Mercedes-Benz 280SL 'Pagoda' 1967
Design: Paul Bracq & Béla Barényi
5-speed ZF manual gearbox
Chassis no. 11304410000077
Engine no. 13098610000040
•Factory test car for the rare ZF five-speed manual gearbox
•Original colour combination
•Professionally restored to original specification in 2016/2017
•Registered in Germany
Its manufacturer considered the 280 SL, 'a Grand Tourer in the traditional sense' and 'a unique combination of sports car performance and saloon car comfort'. These attributes help explain the 280 SL's phenomenal success, particularly in the all-important North American market where the optional automatic transmission was considered an essential feature by the majority of customers. The fact that it looked like 'sex on wheels' helped enormously too, of course. The 280 SL's essential user friendliness broadened its appeal beyond the traditional sports car-enthusiast market, and many celebrities and film stars owned 280 SLs.
The last of a popular and extremely successful line begun with the 230 SL of 1963, the 280 SL was introduced in 1967 powered by a new 2.8-litre six-cylinder engine that produced 170bhp, 20 horsepower more than the preceding 250 SL's. The 280 SL's 193km/h top speed was no greater but it was significantly quicker off the mark, its 0-100km/h time of 10 seconds being a whole second better than its predecessor's.
Christened 'Pagoda' after their distinctive cabin shape - devised by French designer and classic car enthusiast, Paul Bracq - these SL models were amongst the best-loved sports-tourers of their day and remain highly sought after by collectors.
A very early example - number '77' of the production sequence - this particular 280 SL was built to European specification and first owned by Daimler-Benz. It is one of the 100-or-so cars retained by the factory for road test use by the motoring press, and also one of fewer than 300 built with the rare and highly desirable ZF five-speed manual gearbox (data card available).
In 2016/2017, this 280 SL was professionally restored to an exemplary standard in Hungary by marque specialists Motor Classic, a company that annually restores around 25-30 Mercedes-Benz cars, regularly winning concours prizes. Only genuine Mercedes-Benz parts were used in the rebuild, which included changing the final drive ratio from 3.69:1 to 3.46:1 for more relaxed cruising and improved fuel economy. Restoration photos and invoices are available.
Presented in its original colour combination of silver with back leather interior, this best and most sought version of the Pagoda is offered with German registration papers, owner's manual, a German Wertgutachten confirming its excellent condition, tool kit, and all receipts dating back to 1982.
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