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#FailFriday: 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL


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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230SL on eBay


Year: 1965
Model: 230SL
Engine: 5.0 liter V8
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: 39,743 mi
Price: $24,995 Buy It Now


Check out this very nice 1965 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Roadster! This car looks and runs great! The seller told us he has owned the car since approximately 2002. He said the previous owner installed a 302ci V8 Ford Engine, Aftermarket AC, Aftermarket CD, and Power Locks. It’s loaded with factory options including Leather, Automatic Transmission, Soft Top & Hard Top Convertible, and much more! Overall this car is very nice with just some paint chips on the driver’s door – as seen in pictures! We try to point out any and all defects no matter how small for our internet shoppers! It’s priced to sell ASAP so call 1-866-981-5856 now! We are helping a private party sell this vehicle on consignment and do not store the vehicle at our location. If you would like to see the vehicle in person, please contact us at 1-866-981-5856.


As you can see in the photo above, that’s not the Mercedes M127 that should be in the car. It’s nothing other than a good old Ford 302 V8. The dirty air filter, the valve covers straight from the JEGS catalog, yellow spark plug wires and rusty exhaust manifolds are right at home. I don’t hate the Ford 302, it’s a nice motor if you want to make a lot of noise and don’t want to worry about going anywhere too fast. But why in the world you would decide to put one into a Pagoda is beyond me. You could melt the head, blow a hole in the block and smash the oil pan all at the same time and it would still be worth rebuilding the M127.

So about the price. Currently it’s listed for $24,995 but when I first saw it when the listing went live, the dealer was asking $19,995. Even with the bastard engine, $19,995 would have been a good price seeing as where values are heading for these cars. My guess is this dealer saw the values of other Pagodas, many well into six-figures, then figure he could squeeze another $5,000 out of this one.

I’m not totally against engine swaps in these as I featured a 1971 280SL earlier this month that was done perfectly. But that’s the thing, it was perfect. Something like this just doesn’t really add up. I don’t know if this swap was done in the 80’s or early 90’s when this wasn’t a big deal, but you have to think whoever did this is kicking themselves now, no?

– Andrew


  1. Woodie Man
    Woodie Man August 26, 2016

    That said, if this car is as solid as it appears, twenty K wouldn’t be beyond the pale….just source a MB 6…and off you go

  2. Dallas
    Dallas August 26, 2016

    Wow, why the hate on the 302? I can see you disliking the swap but it was good enough for Ford to race in Trans-Am with the legendary Boss 302. Not really a pony car guy but the 302 is a solid engine… I agree maybe just not in a pagoda-roof roadster 😉

    Oh, and it’s “would *have* been a good price.” Cheers

  3. Slim Chance
    Slim Chance August 26, 2016

    At least you won’t have to time “0-60” with a calendar. Slush box 230. None slower.

  4. Andrew
    Andrew August 26, 2016

    Thanks Dallas.

    My point is that the 302 doesn’t ”fit” this car. It’s like going to a steakhouse on a Friday night and ordering hotdogs. They are fine for a Saturday afternoon on a styrofoam plate with chips, which is what the 302 is, but the Pagoda isn’t a cookout.

  5. David B.
    David B. August 27, 2016

    Ha! Great analogy, Andrew

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