Lot 215

Monterey 2023

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'


$257,600 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.
Engine No.
US Title
  • Fully restored example from the model’s final year of production
  • One of just 830 examples built in 1971
  • Benefits from recent, six-figure, nut-and-bolt mechanical and cosmetic restoration
  • Finished in correct Tobacco Brown over Cognac upholstery with period air conditioning
  • Accompanied by color-matched ‘Pagoda’ hardtop

The encore to the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL and 300 SL was first introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show as the 230 SL. Built on a new chassis, designated W113, it struck a balance between the sporting 300 SL and touring-oriented 190 SL and was subsequently nicknamed the “Pagoda” after its distinctive concave hardtop. The final iteration on the W113 chassis, the 280 SL, debuted in 1968 with displacement of Mercedes-Benz’s familiar inline six-cylinder engine enlarged to 2.8 liters, giving a much-needed boost in power. Production lasted until 1971 but its appeal with collectors and enthusiasts persists to this day, particularly with beautifully restored examples such as the one offered here.

This 280 SL was equipped new from the factory with the coveted optional “Pagoda” hardtop, as well as single seats, power steering, a floor-shift automatic transmission, front and rear bumper guards, instruments in miles, a driver-side outside mirror, a Becker Europa radio, and paint-coat preservation. While manual examples are rarer, many collectors, including the consignor, feel that an automatic transmission is more fitting to the nature of the 280 SL. When the Southern California-based consignor acquired this 280 SL around four years ago, it was in a condition that most would be content with. Not satisfied with anything less than his exacting standards, he commissioned a full restoration. Done as a matching pair to his 3.5 Cabriolet (also in this same auction), this Pagoda is one of six restored for his collection, each with a matching 3.5 Cabriolet. The consignor’s collection is likely one of the largest of this era of Mercedes-Benz.

The results speak for themselves. This SL has been restored to an exceptional standard with a period air-conditioning system for hot summer days. The body and removable hardtop were stripped, corrected as needed, and resprayed in factory-correct Tobacco Brown. A new brown fabric soft-top was sourced and installed, and the interior was fully replaced with factory-correct Cognac leather sourced from GAHH Automotive in Los Angeles. The engine bay, undercarriage, and suspension are all finished to the same high standard as the exterior of the car with photos of the undercarriage on file. Metric Motors of Conoga Park, well known in the Los Angeles area for their specialty work with Mercedes-Benzes, rebuilt the engine. The painstaking restoration is said to have taken around two years and well into the six figures to complete.

Riding on factory steel wheels with color-matched covers, this stellar SL is now offered with its distinctive “Pagoda” hardtop and is sure to dazzle at concours events as well as from behind the wheel.