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Car Tales: Traveling Man - The Outstanding Mercedes-Benz SL Range

‘I hear that in London in the 1970s and 1980s no automobile was considered more stylish and hip than the Mercedes-Benz 280SL, one of the three models in the W 113 model series; now legendary, this car has a more loyal fan base than any other Mercedes-Benz SL. 
1971 Mercedes 280SL for sale
‘On account of their slightly concave and very distinctive hardtop, designed by Paul Bracq and Bela Bareyi, all three models in the SL range were dubbed the ‘Pagoda‘: although in Asia, a pagoda is a generic term for a place of worship, drivers of the Mercedes-Benz SL cars would certainly genuflect to the beautifully achieved vision of the vehicle.

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‘In fact, the 280SL was the final model of the W 113 series, which consisted of three separate cars: the 230SL Pagoda, produced from 1963 until 1967; the 250SL, from 1967 to 1968, for which the 2.3 liter six-cylinder inline engine was enlarged to 2.5 liters; and – the crème de la crème – the 280SL, manufactured from 1968 until 1971, with the engine enlarged again to 2.8 liters, when the 250 SL transmogrified into the 280 SL.
‘Over the years I have bought and sold over 500 of the Pagoda models: the 230SL, 250SL, and the 280SL. They were all fantastic cars.
1971 Mercedes 280SL steering wheel.jog
‘About twelve years ago I was lucky enough to stumble across and purchase a red Mercedes 230SL in West LA that used to belong to the iconic rock’n’roll star Ricky Nelson. The car had just had a full engine rebuild and I used to drive it myself for a time. In those days I was regularly using an upholstery shop that was down the 110 freeway off El Segundo. I would often bring a friend along so I could use the carpool lane.
‘On the 110 freeway the carpool lane itself goes way above the main 110 freeway, and driving along it makes you feel you’re in Blade Runner. This zippy little 230SL would really haul ass on that road!
‘I’ve been reflecting on this because at the moment Beverly Hills Car Club has just such a vehicle, and an outstanding example at that. The 280SL was manufactured from 1968 until 1971 and the car we have for sale right now is from that very last year of production, one of 830 produced for the 1971 year. This is the last and most desirable year of the pagoda model, an excellent original, well taken care of, one family-owned 280SL that is mechanically sound.
‘Featured with a matching-numbers engine (data plate/card included), 2 tops, and with 56,749 miles on the odometer, this 280SL comes in its factory color code 903 blue with a parchment interior. It has a 4-speed manual transmission. The vehicle comes equipped with spot welds, matching numbers hood, power steering, fender notches, steel wheels, and Mercedes-Benz hub caps. Also included with this vehicle is the original window sticker, original owner’s manual, service booklets (stamps included). This car comes with documentation and service records dating back to 1971 until 2017, totaling over $29,000.
‘Hardly surprising that this Mercedes-Benz 280SL would have such an assiduous service record: you would be sure to care for a car like this. Famous owners included John Lennon, Charlton Heston, John Travolta, and, more recently, the model Kate Moss who clearly appreciated the undisputed flair of the car’s low waistline, large curved greenhouse windows, detachable hardtop, and power-packed engine.
1971 Mercedes 280SL dealership
‘The W 113 SL range, which came with safety specifications that were unsurpassed in its day, was developed under the auspices of Mercedes-Benz Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger. The Mercedes-Benz SL series followed on from the hugely popular and spectacularly beautiful 190 SL and the 300 SL models. Against all the odds, this luxury roadster also became a bestseller: almost 49,000 were sold between 1963 and 1971, most of them being shipped to the USA, where it especially conquered the sunshine state of California. Not only was its powerful six-cylinder engine an attraction, but one that blended perfectly with a design that featured both classic and avant-garde elements.
Mercedes 280sl engine
‘All three vehicles in the W 113 model series were built to exceptional standards: from cast-aluminum door shells to individually numbered alloy bonnet, trunk-lid, hood cover and door skins.
‘Ahead of its time in the combination of sporting performance and touring comfort, it can appear a delicate vehicle, until you appreciate that it was also a masterful endurance rally car, as it proved when winning the grueling 1964 Spa-Sofia-Liège.
‘All three engines give a near-identical top speed, though the 250 and 280 have considerably more torque than the 230SL. The 280 also has softer seats and suspension: ninety per cent were sold with an excellent four-speed automatic, whereas three-quarters of 230s were manual. And the 280 SLs sold into America had separate sealed-beam headlamps, rubber-tipped overriders, lower axle ratio, milder cam, headrests, side wing reflectors and hazard warning lights.
‘So if you want to imagine that you are purring through London’s Old Compton Street in the early 1980s, pulling up outside the Soho Brasserie and parking your Mercedes-Benz 280 SL as Boy George and Tina Turner are exiting the restaurant, you know exactly where to come: the Beverly Hills Car Club and the outstanding 280 SL’s we have on sale.
‘And by the way, we are always looking to buy these cars, in any condition!
-Alex Manos, Owner
Alex Manos Classic Mercedes sl280 Buyer

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