1971 Mercedes-Benz 280SL Roadster with Hardtop
Chassis no. 113044-12-020610
'For those who value engineering finesse and high quality construction, it's alone in the field,' enthused the highly respected American motoring magazine Road & Track after testing a 280SL in 1968, while its manufacturer considered it 'a Grand Tourer in the traditional sense' and 'a unique combination of sports car performance and saloon car comfort (a Mercedes-Benz saloon naturally).'
These attributes help explain the 280SL's phenomenal success, particularly in the all-important North American market where the optional automatic transmission was considered an essential feature by the majority of customers. The fact that it looked like 'sex on wheels' helped enormously too, of course. The 280SL's essential user friendliness broadened its appeal beyond the traditional sports car-enthusiast market; many celebrities and film stars owned 280SLs.
The last of a popular and extremely successful line begun with the 230SL of 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 280SL was introduced in 1967. The new 2.8-liter six-cylinder engine produced 180bhp, 20 horsepower more than the preceding 250SL's. The 280SL's 120mph top speed was no greater but it was significantly quicker off the mark, its 0-60mph time of 10 seconds being a whole second better than its predecessor's. Christened 'pagoda top' after their distinctive cabin shape, these SL models were amongst the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and remain highly sought after by collectors.
The example presented here rolled off the factory line in August of 1970, bound for the American market. It was ordered in Dark Olive, topped by a matching hardtop with a heated rear window fitted on it and a soft top folded behind the seats. The options boxes for automatic transmission and power steering were also ticked. Restored from 2008 to 2010, the car went on to win awards at the 2010 Mercedes-Benz June Jamboree and the New Hope, PA Automobile Show. Offered here with a dossier on the restoration, its tool roll, and its original owner's handbook, it represents a wonderful example of the Pagoda SL and a fantastic alternative to the new SLK!