'Some cars don't change, they just get better. The Mercedes-Benz 280SL, latest version of a line that began as the 230SL in 1963, is the same as ever, just better,' concluded Road & Track after testing a 280SL in 1968. 'For those who value engineering finesse and high quality construction, it's alone in the field,' enthused the highly respected American motoring magazine, while its manufacturer considered the 280SL, '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, and 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 powered by a new 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine that 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.
This left-hand drive, automatic transmission 280SL comes with its stamped service booklet showing that the car was delivered in Germany and then moved to Ljubljana, capital of Slovenia. By May 1970 it was in the USA, there being numerous stamps from Mercedes-Benz agents Koepke Motor Sales of Lakewood, Ohio, who serviced the car regularly for the next six years. There are Koepke bills are on file together with others from Bowers Garage of Zelienope, Pennsylvania.
The car was first registered in the UK on 7th March 2008 to a Mr Giovanni Luongo of London NW10. There has been only one other registered keeper since then. Un-restored, 'CBY 439G' currently displays a total of 88,275 kilometres (approximately 54,800 miles) and is described as in generally good condition mechanically, with very good interior and 'fair' bodywork and paint. This desirable 280SL 'Pagoda' is offered with the aforementioned service history, owner's manual and Swansea V5C document.
The engine number is 130???006640 not as stated in the catalogue.