Codenamed W113, the encore to the Mercedes-Benz 190SL and 300SL was first introduced at the 1963 Frankfurt Auto Show as the 230SL. As neither the hairy-chested beast exemplified by the 300SL or the boulevard tourer of the 190SL, the new 230SL placed more of an emphasis on safety and comfort. The four-cylinder power of the 190 was gone; all models were fitted with a Bosch, fuel-injected, 2,281-cubic cm six-cylinder producing 150 horsepower. It had the added distinction of 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, which helped to keep development and production costs within reason.
Perhaps most appealing about the car was its unique styling. Clearly linked to earlier Stuttgart designs, it featured the broad front grille of the 300SL, albeit in a squared-up shape. As with its predecessors, it was available as a roadster, roadster/coupe, or pure coupe. Most distinctive was its roofline, the so called "pagoda roof," designed by Paul Bracq and Bela Barenyi. The upright roofline contained lots of glass area, with raised sides and a lower center panel instead of curving conventionally upwards toward the middle, à la a Japanese pagoda.
Production of 230SLs continued until the uprated 250SL made its debut at the 1967 Geneva show. Though horsepower ratings remained the same, the new 2,496-cubic cm engine provided more torque for better acceleration. Wheel rims increased from 5.5 to 6 inches, and four-wheel disc brakes became standard. The coupe version was dropped.
As the final version, the 280SL made its public appearance early in 1968. Most notable was the increased engine displacement to 2,778 cubic cm, this time with a bump in both torque and horsepower (to 180). Interiors were upgraded, along with a myriad of detail refinements. The final 280SL came off the assembly line in March 1971. A total of 23,885 were produced during the model run, making it the most popular of all the roadsters built to date.
The LHD car we are delighted to offer is a restored example with automatic gearbox. It was delivered on the 18.7.1969 to its first owner in Palo Alto, California. The colours chosen were Blue Metallic 396 to body and hardtop, over Parchment cream leather interior 255 and a dark blue hood fabric 744, the same colours it is in today.
Accompanying the sale is the car’s original book set, including the Service Booklet which has a multitude of service stamps dating between 1969 and 1987; all in the Bay area of San Francisco. After 2013, the car left California after 44 years and went straight to restoration, for which we have a number of photographs detailing areas of the work. There is also a copy of the car’s factory data card on file.
One of the prettiest automatics we’ve seen, sitting in its original colours with great early history, this restored example is set to delight for many more years to come.
- Fuels Hybrid
- Transmissions Manual
- Colour Exterior Blue Metallic
- Interior Colours Cream Leather
- Drive LHD