Monterey | Lot 268
1968 Mercedes-Benz 250 SL 'Pagoda'
$126,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
25 August 2018
- Rare and desirable manual transmission
- Retains its original engine
- Restored by marque experts
- Exhibited by Mercedes-Benz at Techno-Classica Essen 2015
- A timeless and elegant design
Mercedes-Benz had a tough act to follow after it phased out its immortal tube-framed 300 SL in 1963. A new, unit-body model, designated the W113, appeared as the 230 SL in 1964 and continued through 1971 with the larger-engined 250 SL and 280 SL. This classic Paul Bracq-penned two-seat luxury touring convertible offered a more modern and angular look, often accentuated with a tall, airy “Pagoda” hardtop that could be removed in fair weather. The 250 SL was both expensive and rare, with only 5,196 sold between 1966 and 1968.
Mercedes-Benz was justifiably proud of this modern new car, declaring in period advertising that its road manners were superior to that of the 300 SL. “The 250 SL stands a mere 4 ft., 4 in. high, yet overall width is almost six feet. Its track is so wide-stanced that those chubby 14-in. radial-ply tires seem to bulge out from the body sides to straddle the pavement.” After discussing the fully independent suspension with its low-pivot rear swing axle borrowed from the 300 SLR, the ad goes on to declare that “the 250 SL is only stretched to its peak when its speedometer needle nudged 124 mph.” The 250 SL was offered with just a soft top, just a hardtop, or with both.
Offered here is a wonderful example of the 250 SL, built in late October 1967 and one of the last in the series before it was superseded by the new V8-powered 350 SL. This U.S.-specification (code 491) convertible was originally finished in White (050) over Cognac MB-Tex (120) and equipped with the rare and very desirable four-speed manual transmission that matches well with the smooth fuel-injected SOHC inline six. It was also optioned with the handsome matching white hardtop, canvas convertible top, and a Becker Europa radio. An endearing feature is the pair of single-piece “Cathedral-style” Bosch headlamps that gracefully cap the leading edge of the front fenders. The 250 SL offered an improved seat belt design, a collapsible steering column with padded center hub, “the world’s best” power-assisted steering, and improved disc brakes at all four corners. The fully-instrumented dashboard is thickly padded, including a knee bolster at its lower edge.
This fine automobile enjoyed a comprehensive restoration by European marque experts, among which were several former factory employees. After work was completed in 2014, the car appeared the following spring as part of the Mercedes-Benz display at Techno-Classica, the highly acclaimed automotive exhibition in Essen, Germany. During the restoration, the body was refinished in attractive Graphite Grey (190) and its top and wheel covers in contrasting Grey-White (158), and the interior was renewed in its original-style MB-Tex leatherette upholstery. The wheels were also shod with whitewall tires, as per originally specified. The 250 SL also retains its original factory hardtop, spare wheel, jack, tool kit, and original manuals in their owner’s pouch.
Proudly wearing the famed three-pointed star, this elegant 250 SL would be a perfect candidate for concours d’elegance or spirited weekend cruising.