Lot 148

Arizona 2023

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'


$140,000 USD | Sold

United States | Phoenix, Arizona



Chassis No.
US Title
  • A wonderfully presented, early production ‘Pagoda’
  • Desirably fitted with four-speed manual transmission, power steering, and Kühlmeister air conditioning system
  • Finished in its factory-correct color combination of Silver Grey Metallic (DB 180) over blue vinyl upholstery (135), with blue carpets and dark blue fabric top (744)
  • Benefits from a previous restoration and over $50,000 of recent mechanical servicing
Please note that this vehicle is titled as a 1969.

The elegant styling and undeniable appeal of the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL “Pagoda” made the German two-seater popular at the time of its first availability in the 1960s, and its long-lasting charm has sustained demand as a coveted collector car since then. First introduced in 1963 as the 230 SL, the new-generation W113 Mercedes-Benz roadster was designed by Paul Bracq, with the model earning its “Pagoda” nickname thanks to the distinctive concave removeable hardtop that owners could equip for all-weather driving. The 280 SL represents the last iteration of the beloved W113 model, most noticeably enhanced with a larger displacement 2.8-liter version of the inline six-cylinder engine along with other refinements over its predecessors.

In keeping with the car’s evolution from a relatively sporty roadster into a more luxurious grand tourer, an increasing number of American 280 SL buyers paired this engine with an automatic transmission. Consequently, the four-speed manual transmission, as fitted on this example, is particularly appreciated today for the additional degree of driving engagement it offers.

This US-market 280 SL is an early production specimen completed in January 1968, and it benefits from a sympathetic, nicely patinaed restoration completed some time ago under previous ownership. An accompanying copy of its factory data card confirms that it is still presented today in its factory-correct color combination of Silver Grey Metallic (DB 180) over blue vinyl upholstery, matching square-weave blue carpeting, and a dark blue fabric soft top.

In comparison to their European brethren, these early US-market examples received sealed-beam headlamps, a lower rear axle ratio, headrests, side reflectors, and hazard lights—all of which remain correctly presented on this fine specimen. This four-speed 280 SL’s suite of factory equipment has been further enriched by the fitment of a correct-type Kühlmeister air conditioning system beneath the dashboard. While the car’s early history in unknown at this time, it was certainly a resident of New Mexico from 2009 until 2021, immediately prior to the consignor’s ownership.

In the past twelve months, this eminent 280 SL has been treated with over $50,000 of mechanical recommissioning by a marque specialist in Pompano Beach, Florida. Work orders on file detail a comprehensive agenda which included a full rebuild and restoration (painting/anodizing of all requisite parts back to factory-spec) of its six-cylinder engine, as well as significant attention paid to the car’s suspension, transmission, and brake assemblies.

A timeless classic that has only become more desirable as years have passed, this attractive 280 SL is a delightful and approachable example of this storied model.