Replacing the legendary 300 SL, the Mercedes-Benz W 113 was a two-seat roadster introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show, produced from 1963 to 1971, and developed under the auspices of Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger. The lead designers were Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi, who devised its distinctive – and patented – slightly concave hardtop, inspiring its nickname “Pagoda.”
All models were equipped with an inline-six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection. To reduce weight, the bonnet, trunk lid, door skins and tonneau cover were made of aluminium, and the comparatively short and wide chassis, combined with an excellent suspension, novel radial tires and powerful brakes, afforded the W 113 superb handling for its time. The styling of the front – with its characteristic upright Bosch “fishbowl” headlights and simple chrome grille, dominated by the large three-pointed star in the nose panel – paid homage to the already iconic 300 SL roadster.
The 2.8 litre 280 SL was introduced in December 1967 and production continued until 23rd February 1971, when the W 113 was replaced by its successor, the entirely new and substantially heavier R107 350 SL. Over the years, the W 113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer – in which form it remains to this day.
This stunning 280 SL comes from a private collection, where it has resided on the continent for the last 10 years. It has travelled from Spain to London for this Auction. The matching numbers engine has just been serviced; even the keys match the factory data card!
Rarely do 280SLs come to market in this condition – the Silver Arrows paint work still gleams as it did over 40 years ago. Although perfect for the summer months, the simple addition of the factory hard top converts it into a practical year-round sports coupe.