The W113 chassis first appeared before the public in 1963. This all-new SL was a total departure from the old 190SL and much more of a tame GT car when compared to the costly 300SL. The Paul Braq-designed body was crisp and minimally adorned; a beautiful expression of modern design. In the tradition of the 300SL, the new car was offered with a soft top and a removable hard top. The hard top had a brilliant yet subtle design feature –a concave roof panel that when viewed from the front, resembled that of a Japanese Pagoda, the ensuing nickname has stuck with the car to this day. The new SL represented a complete change in philosophy for all future SL sports cars, the complex and expensive 300SL was gone, as was the soft and delicate 190SL. Mercedes’ new SL now combined elements of strong performance in a comfortable and stylish GT car. The “Pagoda” SL evolved through three generations: The 230SL, 250SL, and 280SL with production ending in 1971 with the arrival of the R107 chassis.
The final evolution of the W113 appeared in 1968, now with a bored/stroked 2.8 liter version of the proven Bosch-injected inline six. The vast majority of cars left the factory gates equipped with the four-speed automatic transmission, though a few were equipped with a four-speed manual, or the very rare five-speed manual. Earlier cars were criticized for a lack of power, but thanks to the abundant torque and 170hp output of the 280SL, those critics were silenced. Handling is best described as “Mercedes-like”. Surefooted and capable, it strikes an excellent balance between ride comfort and cornering gripvia the independent front and swing-axle rear suspension. While the W113 may not be a light and lithe sports car, it is more than willing to be hustled along a sweeping back road. But perhaps the best environment for a 280SL is a relaxed cruise through the countryside or a cross-continental blast.
This 1969 280SL is a well restored example presented in attractive Tunis Beige over brown leather. Correctly restoring an SL is an expensive undertaking, so many of them simply get a quick cosmetic refresh and get sent back into service. This car was a Good solid example before its restoration and was lovingly restored by a Mercedes enthusiast. The body has been repainted in the rare and correct original color of Tunis Beige with a matching removable hard top (code 462 G). Recent and near perfect Tobacco brown upholstery, brown soft top and carpets complete the stunningly good looks. Paint work, fit, finish and detailing are exceptional. The interior has been completely retrimmed using correct German leather, square weave carpet and German canvas. Period-accessory Cocomats protect the carpets with a classic feel, and a period correct Becker Europa stereo is a highlight of the dash. All of the work has been performed with an eye toward correctness and usability.
Detailing on the engine and undercarriage has been nicely done with plenty of original style gold-cad plating on the hardware and brackets. The trunk is finished correctly and fitted with a spare tire and original tool kit. This example carries the desirable 4-speed manual gearbox, making for a pleasantly sporting drive when combined with the torquey 2.8 liter engine.Since the restoration was completed, this fine 280SL has been enjoyed out on the road by its most recent owner. It now presents with a very light and pleasing broken-in feel that only adds to its charm. And while it has been driven and enjoyed, the outstanding quality of the restoration still shines through.
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