19-20 January 2017

Offered from a Private Collection

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Lot 238

1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL 'Pagoda'

  • Chassis no.

Sold for $57,750

Please note that this lot is titled as a 1970.

180 bhp, 2,778 cc SOHC inline six-cylinder engine with Bosch mechanical fuel injection, four-speed automatic transmission, independent front coil-spring suspension, independent rear single-point swing-axle coil-spring suspension, and four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.4 in.

  • Offered from a private collection
  • Ultimate version of the W113 SL
  • Automatic transmission and air conditioning
  • Showing just over 70,000 miles

Although it filled a niche at its 1955 introduction, the Mercedes-Benz 190 SL had become outmoded and underwhelming by the early 1960s. Development was begun on a six-cylinder successor, which became the W113 sports line, spun off the S-Class W112 300-series sedans, coupes, and convertibles.

Under the auspices of Technical Director Fritz Nallinger, Chief Engineer Rudolf Uhlenhaut, and Head of Styling Friedrich Geiger, lead designers Paul Bracq and Béla Barényi created a compact sportster with a distinctive, patented, slightly concave hardtop that inspired the “Pagoda” nickname. The engine was a 2,308-cubic centimeter inline overhead-cam six with multi-port fuel injection, and both four-speed manual and automatic transmissions were available. Designated 230 SL, for its displacement, production began in June 1963.

The 1967 Geneva Motor Show heralded the 230 SL’s successor, the 2,496-cubic centimeter 250 SL. Production had begun in December of 1966, and while the new model retained the strong points of its predecessor, it made new strides in drivability with the larger engine and rear disc brakes. A larger fuel tank gave greater cruising range.

The final iteration of the W-113 arrived in December 1967. The 280 SL had an engine enlarged to 2,778 cubic centimeters. Over the years the model had evolved from a sports car to a grand tourer, frequently equipped with the optional automatic transmission and air conditioning, especially in the United States market. Because the larger bore of the engine resulted in pair-cast cylinders without an intermediate water jacket, an oil cooler was added, mounted vertically beside the radiator. Each engine was bench-tested for two hours, ensuring that the full 180 horsepower was available.

This 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280 SL is nicely finished in Fire Red, with a tan leather interior. Original, but for one repaint, it shows slightly more than 70,000 miles and is equipped with automatic transmission, radio, air conditioning, and narrow whitewall tires. The paint and brightwork present well, and the leather interior and carpets show no appreciable wear. The engine compartment shows some use but is otherwise serviceable and functional.

The final iteration of the W113 Mercedes, the 280 SL remained in production through 1971, by which time nearly 49,000, of all types, had been produced. This car is a nice example of the ultimate “Pagoda,” the sports car that had become a grand tourer.

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

+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

+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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

+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

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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

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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

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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

+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

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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