Bill Wyman, former bass player with the Rolling Stones, will send his 1966 Mercedes-Benz 250 S and 1971 Citroen Maserati SM to the block June 26 when Bonhams stages its Festival of Speed auction at Goodwood. Four days before the sale, Wyman is scheduled to release Back to Basics, his first solo recording in 33 years.
Wyman used both cars extensively while driving to and from recording studios in England and on the European continent.
“From 1966 to 1969 I used the car (the Mercedes) to travel around London and to Olympic Studios where we were recording Beggars Banquet and Let it Bleed,” Wyman said in a Bonhams news release. “When we weren’t in the studio or touring I drove it round England with my camera, taking photos.”
Wyman noted that the car was “the very first Mercedes that featured blacked-out windows. Everyone was getting black windows – Mick Jagger and Brian Jones did in their Minis. Mercedes had never done black windows though, so I had to contribute to the research on how to make them. It cost me about £350. Then of course, I got stopped all the time. The police usually just wanted to see who was in it.”
The car was restored in 1997 and those original blacked-out windows were replaced.
“From 1971 to 1982, I was living in the South of France and I frequently drove the Maserati from my new home in Vence to Paris, where we recorded the albums Some Girls, Emotional Rescue and Tattoo You,” Wyman said.
“The minute I saw the Maserati, I thought, this is it! It looked so beautiful. They showed me that incredible engine and the double headlights, and I thought, incredible! I fell in love with it. I’d drive it to Keith Richards’ place, miles away in Cap Ferrat, to record Exile on Main Street album, and I’d drive to Paris and back, an eight-hour journey each way.
“It was so easy to drive. I became great friends with Marc Chagall, Cesar, and James Baldwin over the years, and I’d drive over to their homes on the Côte d’Azur. I’d also drive to Monte Carlo to hang out with Ringo and Spiros and Philip Niarchos of the Greek shipping family.
“I drove it to Spain too. And to Marseilles, Portofino in Italy, and back to England a few times. Oh, and of course to Switzerland. I went there twice to play at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The first time was with Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells and Pinetop Perkins. Then three years later I again drove there to play with Muddy Waters again.
“I am sorry to say goodbye to these two cars, but having enjoyed them so much over the years and having kept them both in pristine condition, I feel they should now go to people who will love and take care of them as much as I have.”