1969 Mercedes Benz 280 SL Roadster

My favorite memory of my father’s 1971 280SL 4 speed is riding home in the evening from some vintage car races in the New England fall. His 280 didn’t have a very nice roof at that point, so we were driving with the top down. Cool, right? No, it was just downright cold. I huddled low in the cabin, trying to get as much of the heat trickling out of the non-existent ventilation system. It’s a perfect example of how spartan the W113 SLs are in comparison to the later R107 cars, but it’s also a reminder that SL stands for “Sport Light” – something the newer cars lost along the way. The W113 also got a dose of “Sport” compared to the anemic 190 SL that preceded it as well, with the 230 and 250 sporting 150 growling horsepower. The 280 gained 20 more ponies, but most were coupled to an automatic transmission that diluted the experience. Thankfully, that’s not the case with this 1969 280 SL 4 speed:

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Year: 1969
Model: 280 SL
Engine: 2.8 liter inline-6
Transmission: 4-speed manual
Mileage: 69,000 mi
Price: $45,000 Buy it Now

CLICK FOR DETAILS: 1969 Mercedes Benz 280 SL on eBay

Gorgeous, head turning 280 SL Roadster. Rare 4-speed, dealer A/C. Both tops, interior is like new, radio and clock work as do all guages lights and levers. Original tool kit, like new Michelins. No known rust issues, rockers and floor pans were restored by a classic mercedes shop and are documented. Paint finish looks very good but does have a few imperfections. The soft top has a few wear spots, typical of older tops. Mechanically this car is near perfect. It runs amazingly and tracks straight as an arrow. Brakes are new all around and it has been mechanically maintained by a classic expert.

Enjoy this car as it is for years or invest in a high end paint job and you will have a show car. This car will only appreciate in value. There aren’t many available at this price in this fine condition.

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In the 1990s, these cars could be had for a song. Through the 2000s though, appreciation for the very attractive Paul Bracq design and the no frills simplicity drove prices into the $40,000 range for very nice examples. Since then values have continued to climb, and mint examples fetch the best part of $100,000. This car makes no claim to be a mint example, and to me that’s its appeal. At about half the price of the best examples, you have a show worthy driver. These really are enjoyable cars to drive, though not so much on the highway – 70 miles an hour equates to nearly 4,000 RPMs, but on a back road with the top down, that throaty inline 6 will reward you rowing through the gears. It’s not a fast car, but you sure can have a lot of fun on your way to your destination! Better yet, arriving at that destination in your W113 will make you feel like you’re at a Hollywood premier. People will turn their heads to see who is driving this beautiful, classic Mercedes. It has a presence about it that cars at twice the price can’t achieve. Just dress warmly.

-Carter

Celebrating Fifty Years of the Pagoda: 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL

This year marks fifty years that the Mercedes-Benz W113 SL has been with us. Nicknamed the Pagoda SL, due to its concave hardtop, the 230SL not only succeeded the legendary 300SL roadster, but the smaller, four cylinder 190SL. A mainstay in the lineup for almost a decade, Mercedes would evolve the breed by offering the 250SL and 280SL down the line until it was succeeded by the long-lived R107 SL. Almost 40% of W113 production was sold in the United States and from time to time, it’s not uncommon to see one of these classic roadsters tooling around in the streets.

Aside from the 300SL Gullwing and Roadster, these are among some of the highest valued SLs. It shouldn’t be too surprising, as they offer the thrill of classic motoring with a mix of modern day performance and convenience that is hard to match at any price. Their styling is the epitome of restrained elegance and still looks good to this day. This 1968 280SL is on offer from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine, California.

Year: 1968
Model: 280SL
Engine: 2.8 liter inline six
Transmission: 4-speed automatic
Mileage: N/A
Price: $185,000

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center

This 1968 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL is an excellent example of a W113 SL Series Roadster. It is presented in its original configuration of red paintwork (DB568) and black MB-Tex interior (DB131). The car was recently comprehensively restored at the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. The refurbishment of this matching numbers car included the removal, rebuilt and reinstallation of all mechanical systems with special emphasis on correct functionality and appearance to factory new standards, right down to hardware plating and finishes.

