1967 Mercedes-Benz 250 SL 'Pagoda'
Sold For $145,600Inclusive of applicable buyer's fee.
- Rare factory ZF five-speed manual gearbox
- Restored in 2008 at a cost of over $80,000
- Mechanically sorted in 2018, including new clutch and machined flywheel
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 luxury two-seat touring convertible offered a 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 either a soft top, hardtop, or both.
This 250 SL was originally delivered to France on 25 April 1967. The car left the factory finished in dark green with a light-yellow MB-Tex interior, black carpet, black soft top, and body-color hardtop with garnish moldings. Additionally, the car featured the rare five-speed ZF manual gearbox and 1:4.08 rear axle. It is currently presented in blue with a richer, metallic paint job over an attractive light beige interior. The transmission makes this car very special, as it is believed that only 882 Pagodas were fitted with five-speed ZF gearboxes in period.
The French license plates accompanying the car are original from when it was in France. It is believed to have been originally purchased by a U.S. officer stationed there. When he returned stateside, he brought the car with him to Washington State. He later sold it to a friend who then sold it on to a collector in Fresno, California. Arriving in Fresno in 1990, the SL was used as a driver for many years before the decision was made to completely restore the 250 SL in 2008. The restoration took four years to complete at a cost of over $80,000; the work is documented in a binder of receipts that accompanies the car.
In 2015, the 250 SL was purchased by a Portland, Oregon-based collector from Cooper Classic Cars in New York. While in Portland, it was serviced by Burback Motors Inc. and stored every winter. It was purchased by the current ownership in the summer of 2018 and has since been gone through mechanically. This included receiving a new clutch, and having the flywheel machined with the work completed by Coachwerks Restorations. Additionally, the 250 SL received a complete detail, polished in a three-stage process with the paint exhibiting a mirror finish.
Proudly wearing the famed three-pointed star, this elegant 250 SL would be a perfect candidate for either the show field or spirited wind-in-the-hair weekend cruising.