Portola Hotel & Spa
17 - 18 August 2012
Lot 103

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster


$101,750 USD | Sold

United States | Monterey, California



Chassis No.

180 hp, 2,778 cc OHC Bosch fuel-injected six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, unequal A-arms, independent rear suspension with low-pivot swing axles, trailing arms and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase 94.5"

• Numbers-matching, European-spec 280SL

• Desirable four-speed manual transmission

• Accompanied by 25 years of hand-written logbooks from long-term owner

• $130,000 restoration by Mercedes-Benz legend Siegfried Linke

The 1963 Mercedes-Benz 230SL two-seater represented a huge improvement over the outgoing 190SL roadster. Its 150 hp, six-cylinder engine replaced the 190’s four-cylinder, and it was gradually increased in size to the most desirable 180 hp, 2.8-liter engine in 1968. The bulbous bodywork of the 190 was replaced by Paul Bracque’s crisp, angular design, with its unusual concave hardtop roof that led to the sobriquet “Pagoda Top,” and the model was produced until 1971.

The car on offer has just received a $130,000 rotisserie restoration by Mercedes-Benz expert Siegfried Linke, well-known as a Pebble Beach judge. It has the preferred four-speed manual transmission, instead of the more common automatic, and the very rare option of a limited slip differential, which was fitted to only one percent of production. The roadster is finished in silver Glasurite paint with beautifully installed red leather interior, and most unusually, was never fitted with a radio. The car has both tops, and the new soft top is the correct German-made canvas article.

Sold new in Geneva, Switzerland, this roadster has had just three owners, the second of whom was an American working in Switzerland. He kept a painstaking record in hand-written logbooks that cover 25 years of the car’s history, and he brought the car back to the U.S. when he retired. This car must be considered the purest form of the best version of Mercedes-Benz’s last completely hand-made car. With its cowled headlights and lack of U.S. add-on clearance lights, it is exactly as designer Paul Braque envisioned it and awaits only an appreciative owner who would have bought it new in a heartbeat.