#FailFriday: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

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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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on Hemmings

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1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

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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.

1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But I think few would have trouble seeing the beauty in any vintage Mercedes SL Roadster. I’m certainly not the first to say it, but there is something about these cars that transcends basic automotive design. They almost move into the realm of fashion becoming the ultimate accessory, but even for those who may not care about the adoring looks of others I think we can sense just what is so captivating about these cars. Like an E-Type Jag the design seems perfected from the start and all later variations continue to pay homage to that design, even if those later variants are never quite as pretty. They are complex, but also beautifully simple. The example we see here is a beautiful Burgundy Metallic 1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL, located in Las Vegas, with a stated 11,116 miles on it, though that may be the mileage since its restoration.

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

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1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

I’ve been meaning to write up a W113 SL for some time now, and with it being Labor Day weekend, I thought there’s no time like the present. The “Pagoda SL” is the perfect convertible and every time I see one in person it stops me dead in my tracks. Doesn’t matter if the hardtop is on, the convertible top up or down, the car is beautiful in any of its 3 forms, and even the U.S. mandated bumpers can’t ruin the look of the thing, it’s just so damned pretty!

The W113 had a good run from 1963-1971 with 19,440 sold here in the States, but it was the ’68-’71 280SL that really captured people’s hearts. More than half of the 23,885 280s built came to America, though the majority of them were fitted with an automatic transmission. In addition to the really cool color combo on this example, you’ll also find a 4 speed manual, which is the key to making your classic grand touring fantasies come true. As summer turns to fall, imagine spending an evening out with this car on a quiet two lane stretch of blacktop, cool air all around you, the M130 straight six humming away. You come up on a perfect lefthand sweeper with a little camber, downshift to 3rd, turn in, nail the apex, shoot out of the corner, and shift back up to 4th. That sequence right there is why you don’t bother with an automatic transmission on a car like this. Unless of course you just want it for a show piece vs a means of achieving moments of automotive nirvana.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

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1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

Few automobiles make a bolder style statement than a vintage Mercedes-Benz SL. The original 300SL Gullwing and later Roadster were going to be a tough act to follow, but Mercedes succeeded in producing a smaller, more agile roadster for the 1960s, the 230SL. The W113 chassis SL would last into the early 1970s, culminating in the form of the 280SL. Many who bought these roadsters preferred the option of the automatic gearbox, but a few came equipped with a 4-speed manual. One option that appeared in 1966, however, was the ZF 5-speed manual gearbox. This was a very rare option on the 230/250/280SL and would be discontinued in 1969 and available only as a special request through the end of the production run. This 1970 280SL is one such SL so equipped, having undergone a complete frame-off restoration. For the W113 fan, it doesn’t get much nicer than this car right here.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on Hemmings Motor News

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1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 3.5

We like to speculate about “what ifs” here at GCFSB when it comes to models a particular manufacturer may have not offered. The Mercedes-Benz SL was in for a large change in the early 1970s with the introduction of the R107 SL. Mercedes’ roadster would be transformed into more of a cruiser than a sporting machine, with a myriad of V8 engines on offer throughout its lifespan. Some lamented the fact that the SL was taking a turn towards luxury and abandoning the “sport light” formula embodied by its predecessors. A V8 was never offered in the W113 SL, but a few intrepid enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to slot two extra cylinders under the hood of these drop tops, as we see with this restored 1968 280SL sporting a period 3.5 liter V8.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL 3.5 on eBay

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Dreaming of a Red Christmas: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

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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.

Click for details: 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SL on eBay

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1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL Euro-Spec

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.

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL on eBay

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1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

Only recently have we seen the market for the Mercedes-Benz 190SL and certain R107 SLs trend upward, but for as long as I can remember, the W113 SL, otherwise known as the “Pagoda” has been the hands down favorite of collectors. I’d almost consider it the air-cooled 911 of the Mercedes set, given where values have been hovering for the last couple of years. This 1971 280SL for sale in Texas represents the last year for the Pagoda. This one was restored by noted specialist Bud’s Benz in Georgia in an uncommon Seafoam Green.

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

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1967 Mercedes-Benz 250SL 5-speed

It’s been a little while since we looked at a W113, and they’re continuing their ascension out of affordability for most enthusiasts. Especially rare are the manual cars; add in the rumble seat and the 5th gear that was a seldom-selected and expensive option and you’ve got the rarest of the W113s outside of the Pininfarina coupes. This particular example is stunning in dark blue with red leather, and while the asking price is quite high it’s still relatively low for rare, classic Mercedes-Benz convertibles:

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1967 Mercedes-Benz 250SL 5-speed on eBay

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