Chassis no: 113.044-12-002587
DB 568 Red
DB 131 Black MB-Tex Interior

Anything for sale from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center is certainly not going to come cheap, but I had to take a step back when I saw the asking price, as I almost got lightheaded. I’ve been used to seeing mint W113 SLs on offer in the $50,000 to $80,000 range, but I’ve rarely seen one break six figures. It will probably be challenging to find a better W113 on the market, as anything from the Classic Center will be of the utmost quality. If you ever wanted a new W113 SL, this could be the closest you could get, coming straight from the experts.

The following is a video featuring some footage of the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center and this exact vehicle:

-Paul

Ex John Lennon Mercedes 230SL for nearly half a million $

I’ve never been a fan of celebrity cars, with the exception of race cars. You spend gobs of money on them and then park them in a museum or they turn into a Jon Voight’s LeBaron situation.

John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes 230SL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There seems to always be a John Lennon car for sale somewhere. A few year’s ago his Mercedes 600 Pullman didn’t sell when it reached £190,000 (at the time $273,600) at an auction where it had a £200,000 ($287,600) reserve, tell me if that situation doesn’t sound like some bidding shenanigans. It later appeared for sale with an ask of £320,000.

Now we have an arguably much more mundane Lennon car in this 1965 230SL pagoda that has an ask price of a quite ridiculous $465,000, down from $495,000. The price discrepancy is from varying sites listing the car, the dealership page still has the higher price. The dealer lists the odometer as reading 19,127.

I’m not going to speak about the marketplace for Beatle’s collectibles, but these W113 Benzs continue to rise in value. The Pagodas so called because of their distinctive hardtops are quality cars that garnered a high end clientele when new.

The 230SL was the smallest, in terms of engine options, of the W113 SL. The 2.3 liter inline six puts out 150 horsepower. Ideally you want to find one with the 5 speed manual, but this one was special ordered by John with an automatic.

These are fine cars and in good shape can be seen as investment grade vehicles, particularly the later 280SL. However at this price you could literally corner the market on good driver 230SLs or buy 10 very top tier Pagodas.

Knowing our typical reader on this site, I suspect most of you will turn up your nose at this one, but don’t take it out on the Merc. These were some very quality cars that make for fun drivers. They also aren’t very complicated to work on and are light on a lot of the gadgetry that came in later Benzs. They also are significantly lighter than the R107 SL that replaced them and turned the SL into more of a boulevard cruiser than a twisty road driving car. Just save your money and find a non-celebrity owned one. As with any convertible keep an eye out for water leakage. The Euro models look a lot better with their headlights to me, but eitherway these cars have a great, unmistakably German and Mercedes look.

~Evan

John Lennon’s 1965 Mercedes 230SL

1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL

Like a Rolex Submariner watch or a pair of Persol sunglasses, a classic Mercedes-Benz SL is one of those accessories that is timeless and shows infinite good taste. Introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, the W113 SL was nicknamed “pagoda,” due to its concave hardtop. Not just a pretty face, the 230SL won the Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally in 1963 piloted by Eugen Böhringer. Famous owners of the W113 SL include David Coulthard, Sofia Loren and Sir Stirling Moss. Just under 50,000 230, 250 and 280SLs were made through 1971 and these cars are highly prized not just for their looks but for their performance and practicality that is not far off from modern day motors. It’s getting harder to find good W113 SLs for under $30,000. While this example for sale in California isn’t perfect, it would be a great candidate for someone looking to undertake a few minor fixes to turn it into a nice looking driver.

1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL on eBay

Offered For Sale is a 1966 Mercedes-Benz 230SL. The styling represents a rolling work of art and the model, a highly collectible piece of Mercedes history. These cars are built rock solid and definitely personify German engineering and precision of a time gone by. The highly sought after “SL” is a world-class automobile and is ready for the next owner to enjoy. Experience what a real Mercedes used to be. Even M-B doesn’t build ’em like this anymore! What’s definitely cool and rare about this particular 230SL “Pagoda,” is that it’s a European version that was brought over to the states 30 years ago. It’s still got the highly desired Euro headlamps and other neat appointments, such as a stick-shift transmission. Drive it as Mercedes-Benz engineers intended it to be.

