for Seville FC in 1993, was sold by Bonhams at the Grand Palais in 2021 for €483,000 (around US$), nearly double its high pre-sale estimate.
While World Cup fever cools off, let's see if this football-legend-owned car will continue to score highly at the rostrum in Paris.