The silver Mercedes-Benz AMG C63 driven by Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton is now a celebrity in its own right. The super sedan was sold on Wednesday for $157,000 -- $7000 more than its book price -- to a leading but unnamed Mercedes-Benz dealer.
The hot luxury V8 achieved icon status when the British Formula 1 driver was nabbed by police last week doing a burnout in St Kilda near the Albert Park race track.
When news got out that Mercedes-Benz Australia was selling the car, dealers and well-heeled car enthusiasts jammed the company's switchboard. The Hamilton car's notoriety has also peaked buyer interest in the C63 with dealers reporting strong interest.
Mercedes-Benz Australia spokesman, David McCarthy, says an auction through its own dealers was the preferred option to avoid speculators. He says there was a lot of interest. "That's hardly surprising," he says. "I suppose everyone likes a celebrity. "Cars with a famous owner have always attracted big money."
However, Hamilton's AMG C63 was a loaner from Mercedes-Benz Australia, one of 27 Mercedes vehicles given to drivers and teams during the Australian Grand Prix. McCarthy said the final sale price would not be revealed.
Any extra cash made from the sale beyond the car's retail price of $150,000 would go to the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, which is the official charity of the Grand Prix. "We've supported the Alannah and Madeline Foundation previously and feel it is a good choice to benefit from any excess sale proceeds," he says. "We honestly don't wish to profit from this, but if a charity can, well that's good."
The massively powerful luxury sedan has only travelled about 5000km, of which Hamilton is said to have contributed about 100km during his stay in Melbourne. "At the end of the day the only fair way to sell the car was at auction," McCarthy says.
Despite the car's notoriety, McCarthy says it was sold without a plaque saying who had driven it. "The vehicle's provenance is well established," he says. However, the car still wears a sticker on the windscreen allowing priority access to Albert Park.