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Diversification is a fundamental principle of investing. For those with a penchant for unique assets, classic collector cars may present an intriguing alternative to traditional equity investments such as the S&P 500. Let’s examine the investment merits of classic cars, using the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe as a case study, and discuss how such assets could complement a well-rounded financial portfolio:

Comparative Investment Returns: Classic Car v. S&P 500

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe: A Case in Point

Original MSRP: $9,000

Recent Auction Price: $3.4 Million

Investing in collector cars like the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing can sometimes offer returns that compete with, or even surpass, those from traditional stock market investments. For instance, an initial investment of $9,000 in this particular model would yield an astonishing $3.4 million today, slightly outpacing the same investment in the S&P 500, which would have grown to approximately $3.28 million.

Silver 1956 Mercedes Benz Gullwing Coupe at Barrett Jackson
Photo via Barrett-Jackson
Delahaye classic car at pebble beach
Photo via Woodside Credit

Strategic Benefits of Including Classic Cars in Your Portfolio

  1. Potential for Appreciation: Classic cars like the Gullwing have demonstrated notable appreciation over time. This particular model significantly outperformed a comparable investment in the S&P 500, showcasing the potential for substantial returns.
  2. Portfolio Diversification: Adding classic cars introduces a non-correlated asset class to an investment portfolio, which can help mitigate overall risk. Their value does not directly tie to stock market performance, providing potential stability during economic downturns or periods of increased volatility.
  3. Enthusiast Community and Heritage Value: Investing in classic cars also offers access to a vibrant enthusiast community and carries heritage value. These factors can enhance personal enjoyment and societal status, offering an emotional return on investment that traditional financial assets may not provide.


While the allure of owning a classic car with a storied history like the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe is undeniable, such investments should be approached with strategic planning. They are not suitable for every investor but can be a valuable addition for those looking to diversify their portfolio with non-traditional assets. Prospective investors should consider their investment horizon and exit strategy carefully, recognizing the complexities involved in the liquidity and maintenance of classic cars.

In summary, while classic cars can offer attractive investment opportunities, they should be considered as part of a broader, diversified investment strategy rather than a primary investment avenue. Unlike liquid assets like stocks, classic cars require a longer-term perspective and a clear strategy for eventual sale to realize their investment potential.

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