1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

Around five years ago the values of the W113 Mercedes-Benz Padoga spiked pretty hard and kept climbing year after year. I totally get it because these roadsters are as classic as it gets and will never go out of style. The price for a really nice 280SL hovers around that $100,000 mark and can reach almost $260,000 for a perfect example while the lesser 230SL and 250SL can be had for a much more reasonable $50,000 if you so chose. This leads me to today’s car, a 1970 280SL up for sale in New Hampshire. This Pagoda is equipped not only with the rare factory air conditioning, but a 4-speed manual transmission. While all that is nice, why I really wanted to look at this 280SL is the price. No, it is not extremely high, but actually quite the opposite.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

Year: 1971
Model: 280SL
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 81,822 mi
Price: $37,000 Buy It Now

This 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster shows 81,822 miles and is a US-spec 4-speed manual example with air conditioning. It is believed that slightly over 800 US-spec cars were built in 1971, of which approximately 10% had a manual transmission. Of those 10%, around 25% came with air conditioning from the factory, making this SL a rare specification. Other factory options include a rear window heater and Becker two-band radio. The car has been kept largely original with one repaint in the 1980s. The original engine and transmission remain in the car, and a recent service included brake work, a full tune up and new fluids.

Finished in red over black, the car retains its original ‘Pagoda’ hard top, which is in excellent condition. Hubcaps and tires are in good condition. The soft top is original and is in perfect condition and fully functional.

The car was repainted in the 1980s and was a good match to the original finish.

Exterior chrome and trim are excellent. Side trim, bumpers and headlight surrounds are excellent. The door handles and trunk handle remain original and in good shape.

The trunk is in very good condition, retaining the original spare, jack, and tools including the top wrench. The trunk floor is also in nice condition, as are the shock towers.

Carpeting is original and well-preserved. The original owners manual is included with the car.

The dashboard and instrumentation are both in fine working condition with functional gauges. The wood could use a resurfacing if desired by the new owner. All of the controls are functional, including the heater switches.

This SL is in good mechanical order, with the 2.8 liter inline six-cylinder engine recently registering around 160psi compression across all cylinders. Clutch engagement is solid and the transmission is in perfect working order.

Underneath, the vehicle is straight with no rust or damage repair apparent.

This is a nice example of a daily driver quality 280SL that is nice enough to spend money on, but not so nice that you feel bad putting miles on it or getting it wet. It is an older repaint, but doesn’t show a ton of flaws, and generally looks pretty presentable. The hard top looks nice, the soft top even nicer, and while it could probably use a new set of tires, it’s not the end of the world. Inside is much of the same story. Nice, but not perfect, and it wouldn’t be out of line if something like a small ice cream cone was enjoyed inside it. The undercarriage shot shows what you’d typically expect for a car like this with some replacement exhaust pieces but no rot or major issues. All in all, a tidy example. Not perfect, but surely isn’t offensive or anything that needs immediate attention.

Now for the best part: the price. This seller wants only $37,000 for this car. If you would have told me this was a 230SL, I would have said that was fair. A 280SL? This is a deal right now. I’ve seen rolling wrecks selling for $25,000 and normally a car like this sells for $60,000 and above. I assume the owner probably bought this car a long time ago or when they weren’t quite so expensive and wants to move it along, hence this aggressive price. The market on Pagodas has cooled down quite a bit in the past nine months or so, but this one is still a really great deal in terms of 280SLs. If you are looking for a Pagoda, I think this is a super safe bet to enjoy for either a short-term or long-term ownership experience. I’m just glad there are still deals out there to be had like this one. I know there is only a small percentage of people out there who can afford to blow $37,000 on a weekend car, but if you are one of those people, this one might be it.

– Andrew

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One Comment

  1. I had a ’67 230SL- Euro version auto back in the eighties….nothing like the roar of the exhaust on a Pagoda. Being a 4 speed I’d be all over this if I could see spending that kind of money on a car. I’m beyond cheap. That said, this is pretty nice

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