One owner from new 1999 Mercedes-Benz ML430 Chassis no. WDC1631721A118273
It wasn't until 25 years after Range Rover invented the luxury SUV that other marques realized that the British firm might just be on to something. Knowing a good thing when they finally noticed it under their noses, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Volvo, Audi et al made a frantic leap for the bandwagon but all were beaten to market by the Mercedes M-Class.
It arrived as a single model, the ML320, towards the end of 1997. Using a traditional off-road ladder frame construction, it also featured a comprehensive '4ETS' four-wheel drive set-up with front, centre and rear differentials although they were controlled electrically. Low range gearing was also included, activated by a switch on the dash.
Other features were more modern. The M-Class used independent suspension all round and Mercedes worked hard on safety systems, to the extent that the M-Class was the first SUV to feature stability control and came with both front and side airbags.
In 1999 Mercedes added a second model to the range. The main attraction of the ML430 was, of course, its powerplant. The 4.3-litre V8 developed 268bhp and 287lb ft of torque and was related to the AMG unit in the C43 super saloon. It sounded fantastic and enabled the 2,090kg off-roader to do 0-60mph in 7.9sec. The five-speed automatic gearbox kicked down readily, allowing the ML430 to demonstrate its surging acceleration. The chassis displays good poise and there's plenty of grip on offer allowing corners to be tackled smoothly.
Built in the first year of V8 production, this particular ML430 has proved its worth, covering 176,713km since Peter Baumberger first took delivery. Always properly maintained and in good condition throughout, it features dark green bodywork with a tan leather interior. Equipment includes a Mercedes-Benz radio cassette, electric sunroof and extra wood trim. It served as Peter's preferred transport in Gstaad and has been a familiar sight on many an historic event as back-up. It looks forward to many more.
Reviewing the ML in November 1999, America's Motor Trend magazine summed it up as follows: "To say we like the M-Class is to understate our position."
The Baumberger Collection ML430 is offered with Swiss registration (cancelled).
Additional items included with this lot: jack, first aid kit, fire extinguisher & a protective cover for a damaged tyre