Wayne Newton’s Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous - story fullscreen Fullscreen

Wayne Newton’s Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous

This Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster is proof that celebrities have more money than taste

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They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but there are boundaries to what you should and you shouldn’t be allowed to do to a car. This is especially true if we are talking about a car like the 1981 Mercedes-Benz 380SL. However, the desire for exclusivity spares no one, and this particular car, based on the R107 Mercedes Benz, is the perfect example.

Wayne Newton's Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous
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Do you hate it or love it?
Swipe up for more details on this unusual Benz

This strange-looking Benz, owned by singer Wayne Newton, has been thoroughly revised by Long Island coachbuilder Niko-Michael Coachworks. The coachbuilder is well-known by clients for its exclusivity and high levels of craftsmanship. Despite the controversial vision, we have to accept it takes serious ba**s to gut a perfectly nice Mercedes 380SL, in order to make something like this.

Wayne Newton's Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous
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I bet you’ve never seen anything like this before

The car’s design has been streamlined, to say the least. The profile consists of clear surfaces and looks to be inspired by speed boats. At the same time, certain details like the outboard spare wheel clearly show inspiration from the 1950s cars. The car is still very much a Mercedes 380SL, you just have to look a bit closer…way closer.

Wayne Newton's Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous
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The 16-inch wheels have also benefited from the golden finish

The car’s exterior is finished in black and features contrasting elements, with a golden finish. This includes the large Mercedes badge at the front, as well as the 16-inch BBS cross-lace wheels.

One of the most distinctive features (besides the overall aesthetics) is the bespoke manual retractable top, which can be stowed away completely, making for a more elegant side profile.
Wayne Newton's Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous
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This is due to the new convertible top design, which takes up more space

The convertible top is actually the reason why the spare wheel has been relocated to the ‘boat tail” trunk lid, since cargo space has been reduced. In addition, the headlights have been moved inboard and the front fenders feature additional cooling vents, for improved engine cooling. The interior seems to have remained unchanged from the original and features the original black leather and wooden inserts. Moreover, unlike the upcoming Mercedes SL, the interior is not styled after Jar Jar Binks.

Wayne Newton's Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous
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The engine is the original 3.8-liter, fuel-injected, V-8 that puts out 204 hp

Powering this unique Benz is a 3.8-liter normally-aspirated V-8 engine, with fuel injection. The unit is mated to a four-speed automatic and makes 204 horsepower. The car is practically new since it has just under 2,000 miles on the clock. The car has been well-taken care of, since it has been on a long display at Wayne Newton’s museum, at Casa de Shenandoah, where it has been professionally looked after.

Wayne Newton's Coachbuilt 1981 Mercedes 380SL Roadster Looks Hideous
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As opposed to the spare wheel, which is mounted on top of the deck lid

The 1981 Mercedes 380SL got its bespoke body sometime in the 1990s, after being acquired by the legendary singer. Regardless of what you or I think of the way it looks, this truly is a one-off special, as well as a testimony to artisan Niko Sokol’s design and crafting skills. According to Barret Jackson, the car was last sold for $84,700, but you can still see it under Lot 703 on the website.

Source: Barrett-Jackson

Dim Angelov
Dim Angelov
Born in 1992, I come from a family of motoring enthusiasts. My passion for cars was awoken at the age of six, when I saw a Lamborghini Diablo SV in a magazine. After high school I earned a master’s degree in marketing and a Master of Arts in Media and Communications. Over the years, I’ve practiced and become skilled in precision driving and to date have test driven more than 250 cars across the globe. Over the years, I’ve picked up basic mechanical knowledge and have even taken part in the restoration of a 1964 Jaguar E-Type and an Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint. Lately, I’ve taken a fancy to automotive photography, and while modern cars are my primary passion, I also have a love for Asian Martial Arts, swimming, war history, craft beer, historical weapons, and car restoration. In time, I plan my own classic car restoration and hope to earn my racing certificate, after which I expect to establish my own racing team.  Read full bio
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