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Prior to the R107 generation Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, your thirst for a V8 couldn’t be quenched. Your only options in prior generations 300SL and W113 Pagoda were inline-six powerplants in various guise. Don’t get me wrong, they were very sweet engines, especially that in the Gullwing, but V8s they were not. However, it looks like there was someone who wasn’t going to accept that. Leave it to the sneaky Germans to pull this one off.
Green is good, even in small doses. The Mercedes-Benz Pagoda series was all about utilizing two-tone color schemes beyond the normal silver over black or black over tan. They’d mix complementary colors together usually on the hard top, hub caps, and interior. They weren’t afraid to take chances, even with non-traditional colors. Case in point, this 250SL finished in white with a Dark Olive hard top and Green Parchment MB-Tex upholstery. Even better? It’s got a 4-speed manual too.
I know when designers sit down with engineers and discuss (or fight) over a new model and how it will work, they really want to end up with the best possible product. Sometimes it ends poorly, sometimes it’s just okay, and sometimes they hit a home run. With the Mercedes-Benz Pagoda, these cheeky German knew they hit it out of the park. Actually maybe it was a “Tor!” since Germans don’t really play baseball. Either way, over 50 years later these things still turns heads. I know I badly desire one, and examples like today’s might just keep that dream alive.
This 1968 up for sale in California is finished in a lovely shade of blue over a tan interior. The condition seems about average, but the price seems awfully reasonable given the top of the food range 280 can bring six-figures for the really nice ones. I think I know why.
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?
For all the Mercedes-Benz Pagodas I’ve ever taken a look at, for some reason I’ve never come across the California Coupe. What is the California Coupe? It is a 250SL or 280SL with a folding rear seat in the place of where the soft top would normally be with the hardtop or a tonneau cover as your option to cover the cabin. Comfortable? No. Safe? Even less so. Still, a relatively rare configuration as only around 10% of Pagodas were sold as California Coupes. You can probably guess where the majority of these cars were allocated when new and where you still find them for sale. However, just because these are relatively rare, doesn’t make them all that desirable even with the Pagoda market still being relatively strong. This example up for sale in, you guessed it, California, needs some help.