In the Spring of 1963, Mercedes-Benz debuted an all-new roadster to replace the 190SL and 300SL- The 230SL. The 230SL ‘Pagoda’ was a stunning Paul Bracq designed two-seat convertible that followed Mercedes’ new design language, featuring crisp lines and upright headlights. The 230 SL was fitted with a prominent three-pointed star in its grill as a reference to the already iconic 300SL. To save on weight, the hood, door skins, trunk lid, and tonneau cover are all composed of aluminium. The nickname ‘Pagoda’ was quickly adopted thanks to the slightly concave roof on the optional removable hardtop that resembled a pagoda roof. Although controversial at its introduction, these SLs are now considered a masterpiece of design.
In 1967, Mercedes introduced the third and final iteration of the ‘Pagoda’, the 280SL. The 280 featured the same modified W111 chassis with a rear swing axle and independent front suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. Power came from a 2.8-litre version of Mercedes’ robust inline-six and used Bosch fuel injection- a combination producing 160 horsepower in US-market variants, which had to be modified slightly to comply with emissions standards. To compensate, the rear-end ratios were changed in these US-market cars to offer greater low-end acceleration.
While the 280SL did not offer the performance of the 300SL, it is a very charming model with capable handling and braking thanks to its suspension and all-wheel disc brakes. These roadsters also have one of the most beautiful bodies produced in the 1960s and thanks to their robust inline-6 and luxurious Mercedes interior are wonderful cars to be driven and enjoyed.
Delivered new to the USA and re-patriated back to the UK in 2014 this wonderful silver over black 280SL can only be described as in excellent overall condition. During a recent restoration in 2015, the body was sandblasted and stripped before being painted in the iconic silver arrows colours. With new suspension and braking system overhauled , it is now in mechanically excellent condition.
Offered with a UK MoT and UK V5 registration, it is easy to see why these 280SL Mercedes sports cars remain popular today.