A 1980 Mercedes 450 SEL, once owned by U2 frontman Bono is being auctioned this week by Car & Classic, Europe’s number one classic and specialised vehicle website*. Bought to celebrate the success of U2’s first album Boy, the rock legend put his own unique improvements into the vehicle, most notably a monstrous sound system that was so powerful, he always kept a fire extinguisher in the car just in case.
Symbolising the decadence of the rock stars of the period, the interior is retrimmed in a cow hide pattern throughout, including the parcel shelf and door trims. The Alpine sound system, fitted by Bono at a cost of £12,000, £47,000 in today’s money, consists of several amps and multiple speakers fitted throughout the interior. Continuing the colourful history of the car, it was auctioned by Bono in 2000 and purchased by Pepsi, raising money for Ethiopian aid projects. The music connections didn’t end there; Boyzone’s Keith Duffy later offered the car via another charity auction in 2003.
The grey exterior paint compliments the shape of the car and is generally sound and benefits from four new tyres with correct steel wheel hubcaps. Having recently been serviced and fitted with a new starter motor and battery, the 450 SEL has just over 163,000 miles clocked on the odometer. Due to its age, the car will need a few updates, including a new exhaust, as well has having some corrosion on the underside of the car and small spots on the edges of the bonnet to be attended to. However, at 41 years old that is to be expected, especially after the colourful life it has led.
“The Mercedes-Benz S-Class is known for its luxurious aesthetics and with this particular car it keeps elements of that, but if you really want to catch the eye of everyone you drive past with its custom interior and sound system, this is the car for you. And if that doesn’t do it, the sub-atomic sound system installed by the one and only Bono will most definitely make heads turn. This isn’t just your regular classic Mercedes from the Eighties, this is a piece of modern rock music history,” said Chris Pollitt, head of editorial at Car & Classic.
The online only auction for this Mercedes-Benz 450 SEL starts on 18th July and will last seven days, ending on the 25th of July at 5pm BST.