It has been a little while since I’ve looked at a Mercedes-Benz Pagoda, so now is a good a time as any to jump back in and check one of these out. Normally, I feature the top of the range 280SL because those are usually in the nicest condition, are optioned the fullest and are painted in the coolest colors. Today, I actually want to look at the one of the early Pagodas in the 230SL. This 1966 up for sale in Los Angeles is an extremely low mileage example with just a little over 19,000 and from the looks of it, has been maintained rather well.
Yesterday I was doing my daily rounds searching for interesting cars and scrolled upon a 1965 Pagoda. I looked at the price and saw $19,995 (more on this later) and my eyes got really big. The going rate for a decent Pagoda is about $50,000, so my finger was creeping awfully close to the ”Buy It Now” button. Everything looked good, no major body damage, the interior was nice despite an aftermarket CD and air conditioning system. But that all could be sorted out easy enough. It had a clean title and only a little over 39,000 miles. Maybe I did just stumble across a Pagoda from someone who still prices cars from a book they keep in the top drawer of their desk. Everything looked like I was going to Pagoda owner until I saw what was under the hood.
If the 911 and M3 are the recent market darlings, the dark horse in the European market has continued to be the W113 Mercedes-Benz SL. Dubbed the “Pagoda” in reference to its recessed roof, the 230, 250 and 280 aren’t great sports cars and aren’t even particularly light; however, they do perfectly represent the ethos of the “SL”. A personal luxury roadster, they’ve got muscular yet sensuous looks with flowing fenders and a subtle bulge in the hood. The wide and low stance with simple single bar grill and elongated headlights echoed the 300SL in all the right ways. With just the right amount of chrome, color-keyed (or alternating) wheel covers and beautiful fit and finish, these middle generation SLs have steadily increased in value over the past few decades.
A few weeks ago I wrote up an absolutely beautiful and pristine 1963 Mercedes-Benz 220Se, a car that reached towards the high end of the market for the big coupes but remains a heck of a deal in the older-Mercedes world. One car that hasn’t remained such a deal is the much more highly sought-after SLs, and of those the manual early cars usually bring the strongest value. Top of the market in an early W113s will push $100,000, and even condition 2 cars are in excess of $50,000 these days. Like the E30 market, investors and speculators jumped on board about a decade ago and drove prices even higher, pushing them out of the reach of the common man. Despite this, once in a while a very clean example comes to market below average market value – such as the lovely red over black 4 speed today:
Model: 230 SL
Engine: 2.3 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 64,000 mi
Price: $39,999.99 Reserve Auction
Free Shipping is Included in the “buy it now” Price for all Buyers.
Production Specs for this car:
Mileage: 64,000 original miles
Production Numbers: 4,752
VIN #: 11304210005500 Hard Top Matching # 107
All matching numbers
About my Pagoda:
This is a 1965 Mercedes Pagoda 230SL with the desirable manual transmission Convertible. This car comes with oem color combination (meaning, it is an original red car with black interior). Car has a new mats, carpets interior. The door panels, dashboard and the rest of the interior is all done with the same color. Original Becker radio comes with the car. Car comes with 2 tops, soft top is correct German canvass in black vinyl color but it is the original one, It is in working condition but it looks okay.
I’ve never been a fan of celebrity cars, with the exception of race cars. You spend gobs of money on them and then park them in a museum or they turn into a Jon Voight’s LeBaron situation.
There seems to always be a John Lennon car for sale somewhere. A few year’s ago his Mercedes 600 Pullman didn’t sell when it reached £190,000 (at the time $273,600) at an auction where it had a £200,000 ($287,600) reserve, tell me if that situation doesn’t sound like some bidding shenanigans. It later appeared for sale with an ask of £320,000.
Now we have an arguably much more mundane Lennon car in this 1965 230SL pagoda that has an ask price of a quite ridiculous $465,000, down from $495,000. The price discrepancy is from varying sites listing the car, the dealership page still has the higher price. The dealer lists the odometer as reading 19,127.
I’m not going to speak about the marketplace for Beatle’s collectibles, but these W113 Benzs continue to rise in value. The Pagodas so called because of their distinctive hardtops are quality cars that garnered a high end clientele when new.
The 230SL was the smallest, in terms of engine options, of the W113 SL. The 2.3 liter inline six puts out 150 horsepower. Ideally you want to find one with the 5 speed manual, but this one was special ordered by John with an automatic.
These are fine cars and in good shape can be seen as investment grade vehicles, particularly the later 280SL. However at this price you could literally corner the market on good driver 230SLs or buy 10 very top tier Pagodas.
Knowing our typical reader on this site, I suspect most of you will turn up your nose at this one, but don’t take it out on the Merc.…
Like a Rolex Submariner watch or a pair of Persol sunglasses, a classic Mercedes-Benz SL is one of those accessories that is timeless and shows infinite good taste. Introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, the W113 SL was nicknamed “pagoda,” due to its concave hardtop. Not just a pretty face, the 230SL won the Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally in 1963 piloted by Eugen Böhringer. Famous owners of the W113 SL include David Coulthard, Sofia Loren and Sir Stirling Moss. Just under 50,000 230, 250 and 280SLs were made through 1971 and these cars are highly prized not just for their looks but for their performance and practicality that is not far off from modern day motors. It’s getting harder to find good W113 SLs for under $30,000. While this example for sale in California isn’t perfect, it would be a great candidate for someone looking to undertake a few minor fixes to turn it into a nice looking driver.
Offered For Sale is a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL. The styling represents a rolling work of art and the model, a highly collectible piece of Mercedes history. These cars are built rock solid and definitely personify German engineering and precision of a time gone by. The highly sought after “SL” is a world-class automobile and is ready for the next owner to enjoy. Experience what a real Mercedes used to be. Even M-B doesn’t build ’em like this anymore! What’s definitely cool and rare about this particular 230SL “Pagoda,” is that it’s a European version that was brought over to the states 30 years ago. It’s still got the highly desired Euro headlamps and other neat appointments, such as a stick-shift transmission. Drive it as Mercedes-Benz engineers intended it to be.
This Mercedes was owned for nearly 30 years by the same family.