Desirable and rare 5 speed model
1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL
Chassis no. 11304410002781
'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; many celebrities and film stars owned 280SLs, and only a few years ago Bonhams sold that belonging to Oscar-nominated actress Leslie Ann Warren.
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-litre 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.
This particular 280SL has the very rare and desirable ZF five-speed manual gearbox and comes complete with soft-top, hard top and alloy wheels, and has had a 'modern' windsplit installed. Delivered new in May 1968 to Switzerland via Mercedes-Benz AG in Zürich, the car had had only one owner prior to its acquisition by the vendor in October 2005. A total of 135,000 kilometres is currently displayed on the odometer and the 280SL is described as partially restored and in generally good condition, benefiting from a Teflon treatment in October 2005. Finished in light grey with black interior, the car comes with tool kit, Mercedes-Benz pouch, owner's handbook, Swiss registration papers and service booklet - the latter complete from 1968 to 2005 at 127,872 kilometres.
Vendue neuve en Suisse, cet exemplaire à boîte manuelle ZF 5 vitesses n'a eu qu'un propriétaire avant son acquisition par le vendeur actuel en 2004/2005. Cette 280 SL dont le compteur affiche actuellement 135,000 km est décrite comme ayant été partiellement restaurée et en bon état général. De teinte gris clair avec intérieur noir, elle est accompagnée de son hardtop, son outillage de bord, de son manuel d'utilisation, de son historique d'entretien et de ses documents d'immatriculation suisses.