Head of Sale
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The Gstaad Sale / 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda' Chassis no. WDB113.044-12-016068Engine no. 130983-12-010496
Sold for CHF86,250 inc. premium
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Head of Sale
European Sales Manager
International Chairman for Motoring
"Some cars don't change, they just get better. The Mercedes-Benz 280 SL, latest version of a line that began as the 230 SL in 1963, is the same as ever, just better," concluded Road & Track after testing a 280 SL 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 280 SL, "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 280 SL'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 280 SL's essential user friendliness broadened its appeal beyond the traditional sports car-enthusiast market, and many celebrities and film stars owned 280 SLs.
The last of a popular and extremely successful line begun with the 230 SL of 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 280 SL was introduced in 1967 powered by a new 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine that produced 180bhp, 20 horsepower more than the preceding 250 SL's. The 280 SL'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.
Autocar was full of praise for the 280 SL's effortless performance: "Those going abroad will be pleased to know that the 280 SL can sustain 100mph with ease, and still have a good bit in hand for surging up to 120mph when traffic and conditions permit. All the time the engine is smooth and it has a sweet song to its exhaust note, which starts as a deep throb and builds up to a busy hum at maximum revs."
Christened 'Pagoda' after their distinctive cabin shape - devised by French designer and classic-car enthusiast, Paul Bracq - these SL models were amongst the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and remain highly sought after by collectors.
This superb, automatic transmission 280 SL Pagoda was delivered new to the USA and only returned to Europe in 2019, since when it has been restored by the Riga Master Workshop in Latvia (EU duties have been paid). Apart from a handful of inconsequential details, this 280 SL has been reconfigured to European specification, while the original Cognac MB-Tex upholstery has been replaced with leather of the same colour. The interior also boasts a period-correct Becker Europa radio. Apart from the gearbox, this is a matching numbers/colours car.
Accompanying documentation consists of the car's old US title and a highly complimentary Classic Data Finland Inspection Report compiled in April 2022 (perusal recommended). The report concludes by stating that this Mercedes "as a whole is in excellent, brand new condition for its type and age. Restoration has been extended to the smallest detail".
Please note that if this vehicle is to be imported into Switzerland, Swiss Customs charges (Duty, Car Tax and VAT) will apply at roughly 12.5% of the Purchase Price. Included in this is the Swiss Duty which is calculated on the weight of the vehicle and shall be CHF 15 per 100 kg. Also included is Swiss Car Tax at 4% and this is calculated on the total Purchase Price (Hammer + Buyers Premium). Swiss VAT will then be applicable on the aggregated amount of the Hammer Price, Buyer's Premium, Swiss Duty and Swiss Car Tax at a rate of 7.7%.
Please note that customs rates to other countries shall vary. This vehicle will not be available for immediate collection after the sale and will only be released on completion of customs clearance. If you have any questions regarding customs clearance, please contact the Bonhams Motorcar Department or our recommended shippers.