The K in the Mercedes 500K stood for kompressor, or supercharged, indicting that the model was not to be trifled with. Today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Heritage replica is neither a Mercedes, nor supercharged, but will that mean its price isn’t worthy of a special K?
While this isn’t Wheel… Of… Fortune…! we did seek yesterday to see just exactly what a letter might be worth. That letter was R and the 1994 Acura Integra that carried it was a couple of years older than ones where it was slapped on at the factory. That fact made its price a dubious goal and 78% of you sent that homage home with a Crack Pipe loss.
Okay, so that Acura was dressed up to look like something else - a replica as it were. Today however, in complete contrast, we have… oh for heaven’s sake.
This car is a 1934 Mercedes 500K. Well, no not really, but it’s intended to be a close enough copy to fool the impecunious and make its owner feel like they are the height of pre-war German civility.
The real 500K is a legendary ride, and just so you understand that innovation and accommodation isn’t just something Mercedes Benz decided recently to adopt, look at how that pre-war car was equipped.
It had a supercharged five-litre straight eight engine, an available five-speed manual gearbox, hydraulic brakes, and a 12-volt electrical system made necessary by its electric wipers, door locks and lighting. This was all offered in the middle of the 1930s, and was wrapped in what is arguably some seriously handsome and timeless bodywork.
This 1991 Heritage Motors 500K also has a five-litre mill - an SBC according to the ad - and 12 volt electrics, making it almost exactly the same! The bodywork is also a fairly accurate rendition of the original, although a number of liberties - flush door handles and VW Beetle turn signals - do detract from the illusion.
One of the funniest aspects of the car is the inverted three-pointed star on the radiator cap. That’s intended to skirt copyright infringements but would lead to people asking you what the Y stands for. Is that a Yugo?
The 500K is, like the Shelby Cobra and Porsche Speedster, one of the kit car industry’s most popular way-back machines, and there once were a ton of companies cranking them out. This one was built by Heritage Motors, Inc., a Miami Florida company that offered the cars as $15K kits, or, as in the car’s apparent case, as a $49,000 turn-key.
The frame on the Heritage 500Ks is purpose-built while most of the running gear and suspension bits were sourced from the Chevy Camaro. This one has but 16,000 sun-only miles and sports an automatic transmission, A/C, and power windows and locks. Dayton wires set off the whitewalls, and overall the car looks to be in fine shape both inside and out.
Or, at least it did back in 2008. That is when some of the pictures used in the ad are time-stamped. Was that from a previous seller and the current owner is too lazy to walk outside and grab some new beauty shots? Who knows.
What we do know is that the car - which is rocking collector plates - comes with a $25,000 asking price. That’s half what it went for when new, and as Heritage is out of business, there won’t be any additional new ones either.
What’s your take on this 500K replica and its $25,000 price? Is that a deal to turn back the clock? Or, is this repli-car only worth Monopoly Money?
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