Christened ‘pagoda top’ after their distinctive cabin shape, these SL models were amongst the best-loved and most capable sports-tourers of their day, and continue to be highly sought after by collectors.
Introduced at the Geneva Salon in March 1963 as replacement for the ageing 190SL, the 230SL abandoned its predecessor’s four-cylinder engine in favour of a 2.3 litre fuel-injected six cylinder engine derived from that of the 220SE. The new engine was well received and, with a power output of 150bhp, it was capable of propelling the car up to a top speed of around 120 mph. An instant classic, the body design was all-new while beneath the skin the running gear was conven- tional Mercedes-Benz, featuring all-round independent suspension (by swing axles at the rear), disc front/drum rear brakes and a choice of four-speed manual or automatic transmissions.
Although intended as a luxury tourer, the 230SL proved its versatility by scoring a debut competition victory, in the 1963 Spa-Sofia-Liège Rally in the hands of long-time Mercedes works driver Eugen Bohringer, whilst in 1965 Dieter Glemser scored a creditable 3rd place overall in the Acropolis Rally having held the lead for a significant proportion of the event.
Having recently emerged from a ground up restoration – which, according to the vendor, cost some 120,000 – this example is in immaculate condition. It is equipped with the desirable automatic gearbox, works hard and soft tops, a period Becker-Mexico wireless and is accompanied with German historic registration papers and a freshly issued TÜV. Beautifully finished in light grey and cream leather interior, this SL is in “as new” condition, and is ready to be used and enjoyed by its next lucky owner.