Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1963, the 230SL – or W113 as the model range was internally labeled at Mercedes-Benz – was a completely new car through and through, designed to replace the outgoing 190SL. A truly modern car for its time and constructed to the high level of craftsmanship expected from Mercedes-Benz, the model quickly became a very popular two-seater among the elite thanks to its combination of luxury and high style. Mercedes-Benz would call the W113 “a Grand Tourer in the traditional sense” and “a unique combination of sports car performance and saloon car comfort.” Many of the design and technical features were industry firsts, including the hard-top designed to withstand the car’s weight for safety reasons, and its distinct lines, featuring a large greenhouse that eventually led to the model’s popular nickname, the ‘Pagoda’.
After the 230SL came the 250SL, which boosted engine capacity by about 200cc over its predecessor; later, both were replaced by the ultimate evolution of the W113, the 280SL, introduced in 1967. The enlarged 2.8-liter 6-cylinder SOHC engine now produced 170 horsepower, and disc brakes were now standard on all four corners. These last classic Pagoda models have become increasingly collectible, featuring exceptional build quality and reliability, easy access to spare parts, not to mention being highly usable thanks to their modern specifications.
The automatic Pagoda Mercedes on offer today has been the subject of much recent work by marque specialist Steve Redfearn, and has since been treated to a high quality repaint in the deep mightnight blue, which offers a wonderful contrast to the exceptional chromework. The interior has been re-trimmed in new Cognac and the carpets redone. The car also benefits from the optional factory third seat.
Beautifully presented in arguably the best colour combination , this classic 280SL should prove to be enjoyable on Sunday drives and will be equally at home on display at a Concours d’Elegance. Offering timeless styling, a very high build quality indicative of the marque, and excellent usability, the W113 280SL is quickly becoming one of Mercedes-Benz’s most iconic and sought-after models of all time. Here is a fine and fitting way to experience the legend.