Monterey | Lot 174

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'

$100,800 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California

24 August 2018

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Excellent, carefully maintained example of the highly desirable 280 SL
  • All-original save for a repaint in its original color in 2012
  • Finished in a two-tone combination of dark red with a black hardtop and soft top
  • Factory-optional Becker Europa radio and Frigiking air conditioning
  • Extensive recent servicing at Mercedes-Benz Classic Center
  • Includes original books, keys, and tool kit

In 1963, Mercedes-Benz introduced the 230 SL on the new W113 roadster chassis to replace the expensive 300 SL and affordable 190 SL of the 1950s. It was an attractive compromise of performance and affordability, penned by designer and artist Paul Bracq, with tradition-breaking straight fender lines. The light and airy detachable hardtop with its concave upper surface, created by reinforcing ridges running front to back on the outside edges, was the source of the “Pagoda” nickname.

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 2.5-liter 250 SL, and then in 1968 by the 280 SL with its more powerful 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.

According to the records that accompany this 280 SL, it was delivered to Dr. William Hombach, a retired Air Force flight surgeon living in Billings, Montana, 29 September 1971. Through the 25 years he owned the car, driving it an average of 2,000 miles a year, Dr. Hombach did every scheduled service documented by the stamps in his warranty and service record book.

After retiring, Dr. Hombach sold the car in 1997 to Mike Conners, a collector living in St. Paul, Minnesota. Conners drove the car another 9,000 miles before having the matching-numbers engine completely rebuilt for $12,000, and then added another 10,000 miles. Conners sold the car in 2012 to a collector in Southern California, who had it repainted in the original dark shade of red (DB576) with a black (DB040) hardtop, then displayed it in his collection, before selling it in 2013, with the odometer still showing fewer than 70,000 miles.

The present owner, living in Northern California, used the car sparingly, and recently treated it to a complete mechanical and cosmetic servicing at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California, before offering it in exceptional condition for sale with 70,574 original miles.

Overall, this 280 SL is identical in condition and appearance to the way it would have been presented in the showroom when new, and the color combination is among the most desirable for this model. When it is inspected carefully, details such as the shape of the fender seams at the crest of the headlights, the original spot welds in the engine compartment, and the condition of the trunk floor, attest to the pristine condition of the body itself. Included are also the original books, keys, and factory tool kit.

This 1970 280 SL is a show-quality example of the model series. With a documented line of only four owners, each of whom has appreciated the car and treated it to the care necessary to maintain it in excellent original condition. It is offered now in exceptional condition for a new owner’s classic car touring and regional car show enjoyment.

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