19-20 January 2017
1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'
- Chassis no. 113.044.12.018945
$140,000 - $180,000
- Excellent recent restoration
- Optional factory air conditioning
- Very desirable white and blue color and trim combination
- Very collectable and usable example of Mercedes-Benz styling and engineering
The 280 SL roadsters built on the W113 chassis are without a doubt at the very sweet spot of the Mercedes-Benz year and model range, still affordable in spite of rapidly increasing values over recent years, and yet stylish, reliable, and competent to be used for pleasure on a frequent basis.
The first version of the W113, with its 2.3-liter engine, was well-received, but its performance was a bit disappointing due to its limited power. Without changing the basic body and trim design, it was replaced in 1967 with the interim 250 SL, and then in 1968 by the more powerful 280 SL 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine. The 280 SL would stay in production for three years before Mercedes-Benz replaced it with the R107-chassis 350 SL.
The elegant and understated styling of these roadsters, penned by designer and artist Paul Bracq, made the model a desirable accessory in movies like Two for the Road with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney, and a popular vehicle for young celebrities in Hollywood during the late 1960s and early 1970s. This example, with its brilliant white paint and rich blue interior and soft top, is among the most popular, and is certainly a very attractive color scheme. It looks just as classy with the white “Pagoda” hardtop installed.
Designed with both a soft top that folded neatly under a tonneau cover behind the front seats, and a detachable hardtop with an open and airy appearance, the W113 was practical and enjoyable in all weather. The “Pagoda” nickname came from the shape of the removable hardtop, with its concave upper surface created by reinforcing ridges running front to back on the outside edges, giving it the upturned look of traditional Japanese building style. In this case, with the two tops and the optional factory-installed air conditioning—unusual on any car even into the 1970s—the car can be enjoyed on long trips and in any weather.
This recently restored example displays careful attention given to every detail down to the body-color hub caps accented by chrome trim rings and impeccable interior and engine compartment. It should be a delight to own and drive, shown with pride at Mercedes-Benz Club of America and regional multi-marque concours events and driven for fun on backroads tours or fashionable boulevards.
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