15-16 January 2015

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Lot 109

1970 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'

  • Chassis no.
  • Engine no. 130.983.12.010897

Sold for $181,500

180 bhp, 2,778 cc OHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs and unequal A-arms, independent rear suspension with low-pivot swing axles, trailing arms, and coil springs, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

  • Finished in the factory-correct colors of Bronze-Brown over Cognac
  • Recently completed concours-quality restoration
  • Includes a tool roll, owners’ manual, and fitted luggage
  • Includes extensive restoration documentation

The encore to the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL and 300 SL, codenamed W113, was first introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show as the 230 SL. This new car was neither the race-bred machine exemplified by the 300 SL nor the boulevard tourer of the 190 SL, as it placed more of an emphasis on safety and comfort. The four-cylinder power of the 190 was gone, as all models were fitted with a Bosch fuel-injected, 2,281-cubic centimeter six-cylinder that could produce 150 horsepower. It also had the added distinction of being the first Mercedes-Benz automobile to be fitted with an alternator as standard equipment. Off-the-shelf components included independent front and rear suspension and servo-assisted front disc and rear drum brakes, helping to keep development and production costs within reason.

Perhaps most appealing about the car was its unique styling, which was clearly linked to earlier Stuttgart designs, as it featured the broad front grille of the 300 SL, albeit in a squared-up shape. As with its predecessors, it was available as a roadster, coupe/roadster, and pure coupe. Most distinctive was its roofline: the so-called “pagoda” roof, which had been designed by Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi. The upright roofline contained lots of glass area, with raised sides and a lower center panel, à la a Japanese pagoda.

Production of 230 SLs continued until the uprated 250 SL made its debut at the 1967 Geneva Show. Although horsepower ratings remained the same, the new 2,496-cubic centimeter engine provided more torque for better acceleration. Its wheel rims were increased from 5.5 to 6 inches, and four-wheel disc brakes became standard.

The final version, the 280 SL, made its public appearance early in 1968. Most notable was the increased engine displacement to 2,778 cubic centimeters, which bumped up torque and horsepower to 180. The interiors were upgraded, along with a myriad of detail refinements. The final 280 SL came off the assembly line in March 1971, and a total of 23,885 Mercedes-Benz 280 SLs were produced during the model run, making it the most popular of all the roadsters built to date.

This beautiful Mercedes-Benz 280 SL, with the desirable European headlights, has benefitted from a recently completed, comprehensive, and documented concours restoration that was performed in Europe. A binder with photos from before and after the restoration, as well as receipts and related information, is available for inspection, along with a copy of the original data card from the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center, which verifies its equipment and numbers. A tool roll, owner’s manual, gorgeous fitted luggage, and a spare tire cover that matches the Cognac MB-Tex interior are included.

Outside, the roadster is painted a classic Bronze-Brown (DB461), as is its hardtop, and it is fitted with Vredestein Sprint Classic tires on steel wheels with color-keyed wheel covers. Inside, one will find a superbly restored interior that features the gated automatic transmission selector, full instrumentation with a clock, and a Becker Europa AM/FM radio. The engine has received equal attention and was completely rebuilt using original German parts. The overall presentation is stunning, with every detail attended to. Since completion, the car has been driven approximately 230 kilometers to ensure everything functions as it should.

The 280 SL was arguably the best of the second-generation Mercedes-Benz roadsters, and this meticulously restored example will be enjoyed by its new owners whether they chose to drive or show it.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more