Amelia Island | Lot 122

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'

$203,500 USD | Sold

United States | Amelia Island, Florida

12 March 2016

Chassis No.
Engine No.
  • Impeccable photo-documented restoration by factory-trained German technicians
  • Rare four-speed manual transmission
  • Attractive color combination
  • Equipped with desirable Becker Grand Prix radio and European headlamps

180 bhp, 2,778 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, four-speed manual transmission, independent front coil-spring suspension, independent rear single-point swing-axle coil-spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

Addendum: Please note that contrary to the specifications listed in the printed catalogue, this car is equipped with a four-speed manual transmission.

In 1963, Mercedes-Benz ended production of its two sporting roadsters, the expensive high-performance 300 SL and the affordable 190 SL suitable for weekend cruising. The 230 SL on the new W113 roadster chassis that replaced them was an attractive compromise of performance and affordability. With its tradition-breaking lines penned by designer and artist Paul Bracq, the car was an obvious choice for films like Two for the Road with Audrey Hepburn and Albert Finney. The light and airy detachable hardtop, with its concave roof, was the source of the “Pagoda” nickname for the W113 roadsters.

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 250 SL and then in 1968 by the more powerful 2.8-liter inline six-cylinder engine. The 280 SL would stay in production for three years before it was replaced by the R107-chassis 350 SL.

This Pagoda Roadster has just undergone a complete nut-and-bolt restoration to impeccable standards by factory-trained technicians in Duren, Germany. After all components and body panels were removed, the unit-body and panels were stripped of paint and dipped in a KTL anti-corrosion solution for long-lasting protection, as well as to provide the foundation for the astonishing final paintwork this car received. The car is painted an attractive Mercedes-Benz Medium Blue, with an off-white hardtop and matching off-white wheel covers.

With matching-numbers, as per a copy of its factory data card, the engine and four-speed manual transmission, rarely seen in the United States, were completely disassembled and rebuilt, as was the fuel injection system, using Mercedes-Benz hoses, belts, seals and internal components. Cosmetically, the engine bay is finished to the highest quality, with all proper plating, hardware, and factory lines. Likewise, the trunk is presented to the highest quality. All mechanical components were removed from the chassis and disassembled. Where replacements were required, only genuine Mercedes-Benz parts were used. All the chrome and trim, including the European-specification headlamps, was either replaced or restored. The work also included installation of a completely new interior with cream leather upholstery, new door cards and wood trim pieces, and contrasting dark blue carpeting. An original Becker Grand Prix radio is fitted, and a full set of tools is included.

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 and attractive.

Suggested lots