What guarantee is there that there will be reliable modern internals? Just because this particular example seems to be done well, What's to stop someone from making cheap knockoffs? "Motorist dies in 300 SL fire" Do you really think a reporter is going to really dig deep to find out if the car was original or a replica?
Ok there are no guarantees, but do you think that people didn't die in the original 300 SLs? The worst of the damage has been done already.
What I'm trying to say with that is that the older the car the lesser the impression of responsability is on the company that made it. There are no classic cars being recalled to fix some of their design faults period.
With modern cars you have a period of warranty between 3 and 5 years in which the company is responsible for mechanical and electrical failures after that no one gives a damn unless it is a serious design fault, and that only happens to 10-15 year old cars tops.
This argument of image protection doesn't really stand up. That doesn't mean that Mercedes doesn't think how you do, but it's bullshit reasoning anyway.
Yes, older cars have their old and deteriorating systems. But anyone would can afford to buy a 300 SL probably doesn't drive it and if they do probably knows every mechanical issue with their particular car. But then consider this from a collectors point of view. Let's say I want an original 300 SL for sentimental reasons. Now I would have to wade through all of these replicas. And if it's difficult to tell between an original and a replica then yes that does degrade the value. Not just the price tag but the value of the nameplate.
You would have to wade through replicas only if they were made in very high numbers, rarely the case, and the owners were dihonest and didn't put REPLICA in the title of the add or whatever. Otherwise I don't see a problem here. Look for a 1950s car, phone the guy ask the guy all the important questions and go see the car yourself, have an expert see it etc. You don't buy expensive cars without checking them through.
I would agree with you if replicas were 100% accurate to the original, but when only the body looks the same and it isn't made out of metal then I can't. Plus what is this about value, if you want to buy the original car for sentimental reasons and have a lot of money then the cost doesn't matter. If you want to buy the original car for sentimental reasons and don't have a lot of money then a cheaper replica would be enough.
Lets look at the Shelby Cobra market:
-replicas are worth $50 000 and above
-originals are worth around $2 000 000
The cobra is one the most successful replica car being sold yet the originals are still worth a lot of money. The same goes with the Lotus 7 and Porsche 356. Mercedes is being stupid for not allowing replicas of its old cars. They could allow licensing and make some money from it or sell parts for the replicas.