Arizona

19-20 January 2012

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Lot 145

1968 Mercedes-Benz 280SL California Coupe

  • Chassis no. WDB11304410002878

Sold for $38,500


180 hp, 2,778 cc fuel-injected six-cylinder engine, four-speed manual transmission, independent front suspension with coil springs, unequal A-arms, independent rear suspension with low-pivot swing axles, trailing arms and coil springs, and hydraulic four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5"



• The last and best of the 230/250/280SL series of sports cars

• Fitted with desirable four-speed manual transmission

• Uncommon black/black color combination

• California Coupe model with hardtop and rear seat

• Odometer indicates less than 22,400 kilometers



When it was introduced in 1963, the Mercedes-Benz 230SL two-seater marked a huge improvement over the outgoing 190SL roadster. For one thing, it boasted a 150-hp six-cylinder engine instead of the 190’s four-cylinder. Surrounding that was a crisp, angular design, with an unusual concave hardtop roof that led to the sobriquet “Pagoda Top,” by which the model has since been known. It led to a successful dynasty that would be produced until 1971 with engine displacement gradually increased throughout the run to the most desirable 2.8-liter 280SL.



While not intended as an out-and-out sports car, Eugene Bohringer succeeded in winning the rugged Spa-Sofia-Liege Rally in the 230SL’s competition debut, which Sporting Motorist called “the sort of debut one would expect from the Stuttgart factory.” Mostly, though, the pagoda-top SLs became the choice of celebrities and the wealthy, more likely to be seen cruising sunny coastal roads or parked in front of trendy restaurants and grand hotels than covered in mud with rally numbers on the sides.



The car on offer is the “California Coupe” model, so named because it is fitted with a detachable hardtop but not with a soft top. The black leather interior is in good condition, with a rear fold-down seat. Recently treated to a tune-up, this roadster is fitted with the most desirable 2.8-liter, fuel-injected, 180-horsepower six-cylinder engine, promising 0-60 mph in 10 seconds and a top speed of 120 mph.



With the preferred four-speed manual transmission, instead of the more common automatic, some enterprising motoring is possible. The black paint is excellent and the panel fit typically precise. With less than 22,400 original kilometers, this uncommon black-on-black 280SL combines the best in Mercedes-Benz’s sporting character with typical SL elegance.



Please note this image does not depict the correct wheels, with which the car will be offered at auction.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more