This Mercedes was owned for nearly 30 years by the same family. I recently acquired it from this owner, who purchased the SL in Belgium back in 1982 from the car’s original owner. The Mercedes was transferred to the New York City/New Jersey area where it had remained till I purchased the car and had it brought to California. The SL was used sparingly during its stay in NY, spending most of the time in a dry garage. In fact, the Mercedes had been sitting for the last six years till it was recently resurrected.

The 230SL currently runs and drives good. She starts right up and sounds great. This Pagoda had never been restored, and it’s not perfect. It is a good “driver,” but due to sitting for years, some cosmetic and mechanical tinkering will be required to make this classic even better. Prices and collectibility for these cars have recently sky-rocketed, much like the early Porsche 911s & 912s or E-Type Jaguars. Everybody wants one, and the reasons are quite clear. This particular SL Pagoda can be had at an affordable price, where the new owner can drive and enjoy it, while making some improvements, and watching the value grow and appreciate.

It’ll feel great pulling up to the Country Club in this Mercedes. It’s definitely “old-school” elegance and class. Aside from that, the quality of the car in terms of ride, smoothness, comfort, luxury, and appearance is first rate. To enthusiasts, the allure of a German classic is when it sports authentic European characteristics, unlike the safety mandated US versions, with all the added “stuff.” This one is the real deal: large glass headlamps, no bumper over-riders, no side markers. The appearance is pure and uncluttered, as M-B intended.

Classic facia displays old-world craftsmanship and an elegance that only Mercedes-Benz could produce. It doesn’t get much more appealing than a painted metal dash and chrome bezels. Dash padding is in great condition with no obvious cracks. All gauges are functioning properly exc. for the clock. Speedometer is still in Kilometers. Electrics are in fine operating condition. Lights, wipers, horn, and signals function as they’re supposed to.

Open the door, and that period leather aroma, familiar to vintage European cars, is there and in potent supply. To me, the scent is wonderful and should be bottled. The interior is in original condition, as you can see. Genuine M-B leather upholstery is still intact and does show some wear. There are some splits in the upholstery, but being the factory leather hides makes them more desirable to me than aftermarket M-B Tex materials. Carpets, however, look to have been replaced recently. The pile is thick, both in the front of the cabin and behind the seats in the package area. Door panels, look to be original, and are in good shape. Outside door locks are not operable with the key. Glass is all good; windows roll up & down fine; there are no chips, cracks, or damages.

Soft top looks to be in good shape, aside from a couple small blemishes. Canvas is thick, and plastic window is clear. A common area for rust, especially after 46 years, is the inside well where the soft-top is folded. Water can leak in, and if it doesn’t evaporate, corrosion will form. However, as you can see on this particular SL, that is not the case. The area is dry and in great shape. Rear package area is clean and the carpet has been replaced. Headliner and convertible top frame are in very nice condition. Rails aren’t rusted out, and the inside fabric is clean and intact. It opens and folds easily, too.

Trunk is spacious for a car of this size. It’s clean as well. Original mat is present. Also intact are the spare tire (with cover) and jacking equipment. Taking the SL out for a little excursion last Saturday afternoon proved to be most enjoyable. The Mercedes runs strong, and manually shifting through the gears while making that raspy exhaust note sing, made the experience even more invigorating and exciting.

This 230SL presents itself quite well. The ivory/white finish is shiny and still has a good gloss. From what I gather, this is the factory color, but at some point years ago, the car had been repainted. Panels appear relatively straight, considering the SL’s age, with a few routine dings and paint chips. I don’t see any evidence of rust bubbles or rot on the M-B’s panels. Undercarriage is original, and typical to a car of this vintage, there are some rust blemishes present. Most notably, the driver’s side floorboard had some metal patchwork done. At some point in the future, replacing the panel can be addressed, but for the time being, it doesn’t look bad. The passenger side appears to be solid, without issues.

Mechanically, the main components of this Mercedes are strong. It runs good and feels tight. A short YouTube video below will show the car idling and driving. However, from sitting the past several years, there are some items that will need to be addressed so the Pagoda can be used on a regular basis with confidence. The engine always fires up right away on the first try, even after sitting for awhile. Once the engine’s warmed up and driving for several miles, the operating temperature is consistently cool, and the oil pressure is always high. The previous owner had replaced the exhaust system, so it’s new from front to rear. Also, the brake calipers and front hoses look relatively new.

