The Mercedes-Benz W113 SL was a two-seat roadster produced from 1963 to 1971. It was introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show and replaced both the legendary 300SL (W198) and the 190SL (W121). The model is well known for its distinctive, patented, and slightly concave hardtop, which inspired the “Pagoda” nickname.
All W113 SL models were equipped with a straight-six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection. The bonnet, boot lid, door skins, and tonneau cover were made of aluminium to reduce weight. The comparatively short and wide chassis, combined with an excellent suspension, powerful brakes, and radial tires gave the W113 superb handling for its time. The styling of the front, with its characteristic upright Bosch “fishbowl” headlights and simple chrome grille, dominated by the large three-pointed star, paid homage to the already legendary 300SL roadster.
The 280SL was introduced in December 1967 and continued in production until 23rd February 1971, when the W113 was replaced by its successor, the R107. Over the years, the W113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer, and US models were by then usually equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning. Manual transmission models came with the standard 4-speed or the optional ZF 5-speed. Of the 23,885 280SLs produced, more than half were sold in the US.
The main change throughout production was an upgrade to the 2778cc M130 engine. The performance improvement was achieved by increasing bore by 4.5mm, which stretched the limits of the M180 block, and required pairwise cylinder casts without cooling water passages. This mandated an oil-cooler, which was fitted vertically next to the radiator. Each engine was now bench-tested for two hours prior to being fitted, so their power specification was guaranteed to last.
Metallic Blue paintwork, Black MB-Tex upholstery, Folding soft-top in black, Becker radio, Air conditioning, Power steering, Driver and passenger door mirrors, Lockable glove compartment, Dash clock, Cigar lighter, Ashtray, Rubber boot mat, Spare wheel with cover.
The simple yet elegant lines of the W113 SL strike a stunning pose against our studio backdrop. The glistening metallic blue paintwork presents beautifully all round and looks particularly eye-catching on a Mercedes of this vintage. The overall finish is to a very high standard, with all brightwork retaining a fantastic mirror shine. The front and rear lights are also in perfect condition and the black mohair soft-top is free from any signs of wear or damage, even to the rear window.
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The SL’s cabin is a glamorous place to be with the classic design of the dashboard, over-sized steering wheel, and horn-push ring. An original Becker radio is still in place and the dealer-fitted air con unit can also be found below the dash. The black MB-Tex seats are in excellent original condition and the switchgear shows no signs of any damage. Inside the boot area, the spare wheel is wrapped in its original vinyl covering and a fresh rubber mat lines the floor.
The 280SL is powered by the smooth 2.8-litre M130 straight six. The engine bay of this ‘matching numbers’ example appears in first-rate condition throughout, with most ancillary components having been either refurbished or replaced to maintain a fresh appearance. Since arriving at 4 Star the car has been inspected, MOT’d, and fully serviced for the new keeper’s peace of mind. Out on the road she really is a joy to drive, with effortless power delivery and near seamless gear changes.
The 14-inch wheel covers look great with their polished outer rims and metallic blue centres. Each one presents in extremely good order, free from any unsightly curb or scratch marks. The steel wheels are shod in a matching set of period-style whitewall tyres with plenty of tread remaining. Being a 280 SL this example is equipped with disc brakes front and rear, all in fine operational condition following inspection by our trusted classic car specialists.
This charming left-hand drive 280SL Pagoda was manufactured in Germany in August 1968. The History File is complete with all relevant import documentation, a Date of Manufacture letter from Mercedes, and a copy of the factory data card confirming the build specification. This matching numbers car was fully serviced only a few miles ago. It was UK-registered in February 2019. Freshly inspected, she’s good to go.