Lot 215

Arizona 2016

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'


$115,500 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • All services up to date; ready for enjoyable use
  • Finished in its original color combination
  • Includes desirable “Pagoda” hardtop

180 bhp, 2,778 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, independent rear suspension with low-pivot swing axles, trailing arms, and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

In 1963, Mercedes-Benz ended production of its two sporting roadsters, the expensive high-performance 300 SL and the affordable 190 SL suitable for weekend cruising. These models were replaced by the 230 SL on the new W113 roadster chassis, with tradition-breaking lines penned by designer and artist Paul Bracq. With the light and airy detachable hardtop having a concave upper surface due to the reinforcing ridges running front to back on the outside edges, the W113 was nicknamed the “Pagoda.”

The 230 SL was well received, but its performance was a bit disappointing due to the limited power of its 2.3-liter engine. Without changing the 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 early history of this 280 SL is unknown until it was procured for a Japanese client by a reputable Japanese-American broker in the late 1980s. The broker arranged for a complete frame-up, bare-metal restoration, believed to have been by well-known restorer Lothar Motschenbacher. The car was restored in the original factory-correct combination of 172G Anthracite Grey Metallic exterior, dark grey interior with grey carpets, and black hardtop with matching body color wheel covers. With the restoration complete in 1990, the vehicle was shipped to the owner in Japan and registered for road use in August 1991. Subsequently, the car was carefully preserved, periodically serviced, and driven by the current and previous owners over a distance of 33,569 kilometers.

As originally built, the car was equipped with a four-speed automatic transmission with floor-mounted selector. This example is also equipped with optional internally reinforced doors with external side-mirrors on each side. This is a particularly well-optioned example with fully functional air conditioning and the rare and desirable Becker Mexico cassette radio, amplifier, stereo speakers, and power antenna. It includes the original owner’s manual and tools.

This 1968 280 SL Pagoda is offered for sale with U.S. title and registration and all services up to date, and it would be a delightful driver for its lucky new owner.