“Some cars don’t change, they just get better. The Mercedes-Benz 280SL, latest version of a line that began as the 230SL in 1963, is the same as ever, just better,” concluded Road & Track after testing a 280SL in 1968. “For those who value engineering, finesse and high quality construction, it’s alone in the field,’ enthused the highly respected American motoring magazine, while its manufacturer considered the 280SL, “a Grand Tourer in the traditional sense” and “a unique combination of sports car performance and saloon car comfort (a Mercedes-Benz saloon naturally).” These attributes help explain the 280SL’s phenomenal success, particularly in the all-important North American market where the optional automatic transmission was considered an essential feature by the majority of customers. The fact that it looked like ‘sex on wheels’ helped enormously too, of course. The 280SL’s essential user friendliness broadened its appeal beyond the traditional sports car enthusiast market, and many celebrities and film stars owned 280SLs.
The last of a popular and extremely successful line which began with the 230SL of 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 280SL was introduced in 1967 powered by a new 2.8-liter six-cylinder engine that produced 170bhp, 20 horsepower more than the preceding 250SL. The 280SL’s 120mph top speed was no greater but it was significantly quicker off the mark, its 0-60mph time of 10 seconds being a whole second better than its predecessor. Christened ‘pagoda top’ after their distinctive cabin shape, these SL models were amongst the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and are today increasingly sought after by collectors. With just two owners from new, this wonderful Metallic gold 280SL has covered just 47,102 miles from new- having spent its entire life in sunny southern California , its condition, as one would expect can only be described as excellent. Its Tan interior and hard and soft tops are in equally good condition.
Displaying excellent panel gaps, this 280SL is reported to have been spared from any noteworthy accident or rust damage, and has benefitted from having been rust-protected years ago. In largely original and unrestored condition, this fine Mercedes-Benz has that outstanding quality feel so indicative of the marque. Accompanied by a substantial history file, an original owner’s manual and service books, this must be considered one of the most desirably optioned examples of the legendary Pagoda-top 280SL.