1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL - £54,995

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We love these cars here and always try and find reasonably priced examples so how about this? This is the Holy Grail of Pagoda Ownership, it is a 1970 Mercedes-Benz 280SL, Left Hand Drive, Automatic, Power Steering, finished in Silver with Black Interior and coming with both Hard and Soft Tops. Our car is a US Spec Example although it appears to have spent most of its life in Japan judging from the Service Book.


In the spring of 1963, Mercedes-Benz debuted an all-new roadster to replace the 190SL and 300SL - the 230SL. The 230SL 'Pagoda' was a stunning Paul Bracq designed two-seat convertible that followed Mercedes' new design language, featuring crisp lines and upright headlights. The 230SL was fitted with a prominent three-pointed star in its grill as a reference to the already iconic 300SL. To save on weight, the hood, door skins, trunk lid, and tonneau cover were all composed of aluminum. The nickname 'Pagoda' was quickly adopted thanks to the slightly concave roof on the optional removable hardtop that resembled a pagoda roof. Although controversial at its introduction, these SLs are now considered a masterpiece of design. 

In 1967, Mercedes introduced the third and final iteration of the 'Pagoda', the 280SL, and it then became apparent that some cars don't change, they just get better. "The Mercedes-Benz 280SL, the latest version of a line that began as the 230SL in 1963, is the same as ever, just better," concluded Road & Track after testing a 280SL 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 280SL: "a Grand Tourer in the traditional sense" and "a unique combination of sports car performance and saloon car comfort (a Mercedes-Benz saloon naturally)."

The 280 featured the same modified W111 chassis with a rear swing axle and independent front suspension and four-wheel disc brakes. Power came from a 2.8-liter version of Mercedes' robust inline-six and used Bosch fuel injection, a combination producing 160 horsepower in US-market variants, which had to be modified slightly to comply with emissions standards. To compensate, the rear-end ratios were changed in these US-market cars to offer greater low-end acceleration.

While the 280SL did not offer the performance of the 300SL, it is a very charming model with capable handling and braking thanks to its suspension and all-wheel disc brakes. These roadsters also have one of the most beautiful bodies produced in the 1960s. Thanks to their robust inline-six and their luxurious Mercedes interior, they are wonderful cars to be driven and enjoyed.


This model, and specifically the 280SL, is now extremely sought after with restored examples regularly fetching over £100k and sometimes, especially in the German Market, even more. Our car is a great useable example, restored to a good, but not concours level a few years ago in the most desirable Colour Scheme, Silver over Black. The Hardtop is also Silver and fits nicely. The engine appears to have been rebuilt in 2017 and still needs running in. We have the Service Book stamped many times in Japan until the car came to the UK in 2015. She is under half the price of similar examples as we expect to sell her within days, not months. Summer is around the corner, this is the only 280SL, in a nice restored condition, in the perfect colour scheme that we could find anywhere near this price. Please be quick, she will come with a new MOT, 4 New Tyres and ready to go.