While I may not write about them very often I actually love a vintage Mercedes. Many of the designs possess those timeless characteristics that make so many vintage automobiles desirable and perhaps none more so than the Pagoda. The SL has long showcased the sort of sleek lines and elegant styling that make people want to put the top down and be seen. Andrew has featured a few of these of late, but I hope our readers can allow for another (and I promise I haven’t just featured this one because there’s a 911 GT3 RS in the background). The one we see here, a Black 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL with Cognac interior, comes from the final year of their production and looks invitingly ready to be enjoyed.
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.
I’ve been featuring a lot of Pagodas of late so I planned on laying off them for awhile, but I ran across one that deserves an immediate look. Usually these things are winners in totally stock form and any kind of aftermarket modification detracts greatly from it’s appeal and not to mention its value. But what we have today is something I didn’t even think was possible. So let’s check out what’s so special about this Pagoda for sale at the authority for W113s outside of Boston.
Just over a month ago, I featured a 1971 Pagoda that is so similar to today’s car that I actually thought it was the same car when I first looked at the listing. Luckily, it’s not, but I thought I’d investigate this one a little further because who doesn’t love a nice Pagoda? (except that forsaken 1969 in NYC we all screamed in horror over) So lets take a look at this surprisingly reasonably priced 280SL located in Queens, NY.
It’s time again for Fail Friday! Welcoming you into July is a wonderfully horrible 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL. Normally I wouldn’t speak such ill of the great Pagoda but I can’t hold back on this one. It’s not an outrageous price or aftermarket exterior modifications that qualify it for Fail Friday, it’s the unspeakable acts of interior homicide that have been committed. Before you click the ”Continue reading this article →” I need you to be prepared as to what lies inside this SL.
Often when we feature the classic W113 Mercedes Pagoda, it’s an example that has low-miles, flawless paint, an interior that is pristine and spends most of the time tucked away, rarely to see the light of day. With these cars now regularly fetching six figures, I don’t blame the owners for protecting their investments. Infrequently do we see a Pagoda you can feel okay about using on a regular basis to enjoy while still maintaining it’s beauty and stature. This 1971 280SL located in Atlanta can offer all that.
Walking around Manhattan a few weeks ago, I came across a W113 Mercedes-Benz SL. In style conscious New York, this is quite possibly the ultimate accessory. More petite than its predecessor, the 300SL Roadster yet a bit more classic than the R107 SL that ended production at the end of the 1980s, this is a great way to make a statement while not having something too huge to haul around the streets of the Big Apple. These SLs aren’t exactly what you would consider an affordable classic, but then again, you are getting a lot of advanced technology for the day wrapped in a decidedly vintage yet timeless skin. This restored example in Los Angeles represents the final evolution of the W113, the 280SL, mated to a four-speed automatic gearbox.
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.
My favorite memory of my father’s 1971 280SL 4 speed is riding home in the evening from some vintage car races in the New England fall. His 280 didn’t have a very nice roof at that point, so we were driving with the top down. Cool, right? No, it was just downright cold. I huddled low in the cabin, trying to get as much of the heat trickling out of the non-existent ventilation system. It’s a perfect example of how spartan the W113 SLs are in comparison to the later R107 cars, but it’s also a reminder that SL stands for “Sport Light” – something the newer cars lost along the way. The W113 also got a dose of “Sport” compared to the anemic 190 SL that preceded it as well, with the 230 and 250 sporting 150 growling horsepower. The 280 gained 20 more ponies, but most were coupled to an automatic transmission that diluted the experience. Thankfully, that’s not the case with this 1969 280 SL 4 speed:
Model: 280 SL
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 69,000 mi
Price: $45,000 Buy it Now
Gorgeous, head turning 280 SL Roadster. Rare 4-speed, dealer A/C. Both tops, interior is like new, radio and clock work as do all guages lights and levers. Original tool kit, like new Michelins. No known rust issues, rockers and floor pans were restored by a classic mercedes shop and are documented. Paint finish looks very good but does have a few imperfections. The soft top has a few wear spots, typical of older tops. Mechanically this car is near perfect. It runs amazingly and tracks straight as an arrow. Brakes are new all around and it has been mechanically maintained by a classic expert.