1969 MERCEDES-BENZ 280SL
Chassis no. 113044-12-009659
2,778cc SOHC Inline 6-Cylinder Engine
Bosch Mechanical Fuel Injection
160bhp at 5,700rpm
4-Wheel Independent Suspension
4-Wheel Disc Brakes
*Single family ownership for 38 years
*Fitted with both hard 'Pagoda' top and folding soft top
*Delivered new to the United States
*The most sporting iteration of the W113
THE MERCEDES-BENZ W113 SERIES
Launched at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1963, the 230SL or W113 as the model range was internally labeled at Mercedes-Benz was a completely new car through and through, designed to replace the outgoing 190SL. A truly modern car for its time and constructed to the high level of craftsmanship expected from Mercedes-Benz, the model quickly became a very popular two-seater among the elite thanks to its combination of luxury and high style. Mercedes-Benz would call the W113 "a Grand Tourer in the traditional sense" and "a unique combination of sports car performance and saloon car comfort." Many of the design and technical features were industry firsts, including the hard-top designed to withstand the car's weight for safety reasons, and its distinct lines, featuring a large greenhouse that eventually led to the model's popular nickname, the 'Pagoda'.
After the 230SL came the 250SL, which boosted engine capacity by about 200cc over its predecessor; later, both were replaced by the ultimate evolution of the W113, the 280SL, introduced in 1967. The enlarged 2.8-liter 6-cylinder SOHC engine now produced 170 horsepower, and disc brakes were now standard on all four corners. These last classic Pagoda models have become increasingly collectible, featuring exceptional build quality and reliability, easy access to spare parts, not to mention being highly usable thanks to their modern specifications.
THE MOTORCAR OFFERED
Very occasionally it is possible to find popular classic motorcars that have been truly cherished throughout their lives and this very fine Mercedes is one such example. In this case it is its simplicity of ownership that accounts for the fact that the car has remained in highly original and well preserved order as it remained in the same family ownership for virtually its whole life.
Unusually, as new this individual and special example was delivered by Keenan Motors in Philadelphia in the form it shows today, with the highly desirable optional alloy wheels. Its data tag confirms that it was supplied in Signal Red and with a Black hardtop. Mercedes paint finishes are renowned for the quality and longevity if well maintained and close inspection of the car today confirms that in this respect the car is substantially original.
Servicing through its life has been with main Mercedes-Benz dealerships, firstly in Pennsylvania and later, when it passed to another Connecticut based family member in that region, more important works were entrusted to Paul Russell's esteemed facility in Massachusetts. Throughout its 46 year existence its servicing is well charted, so its accrual of just under 75,000 miles is fully substantiated.
Bonhams takes pride in its relationship with the Daimler-Benz brand and each year holds an auction at the Factory Museum in Stuttgart, where it is possible to see the full heritage of this storied marque. The 280SL as presented here is full endorsement of their current marketing line 'the best or nothing' and shows that, if looked after, the quality lasts incredibly well.