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I’ll put almost any Mercedes-Benz from the golden era of the 1960s up against other car from that time period and say it was better. There is a very distinct feeling when you open the doors to one of these cars and it usually says to you “this feels different.” Everything is heavier, thicker, and more robust. Plastic? Very little if any. This is a car made of wood, leather, and steel. You pilot them as much as you drive them. Chances are, it is going to outlast you if cared for properly. Today, we have one of those cars.
This is a 1964 Mercedes-Benz 220SEb coupe. That unofficial lowercase ‘b’ is very important as it signifies this is a fuel-injected inline-six car rather than a twin-carb of the standard 220SE. Not that the dual carbs are bad, but rather the fuel-injection system is much easier to live with and of course much smoother. This car in Chicago is finished in a wonderful shade of red with the matching hubcaps, a black leather cabin, and that all-important wood instrument cluster binnacle. Just to add some more goodness, it’s a sunroof example as well and has a four-speed manual gearbox. What isn’t to like?
The W113 Mercedes-Benz Pagoda is one of those cars you can buy an example for $40,000 all the way up to $240,000 and no one would bat an eye at you for doing so. Condition and spec can vary widely, so naturally prices do as well. Outside of the wheel choices, they all have the same general look and the only major factor in determining price is the engine choice. You can chose between the 230, 250, or 280 spec with generally the 280 and manuals demanding the greatest dollar amount. Are the other two choices bad? Not at all. You aren’t exactly competing in vintage road racing in a Pagoda, so while the upgraded power from the 280 is surely nice, the main goal of this car is to cruise and look good. So if a 230SL came up for sale for a reasonable price with the right transmission, like we have today, would you say no?
Last week I went on and on about a beautiful 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SE and how it was quintessential classic Mercedes styling and durability. Timeless is a word that maybe comes to mind, but no car person will ever look at that the W108 and not be able to tell it was the late 1960s or early 1970s. Maybe that is a part of the aura around it. It’s a car old enough to have grand children but still water skied on weekends when the knees were feeling good. The W108 and W109 didn’t wither away, they felt every bit as good as they did forty years ago if you kept up on them. Today, I wanted to look at another car that came just before that 1970 280SE and still has that classic Mercedes feel, the W111 220SEb Coupe.
The 220SEb was the top of the range W111 Coupe that featured Bosch fuel injection as opposed to twin Solex carburetors found on the 220Sb. As you might have guessed, everything improved when fuel injection was added to the 2.2 liter M127. More horsepower, better acceleration, and the ability to gobble up miles. This 1962 220SEb up for sale in Chicago looks like it did exactly that. This W111 Coupe isn’t a pickled show car or museum piece. It was enjoyed thoroughly.
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.