West Coast Classics are proud to present an extremely rare example of this all original California 'Black License Plates' 1968 Mercedes 280SL 'Pagoda' roadster with very desirable original factory options of the 4 speed manual transmission, power steering, power brakes, chrome roof bars, canvas soft top and original factory hard top with all original owners manuals from the original selling dealership of 'Robert Schmitz' of San Francisco, CA and still boasting its all original 'Dark Olive Green' (code 291) factory color paint and an all original interior with the original hood, original spot welds both on the front fenders and trunk and with obviously therefore no history of any accidents or damage and no rust whatsoever and with believed to be an original 41K miles!
This particular example simply must be seen and driven to be fully appreciated - it is a beautiful all original car with its original engine and correct original factory 'Dark Olive Green' (Code 291) color paint which is now obviously beginning to show thin in some areas, especially around the trunk fenders, with it's correct factory and original optional hardtop and matching hubcaps and most importantly a car that has never been hit with all it's original body panels, with original factory spot welds and headlamp notches and it's original factory hood and trunk lid and absolutely no rust ever!
The car had a new timing chain and a complete valve job at around 30K miles and it had a recent full service with all new drive belts and oil service, new front & rear brakes and shifter bushings, tie rod assemblys and front and rear shocks. The car therefore drives incredibly well, a super tight driver with the transmission shifting ever so smoothly through all the gears and with the engine extremely powerful yet quiet and smooth.
The chrome work is all excellent and the interior is quite stunning with the dashboard perfect and with only the front drivers seat bolster showing any real signs of wear or patina (see photos below)! The correct German canvas black soft top is still in virtually new condition and the correct factory matching 'Dark Olive Green' hard top is also in great shape. The car has a completely rust free history with its original floors and inner and outer sills and original matching number hood.
The car is well equipped with factory clock, power steering, power brakes and two tops. The rebuilt engine cranks easily and drives beautifully. It runs cool, has great oil pressure and does not smoke or leak oil. The transmission shifts smoothly through all the gears and the brakes and suspension are superb. The exhaust system sounds great and the car handles beautifully. All the electrics, the lights and the gauges work properly. The trunk has its original spare wheel with correct cover and jack but please note no factory tools.
By 1963 the 190SL (Super Light) and the 300SL Roadster were neither Super or Light and the 190SL was simply too heavy to compete with the likes of even the British MG or Triumph and completely underpowered compared to the Austin-Healeys or Jaguars. Mercedes had two choices, either return to the premise of the original 300SL and build another pure sports car or create a new grand touring sports car that would continue the reputation of the SL's as touring cars rather than super racing cars. Mercedes chose the latter with a compromise between the 190 and 300 with the introduction of the W113 platform 230SL which was a two-seat roadster/coupe, introduced at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show and the series was continued through 1971.
Like the Gullwing before it, the 230SL had a distinguishing feature which was its removable hardtop with a distinctive dip in its center to offer tall windows to create a better balanced side view and more headroom for passengers getting in and out while still maintaining a low sporty roofline from the front and rear and which earned the car the nickname 'Pagoda' roof. It also proved an efficient way to remove rainwater and channel it away from the car. Top speed was about 115mph which was better than the 190SL but not in the same class as the 300SL.
All models were equipped with an inline-six cylinder engine with multi-port fuel injection, power disc brakes on all four corners, adjustable bucket seats, radial tires and an electric clock! The hood, trunk lid, door skins and tonneau cover were all made of aluminum to reduce weight. The comparatively short and wide chassis, combined with an excellent suspension, powerful brakes and radial tires gave the W113 superb handling for its time. The styling of the front, with its characteristic upright Bosch 'fishbowl' headlights and simple chrome grille, dominated by the large three-pointed star in the nose panel, paid tribute to the then already legendary 300 SL roadster.
The 280 SL was introduced in December 1967 and continued in production through 23 February 1971, when the W113 was replaced by its successor, the entirely new and substantially heavier R107 350 SL. Over the years, the W113 evolved from a sports car into a comfortable grand tourer and US models were by then usually equipped with the 4-speed automatic transmission and air conditioning. Manual transmission models were much rarer and came with the standard 4-speed or the optional ZF 5-speed, which was ordered only 882 times and thus is a highly sought-after original option today. In Europe, manual transmissions without air conditioning were still the predominant choice.
The main change for the 280SL model in 1967 was an upgrade from the 2,496 cc 250SL engine, which itself had been upgraded from the 2,306cc 230SL, to the 2,778 cc (2.8 L) M130 engine with 180HP which finally gave the W 113 adequate power. The wide track and low body of the 280SL offered exceptional handling noted at the time by numerous car magazines and publications.
In 1968 some 6,930 models were built with 3,290 of these being exported to the U.S. In 1969 8,047 models were built with 4,102 exported to the U.S. and in 1970 some 7,935 were built with 4,992 being exported to the U.S. By 1971, the very last year of production, only 830 cars were built with ony 520 being exported to the U.S.
This particular car must be one of the finest and extremely rarest examples of a seemingly all original Pagoda available anywhere and a highly collectible example with it's original California 'Black License Plate' and boasting the highly desirable 4 speed manual transmission and an all original interior and paint in rare turn-key ready daily appreciating, daily driving and daily head-turning condition!