Since the beginning of the year, SLSHOP has been on the receiving end of a variety of inimitable classic Mercedes-Benz models. These vehicles have been acquired from all corners of the globe, with the Sales team going to considerable lengths to verify the originality and condition of each example.
The team we’re recently approached with the offer of a right-hand drive 280SL in fully restored condition – not an unusual offer, but there were several finer details that made this Pagoda special and worth further investigation.
Being over 50 years old, you could excuse a vehicle of this age for not having all the relevant paperwork. Afterall, this is often the case with classic cars. Except, not this Pagoda. Present with the vehicle is the record of ownership dating back to 1968, when the vehicle was ordered new from Majestic Garage Bournemouth. While the owner’s name is unknown, the 280SL possesses the original Pre-Delivery Inspection card, detailing the time and date of inspection at Mercedes-Benz’s Headquarters, Great West Road, Brentford. This is perhaps the first and last time we will see this address on a Pagoda PDI sheet. MB moved to Milton Keynes not many years later.
TWO KEY LETTERS: ZF
Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen, or ZF to the petrolhead, has been delivering cutting edge technology for the automotive sector for over 100 years. The company has been developing transmission systems for the MB brand since their inception; with the 280 SL being one of the main flag flyers for the ZF brand.
With the launch of the 280 SL, owners were given the choice of a 5-speed ZF S5-20 manual gearbox and with the additional side-plate offer of Limited-Slip Differential. This was phased out in 1969 to pave way for MB’s own 5-speed G76/27-5 option. Offered for just one year, our sources indicate that this 280SL is one of only 35 right-hand drive models produced with this 5-speed gearbox, making it extremely rare indeed. Pair this with the fact that this is the 101st 280 SL produced, and you have an extremely well-preserved segment of the SL story.
AN ‘ALMOST FULL’ SERVICE HISTORY
It can be common for cars of this ilk to slip through various hands, moving between collectors and taking regular trips to auction houses. A sad set of circumstances, simply because these vehicles remain capable cruisers (even on today’s roads) and deserve to be cherished by long-term owners.
Fortunately, this vehicle is an anomaly – a vehicle that has mostly been in long-term ownership, except for one of the four owners who only kept the car for one year. In its most recent period of ownership, the owner has had custody of this 280SL for 26 years, residing in Notting Hill up until arrival at SLSHOP. During this time, the owner went to considerable lengths to care for the car, servicing the car regularly to maintain the engine restored by the previous owner. In 2019, the owner invested in a full restoration and repainting of the bodywork in the original Blue Metallic (387).
All in all, there are over 90 service records for this 280SL, as well as a folder of comprehensive invoices showing parts used and labour hours invested into this Pagoda. With a projected lifespan of another 50 years and more, this is a Pagoda that craves another period of long-term ownership.
A GUIDING SERMON:
‘’On the surface, the combination of Blue Metallic (387) and Parchment MB Tex (145) makes for a beautiful combination – one that warms hearts and minds, breathing air and life into its surroundings. Peel back the layers of beauty, and you reveal an etymology of the Mercedes-Benz brand’s design and engineering language – the development process and ambition of the company’s up and coming designers and engineers. This is a vehicle that we, as the world’s leading SL specialist, are unlikely to ever see again. While some would argue it belongs in a museum, we believe it belongs on the road.’’
HOW MANY ACTUALLY STILL EXIST?
The actual figure for 5-speed manuals produced stands at around 882, but the majority of these were left-hand drive models. Our sources have indicated that only 35 right-hand drive models were produced with the ZF 5-speed manual gearbox. What would also be worth establishing is how many of these vehicles are left on the road today. If you know of a vehicle of this specification, do share it with us, as this will give us data to begin documenting the number and type of Pagodas left.
THE MARKET TRAJECTORY
It hasn’t taken long to place this W113 280 SL Pagoda. A new owner Is awaiting custody of the vehicle and will shortly take ownership of an unparalleled segment of Mercedes-Benz’s heritage. An example like this is indicative of the market – there is unwavering commitment to the W113 Pagoda which is bolstering values across all three of the variants. As we write in 2022, the 230 SL is currently on the upward trend, following its younger siblings towards the £200,000 mark. Sign up to our monthly newsletter to stay in tune with the market.