- Discreetly upgraded with 500 SEC 250 hp, 5.0-liter V-8
- Meticulously engineered using nearly all factory components
- Features a blue canvas soft-top and color matched white hardtop
- An eminently stylish wolf in sheep’s clothing
Unveiled in 1963, the W113 ushered in a new era for Mercedes-Benz’s SL sports-roadsters. The complex and costly 300 SL was no longer viable, and the 190 SL had been criticized for prioritizing style over performance. While the W113 shared its underpinnings and fuel-injected six-cylinder engines with others in the lineup, the crisp and faultless styling of Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi established the model as an instant classic. The unique concave hardtop earned the nickname ‘Pagoda’ which stuck through the car’s entire production run. The W113 established the blueprint for nearly all future SL models, combining luxurious trimmings, impeccably sophisticated style, and engineering excellence in a motorcar meant to deliver its occupants safely, rapidly, and in unrivaled comfort and style.
At first glance, this 1967 230 SL roadster simply appears to be a sharp, restored example of a standard Pagoda. However, a closer look will reveal that this SL packs a 5.0-liter V-8 beneath the bonnet. Restored and converted by a marque specialist as a personal project, it is the culmination of more than two years of careful planning and engineering. The engine, sourced from a European-specification 500 SEC, was freshened with new valve guides, valve stem seals, and more, along with new timing gear and a full reseal and detailing of both engine and gearbox. The drivetrain fits seamlessly, and there is very little to distinguish it from a standard car thanks to the use of nearly all factory-sourced components and accessories. The body is quite attractive in its bright white livery (DB050) with matching hardtop, color-keyed wheels, and contrasting blue canvas soft top. The car rides on factory 14-inch steel wheels with the correct early-style dog-dish hub caps with chrome trim rings, though the slightly larger-than-standard 195/75 R14 Michelin radial tires provide a subtle hint that this SL may be more than meets the eye.
The two-passenger cabin remains largely as per original and was recently restored using appropriate upholstery materials and square weave carpet. Appointments include Frigiking air conditioning with modern internals, a Becker AM/FM stereo, and original dials and switchgear. Even while sitting behind the wheel, there is little that sets it apart from a restored original example.
Once underway, however, the powerful V-8 transforms the SL’s relaxed character. The 250 horsepower V-8 delivers an additional 80-hp over the stock powerplant, giving the lightweight 230 SL serious legs to hang with virtually any other sportscar of the era, providing dramatic thrust and a sonorous burble under hard acceleration. Yet, the SL remains remarkably civilized, flexible, and sacrifices none of the refinement expected from a Mercedes-Benz of the period. It is a thrilling drive, and quite possibly the ultimate expression of the iconic W113 Pagoda.