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1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'

Offered Without Reserve

RM | Sotheby's - THE ELKHART COLLECTION 23 - 24 OCTOBER 2020


Chassis No.
Engine No.
113.044.10.008316
130.983.10.003237
  • European-delivery model with more attractive headlights
  • Retains its original engine with a factory four-speed manual transmission
  • Features blue soft top and removable ‘Pagoda’ hardtop
  • Well-presented cosmetic restoration

In 1963 Mercedes-Benz introduced the 230 SL on the new W113 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 roof, created by reinforcing ridges running front to back on the outside edges, was the source of the ‘Pagoda’ nickname.

The 230 SL 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 W113-chassis 280 SL would stay in production for three years before Mercedes-Benz replaced it with the R107-chassis SLs.

According to a previous owner, this European-delivery 280 SL was bought by a US serviceman in the late 1970s and was imported to the United States upon his return in the early 1980s. It was eventually inherited by one of that gentleman’s family members, who drove it occasionally for many years. It was refinished in the original color, Papyrus White, about five years ago, and acquired for the current collection in 2017.

In addition to its original engine and the desirable four-speed transmission, the car also retains the sought-after one-piece European headlamps, front fender turn-signal reflectors, and less the US-mandated bumper guards. The dark blue soft top remains in good condition, and the interior was recently replaced by a marque specialist in the original color; the dashboard is original and in good order aside from some light separation of the woodwork. The factory steel wheels with their color-matched hubcaps are still in fine shape. In addition, the trunk contains the original full-size spare.

In sum, this is an ideal 280 SL to drive and enjoy.


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