Lot Number

1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'

Sold For $57,750

Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.

RM | Sotheby's - ARIZONA 19 - 20 JANUARY 2017 - Offered from a Private Collection

Chassis No.
  • Offered from a private collection
  • Ultimate version of the W113 SL
  • Automatic transmission and air conditioning
  • Showing just over 70,000 miles
Please note that this lot is titled as a 1970.

180 bhp, 2,778 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front coil-spring suspension, independent rear single-point swing-axle coil-spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.4 in.

Although it filled a niche at its 1955 introduction, the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL had become outmoded and underwhelming by the early 1960s. Development was begun on a six-cylinder successor, which became the W113 sports line, spun off the S-Class W112 300-series sedans, coupes, and convertibles.

Under the auspices of Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger, lead designers Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi created a compact sportster with a distinctive, patented, slightly concave hardtop that inspired the “Pagoda” nickname. The engine was a 2,308-cubic centimeter inline overhead-cam six with multi-port fuel injection, and both four-speed manual and automatic transmissions were available. Designated 230 SL, for its displacement, production began in June 1963.

The 1967 Geneva Motor Show heralded the 230 SL’s successor, the 2,496-cubic centimeter 250 SL. Production had begun in December of 1966, and while the new model retained the strong points of its predecessor, it made new strides in drivability with the larger engine and rear disc brakes. A larger fuel tank gave greater cruising range.

The final iteration of the W-113 arrived in December 1967. The 280 SL had an engine enlarged to 2,778 cubic centimeters. Over the years the model had evolved from a sports car to a grand tourer, frequently equipped with the optional automatic transmission and air conditioning, especially in the United States market. Because the larger bore of the engine resulted in pair-cast cylinders without an intermediate water jacket, an oil cooler was added, mounted vertically beside the radiator. Each engine was bench-tested for two hours, ensuring that the full 180 horsepower was available.

This 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL is nicely finished in Fire Red, with a tan leather interior. Original, but for one repaint, it shows slightly more than 70,000 miles and is equipped with automatic transmission, radio, air conditioning, and narrow whitewall tires. The paint and brightwork present well, and the leather interior and carpets show no appreciable wear. The engine compartment shows some use but is otherwise serviceable and functional.

The final iteration of the W113 Mercedes, the 280 SL remained in production through 1971, by which time nearly 49,000, of all types, had been produced. This car is a nice example of the ultimate “Pagoda,” the sports car that had become a grand tourer.

Suggested lots

29 - 30 March 2019

Fort Lauderdale

Greater Fort Lauderdale/Broward County Convention Center, Fort Lauderdale, Florida


11 - 12 April 2019


Messe Essen, Essen, Germany