The motor idles smoothly and doesn’t miss or hesitate. However, upon recent driving I noticed that it does emit blue smoke when accelerating. I’m not sure if this is due to the car’s sitting, and that with driving it will evenutally go away. After checking the spark plugs, I took note that all fired evenly and none were fouled or saturated with oil, so that’s good. I also changed the oil, and noticed it was just pure oil, with no indication of water mixed in, so that’s good, too. There is an oil leak that is coming from the tachometer sending unit on the engine. Also, to be noted, the brake pedal is hard. I believe this to be the brake booster, as pressing on the pedal affects the vacuum at idle. Master cylinder looks to be recently replaced.

The clutch and transmission feel good. Shift bushings were all replaced along with new oil, so everything is smooth and tight in the gear box. There’s no growling noises and all synchros work as they should. There’s no popping out of gear. If you’re a fanatic of classic Mercedes-Benzes, then you’ll like this 1966 230SL. Quality and elegance were unsurpassed and they certainly didn’t compromise. Back then, you knew this was a Mercedes! This tangible investment is safer than the stock market and is something that can be enjoyed, now and in the future. Why not mix business with pleasure? This 230SL Pagoda is being advertised in a Buy it Now at $26,750 format. There is no auction, where missing out on a good deal in the last 15 seconds is a tragedy we all know too well. No, this classic Benz is being offered For Sale right now, at a disclosed price, so don’t let it get away.

The Buy it Now price is rather attractive, given the condition of this car. Since it seems the engine is pushing oil, valve guides and piston rings may need to be examined, as well as the brakes. In addition, a retrim of the leather seats along with sorting the loose fitting convertible top appear to be in order. Otherwise, not a terrible example that is made more attractive by the European headlamps and manual transmission.

The following is some vintage footage from Mercedes-Benz Fascination series (in German):

-Paul

1970 Mercedes 280SL in unrestored condition

This ride comes to us from reader Daniel, it is a a vintage 280SL in nice driver condition. Some W113 SLs command seriously high prices if they are in perfect condition; auction prices over $50,000 have been seen. The car featured here doesn’t appear to be a garage queen. It shows signs of use, but doesn’t show neglect. This car looks like a nice entry point for a Benz fan looking to get into the top of line of late 60s early 70s topless Mercedes motoring.

The car has 88,000 miles on it and has plenty of room for improovment in terms of comesmetic problems. Overall it presents nicely. The chrome looks decent and the engine bay looks clean. The seller says it is mostly rust free and that it is clean underneath. A new owner could fix the paint bubbles with a full strip and respray or try to do some touch up work and just enjoy it. Inside things like the cracks in the dash are easily fixed with readily available custom dash pad covers. This is a very common occurrence on Mercedes. The wood may not be past saving, but it looks close so a new owner will probably want to pull it out and see how rotted it is. Some sanding and new varnish could make a world of difference. Again this is a very common problem and many helpful Benz aficionado can provide advice or service for the wood depending on budget.

The seller says the A/C hasn’t been run in several years, that can be read as doesn’t work. A new radio is in place, while I appreciate keeping it German with a Blaupunkt unit, I’d source a proper vintage Becker unit or one of the vintage look newer units. Honestly, as much as some of the newer features are nice, the old Becker units were truly high quality devices and for regular over the air entertainment would offer satisfaction for most users when matched to some nice high efficiency speakers.

A new owner will need to pay attention to the backwards transmission. A number of Benz models featured these backwards shifting autos, with park at the bottom, before going to the more familiar park at the top layout. These cars are fun to shift manually even without the manual transmission, but enjoying that means taking note of this reverse layout. Despite the indents on the shifters it is pretty easy to unexpectedly. go from 3 to 2 or 4 to N.

The 2.8 liter engine offers plenty of power and provides great thrumming inline six sound. Being an owner of a 1970 two door Benz with this same M130 engine I can attest to its easy of maintenance and enjoyment.  This engine is a thirsty one though so despite being a six an owner should expect 15 or so MPG.

Current price is just under $14,000 with the reserve not met. A nice solid car like this will see something around $25,000 despite its needs. A couple thousand in work by a new owner and $10k more is possible.

1970 Mercedes 280SL in unrestored condition on eBay

~Evan